Punters using Bitcoin for Melbourne Cup bets

Melbourne Cup punters are finding their way around rules preventing Australian betting companies accepting Bitcoin.

Bitcoin betting website 1xBit.com is currently allowing anyone living in Australia to register and bet with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

It offers a comprehensive range of Melbourne Cup betting options with odds that some punters may find more appealing than Australia’s mainstream betting agencies.

Bitcoin Betting
1xbit’s Melbourne Cup betting options.

The website has reportedly captured the attention of sports and betting authorities but the legalities surrounding bitcoin betting remain a grey area.

“Australian laws don’t specifically refer to bets placed on Australian sporting events using cryptocurrencies, from here or elsewhere, and it makes sense to review the laws to determine whether they should specifically refer to this new technology,” sports lawyer Catherine Ordway told the ABC‘s Jack Kerr in an article about the Bitcoin betting concerns.

1xBit is also currently taking Bitcoin bets for Round 1 of the AFL and Twenty20 Big Bash cricket.

Wagering on Australian events is offered by a number of international betting websites, but unlike 1xBit, most like crypto betting giant JustBet.co are blocked.

Bitcoin Betting
Popular international Bitcoin betting website, JustBet, isn’t accessible in Australia.

Neds Crackdown

Bitcoin Betting in Australia was thwarted by regulators in February this year after wagering startup Neds was ordered to “cease and desist” operating its dedicated cryptocurrency-powered platform ‘NedsCrypto’.

The NedsCrypto experiment prompted a Bitcoin betting clamp-down by the Northern Territory Racing Commission – which has authority over nearly all of Australia’s gambling websites.

“The chairman of the Racing Commission is intending to issue a formal communique to all sports bookmakers and betting exchange operators licensed in the NT if currently transacting in cryptocurrency (for example Bitcoin, Ethereum and the like) for their wagering operations to immediately cease and desist,” the commission wrote in an email to betting companies.

Bitcoin Betting
The Neds Crypto website was shut down just days after launching.

The move was believed to be in response to fears the anonymity surrounding cryptocurrencies could lead to match-fixing, however many labelled it ‘draconian’.

“And how is the regulator going to stop offshore bookies from offering cryptocurrency sports betting to Australians? The only thing this stupid directive achieves is putting Australian based bookmakers at a disadvantage, which means they’ll make less money and will pay less taxes,” wrote one Australian Bitcoin gambling enthusiast on a Bitcoin Gambling forum.

It’s not clear if the Northern Territory Racing Commission has established any firm cryptocurrencies guidelines, but for now all of Australia’s online betting agencies are abiding by the commission’s cease and desist notice.

UPDATE: Value of Melbourne Cup Bitcoin betting likely be in the millions of USD according to one expert. Click here for the full article by Micky News.

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