From 17 February 2018, interactive wagering operators will no longer be able to provide credit to Australian customers or facilitate the provision of credit via third parties.
The credit-related prohibition is part of a suite of reforms to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) to combat illegal offshore gambling.
What is prohibited?
A wagering operator cannot provide or offer credit to Australian-based customers of certain interactive wagering services.
It is also prohibited to facilitate or promote the provision of credit by a third person (other than by way of an independently issued credit card)—for example, by a ‘pay-day’ lender (see section 15C of the IGA).
The prohibitions apply to regulated interactive gambling services (as defined in section 8E of the IGA) that are wagering services. This includes telephone betting services and online wagering services.
What is exempt?
Telephone betting services with wagering turnover of less than $30 million/year and an on-course presence
The credit-related prohibition does not apply to telephone wagering where the:
- service provider (or related company group) had wagering turnover of less than $30 million in the previous financial year, or in the absence of data for the previous year is reasonably likely to have turnover less than $30 million in the current financial year (sections 15D(1)(a)—(g) of the IGA)
- service provider provided wagering services at a racecourse in Australia during the whole or part of the previous financial year (sections 15D(1)(h) and (i) of the IGA).
The prohibition does not apply where the customer is a gambling service provider (section 15E). This exemption relates to business-to-business transactions such as bet backs.
What are the penalties for credit betting?
Criminal and civil penalty provisions apply (sections 15C(1)–(4) of the IGA).
If a person is found guilty of an offence under the credit-related prohibitions, the penalty is 500 penalty units per day (up to $105,000) or up to five times that for a body corporate (up to $525,000).
The maximum civil penalty for an offence under the credit-related prohibitions is 750 penalty units per day (up to $157,500) for an individual or up to five times that for a body corporate (up to $787,500).
How can I complain about credit betting?
You can make a complaint to the ACMA if you have reason to believe that an interactive wagering operator is offering credit, or facilitating the offer of credit by a third party, and is not covered by the above listed exemptions.
Your complaint should be made using this online complaint form or by post to:
Manager, Interactive Gambling Taskforce
Australian Communications and Media Authority
PO BOX Q500 Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230
You are able to remain anonymous when you complain to the ACMA if you wish.
Background to the reforms
The credit-related reforms were passed by the Australian Parliament on 9 August 2017 and received Royal Assent on 16 August 2017.
While the majority of amendments came into effect on 13 September 2017, the credit-related prohibition was delayed until 17 February 2018—six months after Royal Assent. This was to give affected gambling service providers and consumers time to prepare for the introduction of the prohibition.
More information on the credit betting prohibition can be found in the Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum.
Review of credit betting
The ACMA must conduct a review of the credit betting prohibition at the end of the three-year period from its commencement (section 15G).
The review is to include public consultation and a report must be provided to the minister within six months after the end of the three-year period.
Gambling support services
If you or someone you know might have an online gambling problem, we recommend that you seek help. Support services can be found through Gambling Help Online, which is funded as part of an agreement between all state and territory governments and the Australian Government.