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Macquarie to ban gambling transactions

Thu, Jun 27, 2:27pm by Staff Writer

Macquarie has banned gambling and lottery transactions on its credit cards as part of an overhaul that includes removing international transaction fees.

The Australian Financial Review is reporting that the changes, to start on July 1, will mean any transaction classified under the merchant codes as gambling will be blocked when the cardholder tries to pay.

The move is in response to growing regulatory and government concern in Australia and abroad about easy access to credit by problem gamblers.

Other card providers, including ANZ, Bankwest and CBA offering cash advance rates on credit cards, typically charge interest rates of more than 21 per cent.

It is not known whether these, or other banks will be introducing a ban.

Credit cards that allow gambling transactions are typically categorized as cash advances, according to finder.com.au.

That is because gambling chargers are often cash equivalents, or cash substitutes.

Macquarie concedes the ban might be hard to enforce where merchants provide gaming services but their primary business is categorised under another code not identified by the card for gambling.

This might arise where a customer buys lottery tickets from a newsagent whose terminal is not classified under the gambling merchant category code.

“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,” according to an explanation of the changes to be sent to card owners.

For example, using a credit card for non-gambling activities at a casino, such as buying a meal or drinks, can attract the cash advance fee and interest rate.

Sally Tindall, RateCity.com research director added: “Banning gambling on credit cards is another way to help people think twice before they gamble money they don’t have.”

Several lenders, including American Express, have already imposed a ban.

Macquarie is also set to announce a range of other changes to the card, such as no longer charging international transaction fees on overseas purchases.

It is also planning to remove the international fee of 3 per cent on overseas cash withdrawals.

The standard cash withdrawal fee will still apply.

In addition, it will cap cash advance balance at $1000 from the end of August and introduce up to 55 days interest free on purchases made while customers have a balance transfer within a promotional period starting late October.

The change is not linked to the Australian Bankers’ Association’s controversial changes to its code of practice, also to be introduced on July 1.

New cashless pokies card in Victoria

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has reported on recent changes that allow Victorian hotels and clubs to provide cashless gaming to their customers.

On January 30 2019, the Gambling Amendment (Cashless Gaming) Regulations 2019 introduced new regulations allowing non-cash gaming tokens to be made available at pokies venues.

On the same day, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation published technical standards for the operation of cashless gaming on pokies at Victorian clubs and hotels.

The new system allows for machines to accept both player tickets and gaming cards.

The Ticket-In or TI functionality is equivalent to a player inserting cash.

The Ticket-Out or TO functionality is equivalent to a player pressing the “collect” button and collecting credits from the machine.

TITO tickets can be redeemed for cash at a Credit Redemption Terminal or through the attendant at the cashier’s desk or by inserting the TITO ticket back into the machine as credits.

TITO tickets cannot be used at more than one venue and the maximum amount that can be stored on a ticket is $1,000.

A person may choose to use a cashless card when using pokies at a club or hotel.

In order to do so, the person must set up an account or ‘cashless wallet’ at the venue.

Cashless gaming cards must be the same cards used for state-wide precommitment and loyalty schemes associated with gaming.

Cards may be casual/anonymous or registered to a player and must be linked to an account or cashless wallet with a unique account number.

When the cashless card is inserted in a gaming machine, the person is given a choice to transfer none, all or some of the funds in the cashless wallet to the machine.

When a person chooses to cease gaming on the machine by pressing the “collect” button or removing their card, the machine must immediately transfer all credits on the machine to the cashless wallet.

This avoids a person leaving credits on the machine.

The maximum balance that can stored on a card is $1,000.


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