Macquarie Bank Disallows Gambling on Credit

With the new gambling laws that went into effect in the past year in Australia, it was only a matter of time before banks began to take action. The first major Australian bank to do so was Macquarie, which just announced that it will ban the use of its credit cards for gambling.

And with that, various organisations have asked other banks to do the same.

Macquarie Issues Ban

The announcement came this week. Macquarie is now blocking gambling charges on its credit cards. The new policy went into effect on July 1, 2019.

The news was buried in a press release announcing the removal of international transaction fees from its credit cards. The new policy about gambling was mentioned several paragraphs in:

“Macquarie will block credit card transactions registered under a gambling and lottery merchant code.”

Further, the bank is capping cash advance balances at $1,000, which will begin at the end of August.

The statement noted that the changes are in line with its commitment to “improving the financial wellbeing of its customers.”

Further, Ben Perham, Head of Personal Banking for the Banking and Financial Services Group, noted:

“We’re being proactive in helping our customers manage their finances effectively and avoid problematic credit card debt. The blocking of transactions that are registered under a gambling and lottery merchant code, as well as capping cash advance balances, are just some of the important steps we’re taking to support the financial wellbeing of our customers when they bank with Macquarie”.

Will More Banks Follow Macquarie?

Organisations that focus on gambling reforms, bans, and responsible gambling have applauded the move by Macquarie. More than that, they are asking other banks to do the same.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform is one of those groups. According to Pro Bono Australia, the group believes that Macquarie set a new standard for financial institutions to play a larger role in the realm of social responsibility. Director Tim Costello noted that “Macquarie demonstrated great social leadership”. He also said that the big four should also follow suit.

The Big Four Banks

The “big four” are CBA (Commonwealth Bank of Australia), NAB (National Australia Bank), ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group), and Westpac Banking Corporation. Costello accused Australian banks of gouging millions from gamblers by treating credit card deposits as cash advances”. He subsequently highlighted the cards’ high up-front fees and interest charges.

Costello siad he plans to write to the chairpersons of the big four banks to ask them to publicly commit to following Macquarie’s lead. He said he would also do so on behalf of the Alliance for Gambling Reform. Furthermore, he believes that any pub or club that receives more than 50% of its revenue from gambling should be required to use the gambling merchant code. However, the latter request is likely to receive a great deal of pushback, especially from pub owners and club managers. After all, they stand to lose a lot of business if they are required to turn down certain popular credit cards for customers.

In addition, Costello wants lawmakers to require banks to ban gambling charges on their bank-issued credit cards. He said that this will go a long way to reinforcing the new gambling laws.

Aussie Pokies Repercussions

How does this affect Australian online casino players?

For Macquarie credit card users, it will require them to obtain an alternate credit card from another bank. In other words, one that doesn’t have such a ban. Players can also use any of the other methods of banking available on online pokies, such as Bitcoin, bank transfers, etc.

Players who have used non-Macquarie-issued Visa or Mastercard for online deposits and/or withdrawals should not have a problem with their continued use. The situation is different for those credit cards affiliated with any of the big four Australian banks, though. Gamblers in the latter category should therefore start thinking of banking alternatives. It is best to act in advance before those institutions decide to issue their own bans.

Considering Australia’s ever-tightening gambling laws, Visa and Mastercard have been used less by players to deposit or withdraw from real money online casinos. Instead, players are using alternatives. This includes prepaid cards, cryptocurrency, and other online payment processors or ewallets specifically developed for internet purchases.

We will keep our eyes on the banking industry to see what happens next. We will let you know if any other banks make the same decision as Macquarie.

Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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