The Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) recently sent out a notification to all bookmakers and betting sites that are licensed by the territory, informing them that they are no longer permitted to offer Bitcoin betting and wagers in Australia. This is bad news for one bookmaker in particular, who recently launched Australia’s first dedicated bitcoin platform for sports betting.
Bitcoin Bookmaker Shut Down Soon After Launch
The newly launched online bookmaker, Neds, allowed gamblers to deposit, wager, and withdraw winnings in Bitcoin. It did not offer conversion of cryptocurrency to Australian dollars though. As with many bookmakers, Neds is licenced in the Northern Territories. While some gambling sites allow players to deposit cryptocurrencies, this is then converted into real money for gambling.
However, soon after Neds launched, an email notification was sent out to all betting sites licensed by the Northern Territories. The mail informed them that the chairman of the NTRC has decided to no longer allow wagering options for cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin. Currently, Neds bitcoin platform simple tells players it is offline and waiting for instructions from the NTRC.
Bitcoin and Gambling
Many believed Bitcoin would become extremely popular in the online gambling market. While its true that some online gambling sites were very early adopters, it didn’t grow as expected. The main issue was that most of the large gambling jurisdictions wouldn’t allow it. In the last few years though, the UK Gambling Commission and Malta have both allowed its use.
But, many of the largest online casinos still haven’t added Bitcoin to their banking options. This could be because they don’t wish to upset other jurisdictions they hold licenses in, especially if those jurisdictions aren’t as welcoming to cryptocurrency. The other issue is the volatility of these virtual currencies. The value of these currencies, especially Bitcoin, can rise and fall drastically within a matter of minutes.
It will be very interesting to see how the situation with neds progresses. It would be a shame if the company spent all the time, money and effort to set up the dedicated Bitcoin platform, only to have it permanently banned.