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Crypto bets via Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP are fueling illegal gambling in Asia

The acceptance of top cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP gambling sites are part of the reason why illegal online gambling is rising in Asia, a report from the Asian Racing Federation (ARF) said earlier this week.

The report released warns of digital currency’s capacity to evade scrutiny by gambling regulators and financial watchdogs, thereby “facilitating avoidance of anti-money laundering and know-your-customer procedures.”

The report claims that 780 ‘offshore’ gambling sites accept at least one of five digital currencies—BTC, Ethereum, Tether, Ripple and BCH—with the number of online betting and casino sites that accept BTC increasing by seven-fold and 13-fold, respectively, since 2018. The report alleges that this facilitates not only customers funding their wagering activity but also allows operators to “offshore the criminal proceeds of their illegal betting operations.”

Betting sites using cryptocurrency were also found to have employed ‘agents,’ who actively promote the sites through social media networks like Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram to Asian users.

The report singles out Asian-facing betting exchange Citibet as one of the leading unauthorized operators using digital currency to target bettors in Asian countries where wagering is either illegal or restricted to locally licensed sites.

Citibet is a longtime bête noire of the ARF, but the report suggests that Citibet has launched digital currency-only betting subsidiaries that are intent on further draining the milkshakes of approved betting operators in Hong Kong, Australia and other Asia-Pacific jurisdictions.

Source: Cryptoslate, Coingeek