Australia Bans Online Gambling With Crypto

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Jun/11/2024

Key takeaways:

The Australian government has announced regulated online gambling sites must immediately stop allowing funding of betting accounts through cryptocurrencies and credit cards. Failure to comply could see companies fined up to $155,000.

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The ban on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and credit cards was announced late last year with operators having six months to comply.  That deadline arrived this week.

"'If consumer protection measures aren't consistent across all forms of gambling it will incentivise vulnerable Australians to move to less-regulated types of gambling, where they are more at risk of harm," Responsible Wagering Australia chief executive Kai Cantwell  said in an interview with the Canberra Times.

Ironically, the move to ban credit cards and cryptocurrencies is likely to lead more folks to start betting with so-called "black market" or "grey market" sites, that is if you can access them.

Funding one's wagering account via bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is often facilitated through intermediary digital wallets via anonymous addresses that are not necessarily linked to gambling. 

Australia, a nation at the forefront of online gambling, is now among the most hostile towards the activity it seems.

As if the situation couldn't get any worse, over the next three years, Australia is looking to eradicate gambling advertisements entirely.

Communications minister Michelle Rowland said the government would have more announcements on gambling prevention in the future.

"Australians should not be gambling with money they do not have," Rowland said.

"This ban builds on the significant progress to minimise gambling harm that the Albanese Government has made over the past two years, which is already benefiting thousands of vulnerable Australians.

More Site Blocking

Last month, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) blocked eight more online gambling sites it said were illegally accepting bets from Australians.

  • Playzilla
  • Wazamba
  • Zet Casino
  • Slots Palace
  • Nomini
  • Casinia
  • SG Casino
  • Fez Bet
  • Buran Casino
  • Spin Better
  • Golden Bet
  • Clash.gg

945 Illegal Gambling and Affiliate Websites Blocked So Far

Since ACMA made its first request in November 2019, some 945 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have been blocked with just over 220 illegal services having pulled out of Australia over the last five years.

“ACMA is reminding consumers that even if a service looks legitimate, its unlikely to have important consumer protections,” ACMA said. “This means our laws can’t help if something goes wrong, like if the service provider withholds winnings.

“Australians can check if a wagering service is licensed to operate in Australia on the ACMA register.”

Folks are still going to gamble online nonetheless.  Many have turned to VPN services where internet traffic is routed through the VPN server, bypassing any local geographical restrictions, blocking or checkpoints.

According to IT Wire, VPN usage increased significantly in Australia between 2020 and 2024 where percentage usage increased from 25.1% to 27.1%.

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