Bitcoin could help Aussies continue to play poker
AS the future of Australian online poker hangs in the balance, players are looking to alternatives so they can continue to play irrespective of the legislative outcome.
Bitcoin gambling might just be the answer.
Several reputable ‘offshore’ sites have already indicated to CasinoSites.com.au reporters that they will stay in the Australian market even if legislation and payment blocking force giants like PokerStars out of the market.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, which will force the biggest poker companies in the world to leave the Australian market, has already pushed 888Poker out. PokerStars has threatened to leave if the bill is approved.
The Australian Online Poker Alliance, lead by founder Joseph Del Duca has even visited Canberra to chat with MPs about their position. This has lead to vocal support from Senator David Leyonhjelm who drafted a secondary amendment to exclude online poker, and blackjack, from the bill.
Still its future remains uncertain.
If the bill is passed, and Senator Leyonhjelm’s secondary bill fails, poker players will be forced to less respectable sites. Senator Leyonhjelm says players should continue to play if this happens.
Part of the proposals put forward in the amendments is to investigate payment blocking, or asking the banks not to process payments to offshore gambling sites. This is where bitcoin may just save the day for Aussie poker players.
Sites including Americas Cardroom, hugely popular in the USA where online poker is banned, already have the infrastructure set up to accomodate bitcoin deposits and will view the withdrawal of PokerStars as a huge opportunity to cash in.
Bitcoin is a digital currency which doesn’t require a middle man, such as a bank, to approve the transaction. It has grown quickly and poker players are able to sign up to a site, such as BetOnline, and make a deposit with the cryptocurrency.
This doesn’t necessarily mean your account will be credited with bitcoin, it will simply be converted to the currency you choose. For instance Bovada, a popular USA facing betting site and casino, allows you to deposit in bitcoin and display your balance in United States Dollars.
Buying bitcoin is simple too – you can purchase it online at an exchange site and transfer it to a bitcoin web wallet. Australians can also buy bitcoins with cash at more than 1200 newsagents around the country.
Senate will debate the bill at next week’s sitting, where online poker’s fate may be determined. If MPs do their research they will find online poker will still be available to Australian players even if it does pass and perhaps this could save and regulate the national pastime.
The United States is a perfect example for MPs to consider. In America online poker is illegal in most states and offshore payments are largely blocked, but millions of poker players still play online. Bitcoin, pre-paid cards and web wallets are just some of the ways they use to deposit money into casino accounts.
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