Wallace brings the web gambling battle to the large 4 banks


Fisher MP Andrew Wallace is fighting the big four banks over credit card gambling.

Mr Wallace launched a campaign late last week to encourage Westpac, NAB, ANZ and Commonwealth banks to put in place a voluntary code of conduct banning the use of credit cards for online gambling.

He said online gambling is a scourge for society.

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"You can't go to a casino or TAB and use a credit card," Wallace said.

"Why can banks give customers the option to use credit cards?"

He said Australians are the biggest players on the internet.

"Some of the smaller banks won't allow it, but the big four still do."

A report by the Australian Banking Association published last December showed that 81 percent of Australians believed that credit card gambling should be restricted or banned.

However, Mr Wallace said the association had stopped asking banks to ban the use of credit cards for online gambling purposes.

Mr Wallace said online gambling has caused "irreparable" harm to individuals and families.

"I prefer banks to do this voluntarily, but we may have to wave a stick at them," he said.

"I fought the good fight against the casino on the coast and promised myself that they would not get a license.

"This must shake the tree of the big banks."

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The Sunshine Coast Daily asked each bank whether they would consider Mr Wallace's proposal.

A spokeswoman for NAB said the company recognized the problem of gambling as a major challenge that needed organizations, governments and the community to work together to address the issue.

She said NAB customers have the option to block gambling transactions using debit and credit cards.

"Customers can block transactions through our app, and more than 62,000 customers have blocked 86,000 cards," she said.

A spokesperson for ANZ said the company introduced a restriction on the use of credit cards for gambling transactions in December 2018 where the customer's card was used beyond 85 percent of the account credit limit.

"Our restriction aims to strike a balance between customers who want to use their cards to pay for games of chance and can do so without harm, and customers who are at risk of uncontrolled gambling if they no longer have the bare essentials "said the ANZ spokesman.

"We consider a customer's gambling history when determining which products are right for the customer, and credit card applications can be rejected if a customer's gambling exceeds a certain threshold."

He said ANZ is developing a self-service gambling block to give customers better control over their own spending through their mobile application.

A Westpac spokeswoman said customers could block their credit cards for gambling purposes.

"This approach complements our existing hardship policy and the industry's self-exclusion policy," she said.

The Commonwealth Bank declined to comment. Instead, a spokeswoman referred the daily to the Australian Banking Association.