Credit Card Company Bans Gambling Transactions
The Macquarie Group has announced that, starting immediately, its credit cards can no longer be used for transactions involving gambling. This extends to lottery draws, and cash advances will also be greatly curtailed.
Even if you frequent an online establishment such as PlayAmo, expect this policy to have an effect. If the casino can’t get your money, then you’ll need to find alternative ways to fund your gambling adventure.
Who is Macquarie?
Macquarie Group Limited is a Sydney-based company that specializes in financial and investment banking services. They are located in over 25 countries, employ more than 14,000 people, and have an operating income of A$10.9 billion. The banking and financial services arm of Macquarie boasts more than 1 million clients.
The financial giant’s unique logo represent the Holey Dollar, the first official currency of Australia. Fittingly, their name comes from Major General Lachlan Macquarie, the early Aussie leader who introduced both the Holey Dollar and the nation’s first bank.
Their Black and Platinum credit cards are most commonly used, with both offering a number of financial rewards. However, you’ll need a decent job in order to qualify. You must make at least A$50,000 annually to get a Platinum card, while Black requires A$70,000 or more.
How the Ban Works
The ban prohibits transactions registered under a lottery or gambling merchant code. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing poker or bingo. The policy also caps cash advances at A$1,000 starting in August.
It’s not a perfect system, though. Many newsagents sell lottery tickets from terminals not classified as gambling, so these would slip through the cracks. The same applies to food, drinks, and entertainment purchased at a brick-and-mortar casino.
According to Macquarie, “There will be other instances where we are unable to block the authorization of gambling or lottery related transactions. You’ll continue to be responsible for these and all charges on your card.”
What Caused Macquarie to Ban Gambling Charges?
According to company spokesperson Ben Perham, “We’re being proactive in helping our customers manage their finances effectively and avoid problematic credit card debt.”
Despite this claim, more cynical observers have pointed to new Australian banking codes as the reason for the ban. Financial institutions must meet higher standards, including improved interaction with those who are mentally impaired. Since gambling addiction is a mental impairment, there may be something to this theory.
The company also announced the elimination of charges on international transactions. While that’s certainly welcome, I doubt it’ll be enough to keep unhappy punters from complaining.
Praise from Alliance for Gambling Reform
The Alliance for Gambling Reform was quick to applaud Macquarie for their new policy. Director Tim Costello even pointed out that they’re the first major Aussie bank to take such action.
“Rather than collaborating with a largely foreign-owned predatory industry and joining with them to make excessive profits from debt-funded gambling, Macquarie demonstrated great social leadership,” said Costello.
The Alliance then called on the country’s other banking giants to follow suit. This list includes ANZ and Westpac, National Australia Bank, and Commonwealth Bank.
“Now that the precedent has been set by Macquarie, it is time the big four also pulled the plug on the likes of Beteast, Bet365, Sportsbet and Ladbrokes, just as the Millionaire Factory have now done,” added Costello.
This is bad news for Aussies who love land-based and online gambling. Then again, it’s not really a great surprise, as credit card companies in many nations adopted these policies years ago. It appears that we’re finally playing catch-up with the rest of the world.
Australians over 55 are most likely to be affected, as they do the bulk of the country’s online gambling. Luckily, anyone with a strong desire to play the pokies should still be able to find suitable payment alternatives.