Wednesday 24. February, 2016

Reloadable Debit Cards Proving Popular for Sportsbetting in Australia

Australian punters’ use of online bookmakers’ reloadable debit cards has increased six times over the last year. With the first bookmaker offering these cards in 2014, their drastic growth over the past year has promoted anti-gambling advocates to warn of their potential contribution to problem gambling in the country.

Queensland-based online payments processor, eMerchants signed their first deal with Ladbrokes Australia in 2014 and has since gone on to sign deals with Bet365, CrownBet and Sportsbet. In H1 of last year, they reported $90 million loaded onto bookmaker-branded debit cards, a significant rise from the $15 million loaded onto these cards during the same period in the previous year.

The cards were originally designed to allow easy withdrawal of winnings via EFTPOS and cash machines; however, the EachWay system that eMerchants has since developed allows customers to instantly deposit funds into their online betting accounts as well.

In fact, Bruce Stewart, CFO at eMerchants said that 40 percent of the money loaded onto cards via withdrawals ends up going back to the bookmakers as new wagers.

William Hill is the latest online bookmakers to partner with eMerchants, signing its own EachWay deal with the company in December 2015. They plan to launch the system within the coming months.

eMerchants is currently in the process of negotiating a deal with Woolworths and 7-Eleven that would give punters access to the card system at retail outlets. This would make it possible for punters to top up their gambling accounts at a self-serve checkout.

Anti-gambling campaigners are particularly raising their concerns over a deal that eMerchants is negotiating with payday loan company Cash Converters that would give gamblers access to high-interest loans to fund their gambling addiction.

However, Mr Stewart said it “wouldn’t be appropriate” to offer cards for gaming and loans.


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