With Bitcoin value constantly on the rise, it has become evident that regulatory frameworks surrounding its operations and other crypto-currencies should be put in place. Not to be left behind are online casinos which transact only in bitcoins.
Until recently, only China and Japan had shown unwavering desire to regulate bitcoin exchanges including casinos, now Australia has also joined the pack. According to www.casinopedia.org, in the year 2016/2017, Australian pokies suffered their worst trend ever since 2002 prompting fears that the gambling industry may be declining fast. This was majorly attributed to emergence of online casino games and illegal gambling website.
The Economist named Australia as the biggest online gambling heaven with a probable annual loss of 900$ per adult player. This report also predicts a 15% year-over-year growth in this industry.
Legalities & Regulations
Limited gambling opportunities pushed players into the black online markets and this prompted the Australian government to subject both players and operators to the Interactive Gambling Act which was supposed to eliminate internet casinos by 2011. With the provisions of this law heavily hitting on the online poker industry, many players resorted to the god set anonymous bitcoin gambling.
The Interactive Gambling Act imposes heavy tax obligations on revenue realized and adds geographical boundaries to its operations. This is entirely meant to improve security and player’s safety and reduce the possible cases of overindulgence. It is worth noting that these controls and bans have had a complete opposite result given the anonymous nature of bitcoin activities. Users can simply fund anonymous accounts via anonymous wallets.
The amended anti bitcoin gambling legislation plans to force bitcoin gambling operators to acquire licenses from the Australian Communications Authority, failure to comply will result into fines of up to 1 Million pounds. It only remains to be seen if there will be compliance or the government will block bitcoin casinos from access within Australia.
It is worth noting that the Australian Taxation Office has also given out guidance on how bitcoin gambling will be regulated. This was deliberately done to give people time to factor in their incomes in the tax returns.
With all the laws in place, it might still be surprising that it is acceptable for Australians to gamble on international sites.
While it looks unstoppable, it will take quite sometimes for these laws to take a complete effect; or rather, the Aussie’s government may just be fighting a losing battle. Local bitcoin exchanges may comply, but regulating local punters is a tall order.