NTRC takes a stand against Cryptocurrency online casinos

Published on February 13, 2018 in Industry News

Bitcoin Australia NewsSince the end of 2017, Bitcoin seems to have been getting a lot of heat. The cryptocurrency has seen massive falls in its stock rate causing massive distress for investors. 

It is not unknown that Bitcoin has become one of the payment options at many online casinos.

It seems that the bad news just keeps rolling in for Bitcoin and all its investors. The Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) sent out emails late last week informing online sports betting operators that they weren’t okay with any operators accepting wagers in any other currency than fiat. 

Cryptocurrency bookmakers forced to cease and desist

Australia’s premier online gambling licensing agency made it clear they’ll be pumping the brakes on any licensee accepting cryptocurrency-based wagers. 

According to the email the NTRC chairman will be issuing a formal communique to all sports bookmakers and betting exchange operators licensed in NT, if they are currently processing transactions via any cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and others. These operators will be asked to immediately cease and desist. 

First Bitcoin based betting platform takes heat

The news came directly after reports were made of bookmaker Neds, an NTRC-licensee, launching Australia’s first Bitcoin based betting platform. Neds is the newest online bookmaker in Australia and was the first to launch a Bitcoin-based betting platform. The Neds CEO, Paul Cherry, announced early in February that they would be launching a site that is limited to bitcoin betting only. 

According to Cherry, the site would’ve eventually been opened to bets from other cryptocurrency if a sufficient demand had arisen. 

Unfortunately, the NTRC was not happy with the fact that the recently launched site accepts and pays out winnings in Bitcoin but doesn’t allow their users to convert their Bitcoin balance to fiat currency. 

It is clear that the NTRC isn’t playing around and will shut down or put a pause on any online casino operator not adhering to their rules. Neds has been made the example and their website now features a notice informing any visitors that the site is currently offline. It further states that they are pending further instruction from NT Racing Commission. 

Gambling and cryptocurrency in Australia

It is unclear why the NTRC has such an antagonistic stance when it comes to cryptocurrency wagering. Most of the major market gaming regulators in contrast have embraced the addition of cryptocurrency casinos. 

The UK Gambling Commission is one such operator that allows its licensees to transact in digital currencies if they adhere to the usual anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations. The NTRC gained its status as Australia’s lead online licensing body due to their favourable regulatory and tax regime offering to operators. With the individual Aussie states passing new point-of-consumption tax laws this might soon change. 

Furthermore, there is also uncertainty regarding the feature of online gambling in Australia. This after the federal government took extra steps to restrict the NTRC licensees’ ability to compete against internationally licensed operators.

The government has put a limit on certain types of promotional offers, restricted broadcast advertising opportunities and placed a ban on online casino and poker products.