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Australia Gaming Commission Mulls Crypto Betting Regs

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With online sports betting growing more accepted and supported at the state level lo these many years, legal offshore sportsbooks have always enjoyed several major advantages.

Chief among these have two equally valuable perks:

  1.  These are nationwide sportsbooks. That is, there’s no geofencing, which allows wagers to come in from everywhere. This guarantees that the payout potential will generally be better for teams in your particular state or region regardless of who they play. This works because a geographically larger betting audience greatly diminishes any potential hometown skew for local favorites.
  2. You can bet with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (i.e. Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Cardano, Stellar, Solana, etc.). Domestic USA sportsbooks haven’t rolled out crypto support, even as at least one state – Wyoming – actually allows crypto betting in theory.

For this post, we’re concerned with this second issue.

In reality, it’s only a matter of time before betting with cryptocurrency becomes mainstream enough that all the major domestic operators – brands like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, etc. – will lobby the relevant state authorities to add Bitcoin et al. to the list of legal payment options.

And in that regard, a big precedent is on the precipice of being set.

In Australia’s Northern Territory, lawmakers are mulling a crypto gambling proposal. There’s no official regulatory timeline for the implementation of crypto betting in North Oz, but the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) is currently “seeking input” from established betting operators (DraftKings, Betfair, etc.).

Per Cointelegraph, gaming law advisor Julian Hoskins explains the basic initiative this way (emphasis added):

“What it provides for is a licensee, say a sports bookmaker who holds a license in the Northern Territory, who wants to accept cryptocurrency for striking or paying out wages, [is that they] need to apply for consent to be able to do that. And there’s certain conditions that attach to that.

Now it’s clear from the draft framework that what they’re looking at is wagering using cryptocurrency, and not exchanging into fiat

What they’ll require under the draft framework is a verification of the crypto wallet [for payouts]. So it needs to be verified and registered against a customer’s identity. And the customer has got to prove that they control that wallet.”

While it’s sure to be a popular measure for gamblers, the restrictions that come with domestic crypto betting are going to be severe.

In Australia, the NTRC has proposed a limit on crypto betting deposits pegged at $1300 (USD equivalent) per month and maximum wager limits of $3500 (USD equivalent) per bet.

There are also going to be taxation revisions and new reporting models thereof.

In other words, betting with crypto domestically in Australia – or in the US, which would surely adopt a similar rubric – might be more trouble than it’s worth.

And if crypto betting is more convoluted or time-consuming than betting with a credit card or debit card, adoption will wane.

Honestly, these local Bitcoin/crypto gambling initiatives – which we’re going to see crop up more and more frequently going forward – would do well to copy the protocols employed by existing offshore sports betting sites.

These brands – like Bovada and BetOnline and MyBookie – have been taking crypto deposits and delivering crypto payouts for years, and they have the process down to a T.

Of course, if you’re going to bet with crypto anyway, why would you bother going the domestic route in the first place?

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