Illegal betting activities with cryptocurrencies in Asia are reportedly increasing. Top virtual currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP are accepted on several illegal betting sites. This development is one of reason why there is a surge in gambling, according to a report by Asian Racing Foundation (ARF).
In recent times, online betting sites have become an increasingly popular industry receiving millions of dollars in monthly returns. Bets can be placed on games like football, racing or even online sports. However, the integration of cryptocurrencies in the sector by newer firms have fanned the embers of gambling in the country.
There are junket businesses in Macau that function as middlemen for Chinese high-rollers with the offshore transfer of funds without detection. These businesses operate illegally in cryptocurrencies and are responsible for more than half Macau’s gambling revenue.
In a quarterly bulletin released by the ARF, said that the illegal activities have grown seven times since 2018. Stating use of blockchains and cryptocurrencies facilitates criminal activities like betting and money laundering. The situation is said to be highlighted by international law enforcements and Anti-Money Laundering agencies.
The Use of BTC and XRP for Illegal Betting
Bitcoin and Ethereum are some of the top five cryptocurrencies that are widely accepted by these illegal sites, including Bitcoin Cash and XRP. Bitcoin is currently accepted by more than 127 overseas betting sites and over 284 online casinos. A total of 780 offshore betting service providers accept at least one of the five cryptocurrencies.
These sites are allegedly well promoted on social media via agents. In 2018, these sites combined has received over 229 million users. Countries like India, Thailand, Australia, or anywhere else where betting is restricted make up 23 percent of that number.
A jockey club based in Hong Kong has decried the lack of strict regulations on these sites. According to Tom Chignell, the club’s analyst, the lack of firm regulations on these sites have aided the rise of illegalities and corruption. However, the ARF has remarked that illegal sites can efficiently adapt to new technologies and pose a threat to regulated betting jurisdictions.