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Melbourne Cup Punters were using Bitcoin en Masse

Posted on November 23, 2018 | 8:57 pm

Horse racing, like almost any other gambling service, is very popular in Australia. The equestrian sport has always been able to attract a strong betting scene and today, the situation has not changed. From Morphettville to Moonee Valley, the racing tracks continue to be a huge magnet for punters. Now, however, it is clear that a new crypto betting trend is gaining ground in the same domain.

As it was recently discussed, the idea of Australians using bitcoin to gamble online is in a gray legal area in the country. In spite of this, just as it was suggested by previous analysis, the Australian audience will not be put off by the fact that they are using services outside of the country.

A Global Offer for Australian Punters

International cryptocurrency casino operators might not be legally recognized in Australia, but they still include betting services clearly targeting this territory. Recently, a popular destination for the same purpose was shown to be a website based in British Indian Ocean Territory. These atolls are located between Madagascar and Sumatra and are barely populated. In fact, a 2012 census shows that the islands hold no permanent residents and about 2500 military personnel and associated contractors.

None of this stops the service with its domain from offering its betting books to everyone in the world, including Australians. This is why the same online casino provided a chance to bet on this year’s Melbourne Cup. It is by no means alone and there is a sleuth of others, based in countries as diverse as Montenegro and Cambodia.

The Fear of Secrecy

In the case of the Melbourne Cup and horse racing in general, there is a fear that the anonymity behind bitcoin could allow for shady dealings and race-fixing. Ray Murrihy, previously the Racing NSW chief steward stated that there is no access to the identity of punters. He explains that there is a small likelihood that any regular or casual punter would be involved in things like this, but using BTC makes all parties unknown to the Australian authorities.

Here, the general narrative is that bitcoin brings in another shade of secrecy which could be used by malicious parties. At the same time, the wide majority of pro athletes in Australia, like anywhere in the world are young individuals who are gambling and tech savvy. The same individuals also completely understand that their careers will end in the next 10 to 15 years. The incentive to find a way around traditional financial security is apparent.

The Melbourne Cup Example

As a huge sporting event, the Melbourne Cup is a great showcase of the rising popularity of bitcoin wagering in Australia. There is no reason to doubt that this trend is similar everywhere in the developed world. The countries in this domain all have their legislative and regulatory setup which is, at best, very vague when it comes to the international cryptocurrency betting scene. The logic of political momentum shows that this status quo is not sustainable.

Australian legislation, especially after several rounds of news like the recent surge of BTC betting on the Melbourne Cup, will be forced to do something. At that point, the chances for a clampdown are, unfortunately, substantially higher than the possibility of recognizing cryptocurrencies and their use not just in the betting domain, but in other financial avenues as well.

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