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Published March 19, 2024

What Is A Credit Card Gambling Block?

Credit card gambling blocks are easily applied and removed. They're easy to set up and remove. Once you put a gambling block in place, your bank will prevent any transactions registered under the merchant category code ‘Betting/Casino Gambling’.

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A credit card gambling block is a self-imposed restriction that stops all recognised gambling-related transactions. Think of them as digital self-service temporary gambling locks. Pick a time limit and toggle on through online banking or telephone. It’s fast, free and easy protection you can put in place today. 

» MORE: Learn the ins and outs of credit card gambling in Australia

Why set a gambling block? 

Credit cards have been banned in gambling venues for years, but new legislation also prohibits using credit to gamble online. Now, gambling and betting venues, websites and apps cannot accept credit cards or other credit-related products as a payment method. These new, necessary guardrails protect consumers by making it hard to use a credit card to gamble — but it’s still not impossible. 

For example, you can still use a credit card to buy lottery tickets, use a cash advance to get cash, or, with some banks, select SAV or CHQ at an EFTPOS terminal. 

Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent possible gambling transactions on your credit and debit cards. Most banks offer a quick, easy gambling block feature accessible through online banking. Any transactions registered under the merchant category code ‘Betting/Casino Gambling’ are automatically blocked when in place. Check with your bank for any excluded gambling transactions and other situations. 

» MORE: How to use a credit card responsibly 

How do credit card gambling blocks work?

Credit card gambling blocks can be easily applied and removed. 

Once set up — either with an active or automatic ban — your bank will block any transactions classified under the gambling merchant code. 

However, you’ll still need to watch for what your bank can classify as a gambling charge. Your bank may still process and approve certain transactions if identified under another merchant category. For instance, if you visit a newsagent, your bank won’t know if you bought scratchies or a daily when you visit a newsagent, so they’ll likely approve the charge.

The type of credit card you have and whether or not you use a digital wallet can also be a factor. Westpac states they can’t block contactless credit payments if the merchant does not process the transaction through Visa or Mastercard. 

When reviewing your options, consider how strict your bank needs to be, as rules vary by bank. For example, if you’re with CommBank, you can block cash advances to prevent workarounds, such as using your credit card to withdraw cash for gambling.

Some banks also provide financial hardship assistance, money management tools and additional support services. 

Once you choose one (or several) gambling blocks, read the FAQs and fine print associated with the feature. If something doesn’t make sense or you’re in doubt about specific details, call your bank and get a representative to explain how it works. 

» MORE: What is this charge on my credit card? 

Which Australian banks offer a gambling block?

Some banks and credit card companies have automatic blocks in place, others don’t.  

Banks with a block option 

You can access credit card gambling blocks with the Big Four banks —  and many more. The following have a gambling block service, often called ‘problem gambling assistance’. 

  • CommBank 
  • Westpac 
  • NAB 
  • ANZ 
  • Bank of Melbourne 
  • St. George 
  • Bank of Queensland 
  • Citibank 
  • Macquarie Bank 
  • Suncorp 
  • Bendigo Bank. 

Banks with automatic blocks 

A growing number of Australian banks now automatically ban gambling transactions without needing an active block. Examples include Bank Australia, Citibank, Great Southern Bank, and AMEX, which list ‘gambling goods and services’ as prohibited for card use. 

Check if your bank has an automatic gambling block feature. It can’t hurt to set one up regardless, just for security and added peace of mind. 

You’re not alone — here’s how to get help 

  • List your information on BetStop, the National Self-Exclusion Register. 
  • If your bank allows credit card gambling with a cash advance fee, set up a block for all your cards to prevent gambling authorisations. 
  • Access support through Gambling Help Online. Take an assessment, explore the forum, use the live chat or talk to a gambling counsellor. The Gambling Helpline 1800 858 858 is free and anonymous. 
  • Call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 for professional, non-judgemental advice and to work on a plan to deal with your financial responsibilities. 
  • Set up self-exclusion at your local venues. Avoid gambling venues and stay away from people you have betted with, however harmless it might seem. 
  • Use general and gambling-specific website-blocking software. 
  • Reach out to someone you trust — your partner, a close friend, family member or co-worker. 
  • Talk to a therapist — there’s usually more to addictive behaviour than meets the eye. Work with a psychology professional to help externalise the addiction, explore what’s unconscious, and develop coping techniques. It’s important to let go of the secrecy, as shame can feed addiction. 
  • Find a new way to spend your time. Replace old habits with healthy hobbies, to prevent boredom from leading to bad behaviours. 
  • Establish new goals and set milestones, one day at a time. Use this opportunity to get to know yourself again. Track your progress with self-help apps such as Reset and the 100-Day Challenge
  • Have a plan in place for when you’re feeling tempted to gamble. Assign a ‘sponsor’ to call in any moments of weakness.


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