Credit Card Ban for Australian Gamblers

Australian gamblers woke up to the shocking news that their credit cards may no longer work on gambling services, including online casinos and sports betting shops. One of Australia’s largest banks, Bank Australia, has banned gambling transactions from its credit cards. Also banned are gaming transactions.

From the 1st of December 2020, Bank Australia customers will no longer be able to fund their gambling habits on their credit cards. The bank says that it’s part of its responsible banking ethos. Some customers are less than happy about the change because they believe the bank is overstepping its role; it’s not a custodian of lifestyle choices. And they’re questioned how far these initiatives will go – will the bank ban unhealthy food purchases next, no Maccy D’s?

Is it a step too far? Should banks be controlling customer behaviour to this degree? And is it fair to stop credit card purchases when they offer one of the safest ways to pay for goods and services?

Many banks are already taking steps to help customers manage their gambling habits, for example, Barclay’s offer a range of gambling tools, such as purchase limits.

But How Much Control Is The Bank Exerting On Australian Gamblers?

Although it seems as if the ban is crossing a line, Bank Australia is customer-owned. This means that it doesn’t have any shareholders. Instead, profits go back to the customers in the pursuit of good banking provisions (at least that’s the claim – we don’t know enough about the bank at to say for sure).

So Bank Australia is a bank of a different kind than the mass corporations most of us are familiar with. The bank claims to be ethical in the way that it lends money, caring about the potential harm to customers and society in general.

The bank argues that, because the funding for credit cards comes from other customers, it’s important to ensure that people use their credit cards responsibly.

And, of course, people can still make gambling and gaming transactions on their debit cards, so they are not banning gambling and gaming per se. They’re simply minimising borrowing for those types of transaction.

What do you think? Is it fair for a bank to make these choices? According to Bank Australia, the majority of their customers support the changes.

A map of Australia to represent Australian Gamblers