Australian Sports Betting Regulator Seeks Input on Crypto

Australia’s Northern Territory Racing Commission, a sports betting regulator which oversees the licensing platform for interactive and land-based wagering operators in the country, is now putting in requests for public consultation on the use of cryptocurrencies as a viable payment method in the industry.

Cryptocurrencies Explored as Viable Payment Option

As cryptocurrency use becomes more common in Australia, the gambling regulator is undertaking an ambitious plan to better understand it and possibly implement it as part of the checkout process at sportsbooks. The NTRC last commented on cryptocurrencies back in 2018, urging stakeholders to refrain from implementing cryptocurrencies as a payment option.

This may now be changing as the sustained use of digital assets and their stronger adoption by retail consumers means that the regulator could be delaying the inevitable. By requesting input into cryptocurrencies, the NTRC is signaling that a change in attitude is due.

The commission added that it still needs to remain cautious about the adoption of cryptocurrencies and argued that volatility must be better understood for the sake of consumer protection.

“The Commission is also mindful of recent volatility in the value of cryptocurrency, and the need to ensure that risks are appropriately identified and managed,” a statement read. The Commission hopes to come up with a draft regulation that can guide the further implementation of cryptocurrencies – first for settling payments and later even for making wagers.

The Commission expects all feedback to be submitted to it by September 29. In the meantime, cryptocurrency has won itself a bit of bad fame. Most recently, the US Securities and Exchange Commission busted a $300-million Ponzi scheme involving cryptocurrency.

Apple and Google have been increasingly criticized for allowing unsafe cryptocurrency apps onto their digital stores, which in turn resulted in stolen funds for consumers. In the gambling industry, cryptocurrencies as payment methods have been mostly used to circumnavigate traditional payment methods.

Offshore gambling websites use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to ensure a higher deposit and withdrawal clearance rate as traditional banking methods often end up failing or bouncing payments. The Commission’s openness to exploring cryptocurrencies further is a good way to address shifting consumer preferences.

Whether cryptocurrencies are implemented as a viable payment option at sportsbooks across Australia remains to be seen.  

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