Online casino customers hoping cryptocurrency would be an acceptable form of payments this year, keep waiting.
At least as it relates to NJ online gambling and sports betting.
Speaking at this week’s All-American Sports Betting Summit at Monmouth Park, David Rebuck, executive director for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, made the point crystal clear:
"Bitcoin is not going to happen in New Jersey" online gaming market. "Its not going to happen." Director David Rebuck. #AASBC
— Jeff Ifrah (@jifrah) June 18, 2019
And there is a simple reason why not:
The US federal government doesn’t regulate it as a form of currency. Until that changes, cryptocurrency will remain on the sidelines, at least when it comes to licensed NJ online casinos and sports betting sites.
What is cryptocurrency?
For many of us, the word cryptocurrency does not register with more common banking methods such as PayPal.
Basically, cryptocurrency is a digital form of cash with an encryption component to it. Unlike the other deposit/withdrawal methods, the system operates separately from the banks.
Bitcoin is the most well-known form of cryptocurrency.
Stopping illegal offshore operators
However, illegal offshore bookmakers and websites do accept cryptocurrency. MyBookie, GTBets, and BetAnySports are a few of the offshore operators that accept it.
Yes, it is still possible to bet via these operators, even with the 20-plus legal online casinos and 14 sportsbook apps available.
If you hear Rebuck talk at any conference, he is well aware of this major issue. And the DGE is doing everything in its power to halt it.
The issue was a hot topic of conversation at last week’s East Coast Gaming Congress held at Harrah’s.
Rebuck sat on a panel with Kevin O’Toole, executive director for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, and Dan Shapiro, vice president of strategy and business development for William Hill.
One of the bigger debates when it comes to today’s legal sports betting world is whether or not to include mobile sports betting legislation. Mississippi only legalized retail sports betting, not online. New York, on the other hand, has been fighting for online betting for a while now.
But the offshore market is ripe with online options.
Putting offshore in its place
Rebuck is well aware of the illegal market, and it’s a big reason why NJ has a robust mobile sports betting industry. He addressed the topic during the ECGC panel discussion:
“…To ignore [mobile sports betting] and prohibit by law only causes problems in the future because essentially the customers want it. They’re going to use it on the black market for sure.
“They have been for years and years and years, and they still do today, even in New Jersey. The illegal sites are very, very strong today. They are very robust. Primarily the way they operate is through mobile. Everybody knows that. It’s public facing.”
The reality is, any sports bettor could do a Google search for sports betting and get a number of results. Just like legal apps, sports bets can be placed rather quickly.
“[Offshore sites] are very good at what they do,” added Rebuck. “We will keep fighting it. That will be a future issue.”
No crypto for New Jersey gambling
Life will go on without Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency in the Garden State. To be fair, NJ bettors have access to a multitude of payment options, including:
- Cash at a casino cage
- Prepaid cards
- Bank wire transfers
And the reality is online casino growth is showing no signs of slowing down. Here are a couple of examples:
- Internet gaming win came in at $38.3 million for the month, marking a mind-blowing 57.8% increase from the same period last year.
- The year-to-date numbers stand out even more: $179.4 million through the first five months of 2019. This marks a 53.5% increase over the same period last year.
Judging by the most recent revenue numbers provided by the DGE, the current payment processing methods seem to be working just fine.