The Australian Communication and Media Authority has begun an investigation to determine whether a popular online gaming site that accepts bitcoin is operating legally in Australia. JustBet.cx has been in operation since 1995 and is allegedly headquartered in Australia. People have bet on prematch and inplay markets on a variety of sports, including the Australian Football League and the A-League. If the company’s headquarters is not located in Australia, it is in violation of the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 and can be closed down.
The Interactive Gambling Act
Under the Interactive Gambling Act, there are several provisions. The bill is specifically aimed at online gambling operators. It states that online gaming for money is not legal. Companies that operate in the nation and are charging and dispensing money for gaming can be fined up to $1 million a day and shut down.
The regulation authority is trying to determine whether JustBet is based within Australia or someplace else. Investigators have suggested that the company’s IP address may not be in Australia at all, but instead, it may be based in Costa Rica, which is a country in Central America. If the website is based in Costa Rica, it can be immediately shut down and the owner of the domain can be fined or arrested. The website maintains it is based on Christmas Island, which is a territory of Australia.
The Australian government’s regulation of the company has so far revealed that the person who registered the domain was not Australian, but Panamanian. An IP address trace discovered that the address is located in San Jose, Costa Rica. While it appears that the website is not an Australian company, the media watchdog company cannot deregulate the company on its own. Instead, it has to wait for a request from the Australian Parliament or an Australian citizen. So far, however, no one has complained.
The Problem with Online Gaming Sites
One of the largest issues with online gaming sites is that they are very difficult to control and there are several different reasons why. First, it is fairly easy for an online gaming company to reorganize itself under another name. If a government shuts down one domain, it can just as easily start up another domain within minutes of the original domain being shut down. Businesses can get away with this because they are so hard to trace. Although many legitimate businesses register their domain names with the names and addresses of their chief executive officers, domains that are interested in criminal activity can very easily use fake names and fake addresses.
The problem with fake gaming websites or websites for gaming with incorrect addresses has become even more prevalent because of cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin. Bitcoin does not need names in order to transfer money from one location to another, which allows domains a great degree of anonymity.
Many observers believe that Australia, as well as other countries, will take a greater interest in a website that allows gaming with cryptocurrency, and will seek to further regulate the websites that allow all forms of gaming using cryptocurrency because they are so hard to trace. However, researchers estimate that until cybersecurity firms can make cryptocurrency more traceable and manage those individuals who deal in cryptocurrency, it will be very difficult to manage the gaming websites. Interestingly, a recent search of Justbet.cx reveals it has changed the ending of its domain name to .co rather than .cx. However, there is no indication that the company has changed the location of its website to Australia.
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