Australia Probes Bet365 Over Online Betting Vouchers

June 17, 2024
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Australia’s federal minister responsible for online gambling has referred corporate bookmaker bet365 to the regulator over online vouchers that may circumvent new credit card bans.
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Australia’s federal minister responsible for online gambling has referred corporate bookmaker bet365 to the regulator over online vouchers that may circumvent new credit card bans.

Communications minister Michelle Rowland sought advice from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) immediately after learning of the enduring scheme, the Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported on Thursday (June 13).

After federal parliament amended online gambling legislation in December, and following a six-month grace period, bans on industry provision of credit to customers and credit card and cryptocurrency deposits into sports-betting accounts came into force on Tuesday (June 11).

The AFR reported that as late as Wednesday, bet365 was allowing customer deposits from paysafecards and Flexepin, digital voucher platforms that are purchasable online by credit card.

The company was still accepting deposits of up to A$500 ($330) through Flexepin and up to A$200 through paysafecards at that time, the report said.

The ACMA, which is responsible for enforcement of the new bans, said on Monday (June 17) that it is “aware of the issue with bet365 and we are seeking further information from them about the measures they are taking to comply with the rules".

“We will take all appropriate actions when wagering operators do not fully comply with the credit card ban,” a spokesperson told Vixio GamblingCompliance by email.

“During the transition period, the ACMA has written to all operators setting out their obligations under the new rules.”

The credit card ban is one of several measures that federal lawmakers have used to constrict the industry after years of public and activist anger over problem gambling and corporate overreach in mass media and sports ground advertising.

The bans on credit card deposits, digital wallet-inked funds and cryptocurrency deposits also apply to telephone wagering operations, which are otherwise notable for being exempt from bans on in-play betting, and on-course bookmakers.

The amendment bill exempted online lotteries and online keno from the bans, to the consternation of corporate bookmaker lobby Responsible Wagering Australia, which supports the broader reforms.

“If consumer protection measures aren’t consistent across all forms of gambling, it will incentivise vulnerable Australians to move to less-regulated types of gambling, where they are more at risk of harm,” lobby CEO Kai Cantwell said in a statement on Thursday.

As part of its enforcement protocol against credit card and virtual currency gambling, the ACMA has set up an online complaint platform for users to inform on companies that offer credit or accept credit cards and cryptocurrency.

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