With the Australian online gambling laws constantly in a state of confusion and change, a new breed of online casino has cropped up aiming to strike it rich with Aussie players. Namely the offshore Bitcoin casino. These online casinos are ready to accept Australian players either anonymously or even flying directly in the face of the Australian government.
Australian Bitcoin Casinos
Australian gambling laws are changing. Over the last two years, the Australian Government has had a good hard look at the gambling industry and decided to make a number of amendments to their gambling laws. Over the same time period, bitcoin casinos have gone from strength to strength, rapidly becoming ever more popular, particularly amongst players at offshore casinos residing in countries where the gambling laws are particularly aggressive. Could it be possible that these two things become linked in the very near future? In this article, we will examine the current changes to Australian gambling laws, and exam the possibility that Australian players may turn to bitcoin casinos in order to get around some the stickier aspects of those ever-changing laws.
Once upon a time…
Australian gambling laws haven’t always been peachy. As a matter of fact, Australians have had something of a hard time with their gambling laws over the last decade or so. The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 practically ensured that whilst Australians were permitted to play in online poker rooms and casinos with no fear of repercussions; those operators who served them would face penalties. In effect, the Australians made online gambling illegal for operators and not the players themselves. The fines were severe. In some cases, private individuals running gambling enterprises online could be fined $220,000 per day, whilst companies landed whopping $1.1 million fines, per day.
As a result of the legislation provided in the IGA of 2001, many operators refrained from getting involved in the online casino industry in Australia, whilst Australian players took to offshore casinos to get their fix of online gambling games.
In 2016, things began to change. Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister of Australia, and he decided that with $20 billion a year floating about via the Australian gambling industry, the country should do something about that. The logical decision would be to legalise and regulate the Australian gambling industry. That didn’t, though, in fact, quite the opposite occurred. Australia got tougher on online gambling.
Sports books (which were already full legal) now had to offer self-exclusion periods and do away with bonuses when catering to Australian players. Things have taken a turn for the worse over the last few months.
In 2017, the Australian Senate decided to implement new restrictions and legislation on gambling. A huge ban on all forms of internet gambling save for virtual sports betting was implemented. All gambling advertisements are also banned at sporting events under the new rules. Offshore gambling operators can no longer offer Australian players the chance to play at their casinos unless they have a gambling license issued by Australia. Given that Australia doesn’t offer licenses, the law masquerades itself as a blanket ban on casinos – full stop. Moreover, live in-play bets have also been banned. Bang goes Aussies right to bet on matches which have already started.
Suddenly, even the window for playing at offshore casinos has been taken away for your average Australian punter. What’s an online casino reveler to do? That’s where bitcoin casinos come into play.
About bitcoin casinos
Over the last few years, bitcoin casinos have been growing in popularity. These online casinos do not accept currencies save for bitcoins, and they offer a great degree of anonymity. Far more so than you would ordinarily expect to find with offshore casinos. Perhaps with bitcoin casinos, Australians may be able to get around the blanket ban on all forms of online casino gaming?
Bitcoin casinos are still not quite as popular as their online casinos, but they are finding a niche market amongst offshore casino gamblers, particularly in countries like Australia and the United States. Given that bitcoins are notoriously difficult to trace (as we’ve seen from the recent hacking scandals), Aussies would be virtually untraceable in a country where the authorities don’t even bother punishing their players, only the operators. Operators of bitcoin casinos are also very difficult to pinpoint, as are the transactions between casinos and players.
In short, it would take an extraordinary amount of effort for Australians to punish both operators and casino players alike.
The next big thing
On paper, this seems like the ideal approach for Australians to take, doesn’t it? So, what is stopping millions of Australians from betting at bitcoin casinos? The devil may be in the detail. Bitcoins are fiddly and not well-liked.
Firstly, players must purchase bitcoins from a bitcoin exchange, or they must mine their own. The latter is a wholly different procedure and one of the most complicated things any casino can do. Anybody who just wishes to spin a few reels will not be bothered with this option. So, purchasing bitcoins seems to be the way to go, but even that is problematic and time-consuming stuff.
Secondly, bitcoin casinos still aren’t quite at the level we’ve come to see from other major casino sites. There just aren’t enough big developers getting involved in bitcoin casinos at this moment in time. Whilst there can be no doubt that a good selection of casino games can be played at bitcoin casinos, you still don’t really have access to the really big titles.
At the end of the day, Australians will have to weigh up the pros and cons and decide for themselves. Bitcoin casinos still aren’t ideal, because, in an ideal world, gambling would be legal in Australia, and the ultra-conservative government would pocket a windfall in terms of tax revenue. That isn’t the case, though. Australians may just decide to wing it. After all, if they wish to continue playing online casinos games, bitcoin casinos may provide the only answer.
It will be interesting over the coming months to see just how this pans out. It could just be that there is a significant drop in online casino traffic from Australia. It isn’t likely, though, is it? In all probability, Australians will master bitcoin casinos and further promote the rise of these increasingly popular, new fangled online casino sites.