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Australian Banks Considering Banning Online Gambling Transactions

1 August 2002

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald: "Banks are considering banning customers from using their credit cards to gamble online, following a similar move by United States banks and Internet companies.

"But a year after stopping Australians from gambling on the Internet, the Federal Government has failed to persuade banks to decline credit cards used in overseas online casinos.

"Under a Senate amendment, the Government was to take reasonable steps to require banks to dishonour credit card payments made to overseas gambling sites within six months of the passage a year ago of a law banning interactive gambling.

"The law makes it illegal to allow Australians to gamble at online casinos. Australian companies have been barred from accepting bets from locals, but they warned this would simply drive people to offshore gambling sites. The credit card ban was designed to stop them gambling offshore.

"…Internet gambling transactions are identified by a code, a spokesman for Visa said, and banks could decline credit card transactions carrying that code.

"But ANZ Bank has told the Government the matter needs to be tackled by the card companies because it could not stop debits for offshore online gambling.

"…A spokesman for Visa said discussions with the Australian Government on the issue had stopped more than eight months ago. Public submissions to the review closed at the end of September 2001.

"…A survey by the Australian Casino Association found one in five Australians who gambled online did so on an overseas site. The number of international gambling sites visited by Australians had increased by 38 per cent during 2001, the year the legislation came into force."

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