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Aussie Banks: Transaction Ban "Unworkable"

Senator Nick Xenophon wants to ban financial transactions relating to online gambling under Australia’s controversial Interactive Gambling Act (IGA). The country’s banks and credit card companies, however, have blasted the proposal, highlighting that a UIGEA-style clampdown would be “unworkable.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Stephen Munchenberg, chief executive of the Australia Bankers Association, said that such restrictions “would have a significant impact on the contestability of Australian businesses as well as the ability for Australian consumers to purchase online goods and services.”

“[If] Australia was identified as a jurisdiction where payment obligations may not be fulfilled in a certain and timely manner, it is possible that merchants and online service providers will refuse to accept business and payments from customers designated as originating from Australia,” added Munchenberg.

Reforms need to be made to the country’s gambling legislation. Australians can access 92% of the 2,443 gambling sites online, despite the IGA barring sites from taking bets from residents, who wager approximately $1 billion through illegal operators each year.

Alex Blaszczynski, a member of the government’s advisory council on gambling, said: “Australians can easily access offshore internet gambling sites … and … have little recourse if they lose their money or experience unscrupulous treatment.”

The gambling reform committee is expected to release a report on online gambling at the end of November.

Earlier this month, PokerUpdate reported that Sportsbet is pushing to relax in-play betting restrictions.

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