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Australian Bankers Oppose Online Casino Card Ban

3 May 2004

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Australian: "Bankers have dismissed a proposal to block Australian punters from using credit cards at online casinos, arguing their customers should be allowed to "spend their money how they choose".

"A proposal to enforce the ban on foreign online gambling sites by blocking credit-card transactions is being considered by the Federal Government as part of a review of the Interactive Gambling Act.

"…The 2001 legislation made gambling at casino-style sites illegal, but many internet users are flouting the restrictions by using foreign sites.

"The Australian Bankers' Association has rejected the transaction-block plan, warning banks should not be forced to become moral arbiters.

"…Although internet gambling merchants are identified by credit-card companies with a special code, some conceal their identities by pretending not to be involved in gambling.

"…A National Australia Bank spokeswoman said it was not possible to block transactions 'with a great degree of accuracy' and there was a danger of blocking everything.

"…Visa and MasterCard have systems to identify internet gambling transactions, but warn it is up to the banks to decide how to use them…"

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