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Australian Banker's Association: Aussie Financial Clampdown "Unworkable"

The Australian Banker's Association has joined many others in the Australian financial sector in saying that using the national payments system to crack down on illegal gambling would be unworkable.

Calling the process in which the government is trying to restrict financial transactions "not straightforward", ABA Chief Executive Steven Munchenberg warned that many financial merchants will not do business with the Australia.

''(If) Australia was identified as a jurisdiction where payment obligations may not be fulfilled in a certain and timely manner, it is possible that merchants and online service providers will refuse to accept business and payments from customers designated as originating from Australia,'' Munchenberg said.

''This would have a significant impact on the contestability of Australian businesses as well as the ability for Australian consumers to purchase online goods and services.''

Additionally, credit card company Visa has expressed concern that blocking transactions could harm online shopping.

Australian citizens can reportedly access 92% of the 2,443 online gambling websites on the internet, even though there are restrictions that were put into place through the Interactive Gambling Act, which banned local gambling sites from taking money from Australians. It is estimated that $968 million was spent last year by Aussies on offshore gambling sites.

Speaking about the need for the IGA to be updated, Professor Alex Blaszczynski said: ''Australians can easily access offshore internet gambling sites, and have little recourse if they lose their money or experience unscrupulous treatment."

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