Through shining a light on the prolific use of credit cards for online gambling, UCA Funds Management (in collaboration
with other like-minded partners) has driven the largest Australian banks to address this issue over the past three years.
We believe that providing a line of credit for gambling is at
odds with responsible lending laws. If someone can’t use
their credit card with a pokie machine, surely they shouldn’t
be able to for online gambling either. Our most recent round
of engagements with the banks to review progress found
that they have enacted partial resolutions, although none
with an outright ban.
Our engagement campaign has raised the issue to the
highest levels within the banks we targeted and has
led to improvements in hardship program practices and
monitoring of transactions to identify problem gambling.
However, the notion that offering credit for gambling is
incompatible with responsible lending laws has rarely been
made explicit by individual banks, despite the Australian
Banking Association’s recognition that credit provision for
gambling is problematic.
While all the banks acknowledge that this issue compounds
problem gambling, the big four banks are ‘captured’
to varying degrees by the gambling industry or even by
charities which may benefit from raffles or lotteries that fall
under the gaming merchant category code. ‘Non-captured’
banks (and those subject to US regulation which bans
credit card use for gambling) should be willing to put total
blocks on the use of credit cards.
All the banks are considering medium to long-term solutions
to address problem gambling.
The industry has also
welcomed complementary consumer protection measures
to mitigate problem online gambling as outlined in the
National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF).
comprises a set of ten minimum standards to be applied
to the 2.5 million online gambling accounts in Australia
While significant progress has been made, UCA Funds
Management will continue to use our influence to
highlight the link between easy access to credit and