Australian lotto fans could face a new ban on the use of credit cards in future, if a recommendation under consideration by the banking industry is adopted.
According to reports in the Australian media, the Australian Banking Association is actively considering a new recommendations that would apply to all banks in the country and that would mean that credit card users would be unable to use cards to purchase either scratch cards or lotto tickets.
Newsagents in Australia have already criticised the potential impact of the measures. Critics of the move have said that tightening up the gambling rules in this area was not necessary as lotto tickets were associated with less harm than other types of gambling.
But speaking about the measure, Anna Bligh, the Australian Banking Association CEO, said that it would ultimately be a decision for individual banks as to whether they imposed the rule on their customers:
Ultimately every bank will have to make their own decision. Every bank makes a decision every time someone walks through the door, whether or not they’re going to lend for a particular purpose.”
But others have pointed out that introducing the rule in practice could prove tricky. In order to block the use of credit cards to buy lottery tickets, banks would have to use the merchant codes associated with the account receiving the payment. But merchant codes used in Australia are associated with the primary function of the business, which in the case of newsagents is not the sale of gambling products.
But the proposal is part of a wider trend in Australia. Suncorp, Bank of Queensland, Macquarie Bank and Citibank already block gambling transactions on their credit cards, while ANZ imposes a block on gambling for credit cards with 15% or less of their credit remaining.