Push has come to shove on the Australian government’s ban on gambling sites accepting crypto and credit cards.

The government announced the ban late last year, saying companies had six months to comply. That window of time expired today, and now Australian online gambling portals could face fines of up to $155,000 for flouting the rules. A dedicated gambling watchdog has also been given expanded powers to enforce the restrictions.

As per the new rules, digital currencies such as Bitcoin can no longer be used to place online bets in Australia. The same restrictions already existed for real-world gambling, but do not extend to lotteries due to the “low risk” they pose.

Responsible Wagering Australia chief executive Kai Cantwell told the The Canberra Times that the ban was an “important measure to protect customers” and would make it easier for people to “stay in control of their own gambling behavior.


"'If consumer protection measures aren't consistent across all forms of gambling it will incentivise vulnerable Australians to move to less-regulated types of gambling, where they are more at risk of harm," he added.

The move comes after a parliamentary inquiry into problem gambling resulted in 31 recommendations, including further restrictions on how gambling companies can advertise and a self-exclusion register.

Later this year, video games featuring speculative items like loot boxes will only be given a minimum 18+ rating, while those that encourage in-game purchases will be recommended for mature audiences only.

Communications minister Michelle Rowland explained that vulnerable Australians should “not be gambling with money they do not have.”


Last month it was announced that blockchain-based betting site Polymarket had raised $70 million in two fundings rounds before users wagered $13 million over the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of eight spot Ethereum ETFs. However, a debate about what “approved” actually meant quickly broke out, with many calling the bet “rigged.”

Edited by Stacy Elliott.

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