Gambling

13 May 2020

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (15:40): Before moving general business notice of motion No. 531, I wish to inform the chamber that Senator Siewert will also sponsor the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senator Siewert, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) from 14 April 2020, gamblers in the UK can no longer use credit cards to pay for bets—the ban applies to online and offline betting,

   (ii) from 7 May 2020 the UK has also implemented a moratorium on gambling advertising on TV and radio during the pandemic in recognition of the profound effect gambling ads have on the level of problem gambling, and

   (iii) both measures are important consumer protection, especially given the impact of the COVID-19 crisis;

(b) acknowledges that:

   (i) credit cards cannot be used in ATM or EFTPOS machines in offline gambling venues in Australia but are still used for online betting,

   (ii) access to credit card use for gambling can create a unique harm whereby large amounts of debt can be accumulated in a limited period,

   (iii) for Australians experiencing gambling harm, a credit card can lead to severe financial stress for the individual and their family,

   (iv) the prohibition on credit card use for gambling reduces the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have,

   (v) there has been an increase in consumer interest in online gambling since the COVID-19 crisis began and while other forms of gambling, such as pokies and casinos are shut down, and

   (vi) Australia ranks number one with the highest gambling losses per capita worldwide—around $1,400 per person;

(c) recognises that many Australians are currently dealing with job losses resulting in severe financial stress, which are stressors for gambling harm; and

(d) calls on the Federal Government to introduce:

   (i) legislation to ban the use of credit cards to pay for online bets, as a matter of urgency, and

   (ii) a moratorium on gambling ads during the pandemic crisis to protect the vulnerable and people experiencing gambling harm. (general business notice of motion no.531)

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