David Attenborough, CEO of Tabcorp, has reportedly argued that banks should have responsibility for implementing a ban on the use of credit cards for making betting payments in Australia.
According to ZDNet, the CEO made the remarks whilst addressing the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Security last week.
The committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the use of credit cards and digital wallets in Australia, as both states and the federal government in the country examine betting regulations.
Attenborough has previously stated that his ASX-registered company would not oppose a ban on credit card use for online betting, but would continue to support the use of the payment method for the purchasing of lottery tickets.
Tabcorp was later joined by long-term criticism of the proposed ban bet365, Sportsbet and Ladbrokes in dropping opposition and announcing support to the initiative.
Industry lobby group Responsible Wagering Australia has also lifted its opposition to the initiative, along with its member companies, previously arguing there was no direct link between credit card payments and gambling harm.
Speaking to the Committee last week, the CEO stated: “I’m not sitting here saying I accept a ban on credit cards for gambling. I’m saying if the committee decides it’s going to ban it, we’re not going to oppose it for online wagering.”
Australian bettors are currently prohibited from using credit cards in retail gambling venues, including clubs, pubs or at racetracks, and Attenborough further detailed that only 14% of online betting transactions were conducted via credit card.
However, although he maintained that a significant number of credit card-using bettors are responsible gamblers, he acknowledged that a proportion of this group of punters are at risk of gambling related harm.
“I don’t think people should gamble with debt,” Attenborough continued. “If that is the solution the committee chooses to do, we will support that, but that legislation needs to be applied to the financial sector because they’re best set up to be able to implement that.”
Describing a ban on credit cards as a ‘blunt instrument’ requiring ‘layers of extra risk controls around customers’, Attenborough argued that problem bettors will ‘find a way to get their money where they want to gamble it,’ perhaps sidestepping the ban using digital wallets or cryptocurrencies.
“It is an old world form of transacting that’s declining and you’re just going to speed up that and then move it into a multitude of different wallets where the only people that will really know what’s going on will be the financial sector, not us, we won’t have a clue,” he said.
“If we got more information from the banks that a card was suspect, we could shut it down. If the banks notified us that this was a problem, we would be able to stop dealing with that problem, but this flow of information doesn’t happen.”