The gaming regulators in Australia are considering the future of bets placed online by using cryptocurrencies, which could result in further regulation. New gambling laws could be added in order to control cryptocurrencies and the way they are used in the Australian online gambling market, which on the other hand, could bring massive changes in the sector.
According to media reports, a nation-wide warning has been sent by the Australian Government to existing gambling operators asking them to avoid making plans to roll out legal iGaming services featuring any cryptocurrencies. The warning was issued at a time when the recently launched local online gambling operator Neds has introduced a new Bitcoin-based sports betting service in order to exploit the cryptocurrency trend that has been becoming more and more popular.
Now, considering the warning issued, the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) could impose some restrictions on operators seeking to exploit the newly-emerging niche by adding cryptocurrencies transactions to their existing payment methods. In case that a ban is imposed on such activities by the local gambling regulatory body, the recently-acquired license of Neds is to be eliminated.
NTRC Sent E-mail Alerts to Operators
Last Friday, the Northern Territory Racing Commission sent e-mail alerts to the Internet sports betting operators, warning them that the regulator did not agree with the trend of local gambling operators accepting online bets in other type of currency except for the regular one.
According to media reports, iGaming operators in Australia were warned by the chairman of the NTRC that he had the intentions of issuing a formal communiqué to all betting exchange and sports bookmakers operators that hold licenses in the Northern Territory in case that they currently accept money transactions with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
As mentioned above, the e-mail statement of the Northern Territory Racing Commission came after the first-ever Bitcoin-based betting platform was officially launched by the Australian bookmaker Neds. The website, which was rolled out only recently, accepted both deposits and withdrawals in Bitcoin but no option for converting the Bitcoin balance into regular currency is available.
The NTRC became the primary online licensing body on the territory of Australia by providing companies with a favourable tax and regulatory rules. At first, the fundaments of the favourable tax regime got shaken up by the fact that some states have decided to pass a new point-of-consumption tax legislation that would boost the monetary burdens for local gambling operators.
Now, the regulator’s reaction puts the Commission as an opponent of cryptocurrencies being used in the local gambling market, unlike other countries’ gambling regulatory authorities. For example, for the time being, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) allows the licensed gambling operators to provide digital currencies payment options to their customers, despite the fact that the UK Government and regulatory authorities have been focused on closely monitoring the industry and imposing anti-money laundering and social responsibility measures.