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Online betting companies tie-in with retailers

Punters will soon be able to “top up” their online betting accounts at convenience stores and services stations, following a deal between retailers and Emerchants, local media reports.

The top-up service will be available at “independently owned petrol stations, convenience stores and newsagents,” with online gambling companies William Hill and Bet365 already signed up for the service.

"William Hill customers can not only get instant access to their winnings but they can deposit directly into their accounts, making their experience even faster and easier," spokesman James Burroughs said.

However, concerns are already being expressed about the cards, which could be used to push credit onto problem gamblers.

"The government is introducing legislation to ban sports betting companies providing credit to gamblers," said Lauren Levin, Financial Counselling Australia's director of policy and campaigns.

"This shows that the industry is already setting up its Plan B for gamblers to access credit to gamble."

However, Tom Cregan, managing director of Emerchants, said the technology did not encourage gambling any more than a credit card.

"The betting is already going to happen anyway. All it's really doing is making it more convenient for the customer," he said.

Bookmakers have already been issuing their own debit cards to punters, which allows them to access their online winnings via an ATM.

Emerchants says almost 40 percent of money spent on reloadable cards goes back to the bookmakers in the form of new bets, and the amount of money flowing into online gambling accounts is growing.

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