Australia bans cryptocurrency use in online gambling

on Jun 11, 2024
  • Australia has banned cryptocurrencies in online gambling to prevent financial harm.
  • The ban includes restrictions on credit cards linked to cryptocurrency wallets.
  • Australia's move follows increased regulatory scrutiny on the cryptocurrency sector.

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Australia has banned the use of cryptocurrencies in online gambling. With this, regulators aim to prevent locals from gambling away money “they do not have.”

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According to a June 11 report, the ban encompasses cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Further, credit cards linked to cryptocurrency wallets are also restricted.

Crypto use in gambling banned

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Michelle Rowland, Australia’s Communications minister, was quoted saying:

Australians should not be gambling with money they do not have.

Per Rowland, the move is a means to mitigate the “harm” the Albanese government has incurred over the past years. The minister added that more announcements on gambling prevention would be introduced in the future.

Cryptocurrencies have become a popular means of payment when it comes to gambling. Cbets placed in crypto jumped 83% from 2022 to 2023 according to SOFTSWISS data.

The crypto gambling industry is expected to hit $90 billion by 2024. However, gambling in general, remains a grey area across the globe. 

Australia has been housing several online casinos, with several of them accepting cryptocurrencies. A 2019 survey revealed that 30.7% of gamblers in Australia preferred online gambling activities using cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, Kai Cantwell, head of Responsible Wagering Australia, an independent body overseeing the Australian gambling market, has urged the regulators to extend the ban to exempted forms of gambling.

Kai believes inconsistency in measures across all forms of gambling could push Australians towards “less-regulated types of gambling” which poses more risks.

The new law compliments existing measures in place, particularly in physical casinos, where credit card use is already banned.

Initially introduced in 2023, the new rules were presented, as an amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. Subsequently, related platforms were given a six-month transition period to comply.

The framework also enforces fines of upto $234,750, for non-compliance.

Increased regulatory scrutiny

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The mandate comes as Australia witnessed the launch of its first Bitcoin ETF on June 4. 

The Monochrome Bitcoin ETF (IBTC) became the first ETF product approved approved under the Australian Financial Services (AFS) licensing rules’ new crypto asset category, introduced in 2021.

It is also the first ETF in the nation that directly holds Bitcoin.

Australian regulators have also started to tighten the grip on the booming cryptocurrency sector. In May, Australia’s tax office issued a notice to cryptocurrency exchanges, demanding details of up to 1.2 million accounts  in a bid to mitigate tax evasion.

Meanwhile, the nation’s securities regulator has been cracking down on crypto companies it deems, to have been offering unregistered securities. Mimicking moves made by the United States Securirites and Exchange Comission.

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