In the very near future, Australia’s legion of online gamblers will be able to deposit and withdraw funds from online casinos and sportsbooks at their local convenience store.

The new system is a leap forward in convenience, but was instantly targeted by Australia’s very vocal anti-gambling crowd.

As of this writing, more than 1,600 gas stations and convenience stores have signed on to the system, which is offered by an Australian company called Emerchants. The company says it plans to have a total of 4,500 locations on board by the end of the year.

It’s worth noting that the only locations served by the system are small, independently owned operations. Both Woolworth’s and 7-11 signed on to the system early on, but backed out shortly thereafter.

On the operator side, both bet365 and William Hill have signed up to provide the service to their customers. William Hill spokesman James Burroughs told the Sydney Herald:

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.

While Burroughs’ assessment is certainly accurate, increased access to gaming deposits isn’t sitting well with Australia’s very vocal anti-gambling crowd. They say the new system will provide a new way for problem gamblers to hide their habits from prying eyes at home.

Lauren Levitt of Financial Counselling Australia, a group that’s been pushing for stricter rules on online gambling and its association with the credit card industry, pointed out her objections to the system to the Herald saying:

We know that problem gamblers need to hide their trail – they don’t want their spouses to find out. They don’t want the ATO to find out if they’re hiding income. There are also money-laundering concerns.

Emerchant dismisses the criticism and says that gambling will take place whether punters can access their accounts at gas stations or not.

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