As part of measures to address problem gambling, the Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has announced plans to put a cap on the credit amount accessed by customers to fund their online gambling activities.
ANZ Chief Executive Officer Shayne Elliott appeared before the banking royal commission earlier this week and revealed that the bank will cooperate with authorities to tackle problem gambling in the country.
ANZ is at the center of accusations relating to a series of misconduct, which include unfair treatment of customers as well as breaches of responsible lending laws. The bank has reportedly overcharged customers which has impacted more than 2 million accounts.
ANZ will introduce a number of changes under its new problem gambling policy which is due to take effect on Dec 3. As part of the new policy, the bank will not allow credit card holders to access more than 85% of their available credit limit to place bets at online gambling sites. ANZ’s new policy will only cover online gambling as some limitations are already in place on credit card use at gaming venues. To reflect the changes, the bank is amending the terms and conditions of its products.
ANZ will also terminate its funding for the tobacco industry.
Online Gambling Rapidly Growing in Australia
iGaming is currently the fastest-growing gambling segment in Australia and recent reports suggest a 15% increase. ANZ is Australia’s largest bank and was under pressure to take some action in this regard following recent reports which tag Australians as the world’s biggest gamblers.
According to H2 Gambling Capital, during the 2016-2017 period, Australia’s gamblers ended up spending close to AU$23.7 billion. The number of compulsive gamblers in the country is also on the rise.
Stats published by Australian market research company Roy Morgan in June show that more than one-third of local adults go online to place a bet. The gambling watchdog has tried different ways to curb the online problem gambling epidemic and one of the hot issues discussed in the vital role banks can play in helping people with compulsive gambling habits.
The full details of ANZ’s new problem gambler policy will be released at the start of December. Elliott said the company will permit its customers to have freedom to do whatever they want with their money, but he said proper rules on sensible gambling and social responsibility must be strictly followed.