Crackdown on Gambling with Crypto – Australia To Ban Bitcoin Bets?
Up until now, Australia’s online betting community has been enjoying the ability to place wagers with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. However, one of the country’s premier gambling licensing bodies for the online sector is now bringing such bets to a swift halt by banning their licensees from accepting them. It was on Friday that the country’s Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) sent emails out to betting company’s informing them that it is not down with such wagers being accepted. Only fiat currency bets are an acceptable form of wagering at these sites.
In the emails that were sent out, it was stated that the chairman of the NTRC intends to send out “formal communique” for all of its online betting exchanges and bookmakers that hold a licence in the area should they currently be allowing transactions via cryptocurrencies for wagering to cease and desist immediately.
It is thought that this move comes in response to last week’s news that the NTRC-licensed site known as Neds had chosen to launch the country’s first online platform with a Bitcoin-bet focus. As such, it is able to provide players with the possibility of not only depositing via Bitcoin, but also withdrawing in the same currency. However, it does not allow its players to convert any Bitcoin balance into a fiat currency. For the time being, the online website has a notice stating that the race and sportsbook is offline while further instruction is given by the NTRC.
Australia Follows in Suit with Several Other Countries
It’s not only in Australia that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency bets are under scrutiny. In fact, the country is acting in similar ways to many other major gaming regulators. You only need to check up on the United Kingdom Gambling Commission’s stance on the matter to know this. In the United Kingdom, licensees do have the option of providing customers with the possibility of transacting in cryptocurrencies. However, they need to observe standard anti-money laundering, as well as social responsibility processes.
As far as the Australian body goes, this works as the country’s primary licensing unit for the online community. It became such a company by providing operators with a very favourable regulation and tax regime. However, as it stands for the time being, the tax regime is currently under threat due to several individual States passing new tax laws relating to point-of-consumption.
In addition to this, the federal government of Australia has also chosen to take measures to restrict licensees of NTRC from being able to fully compete with those sites holding international licences. How does it do this? Simply by disallowing online casino and online poker products, putting limits on various types of promotions and reducing the possibilities for broadcasts of site advertising.