Illegal gambling in Asia is on the rise, facilitated in part by sites accepting bets in cryptocurrency. According to a report published by the Asian Racing Federation, the number of illegal betting sites accepting BTC has increased sevenfold since 2018.

  • The federation says it’s concerned that cryptocurrency facilitates “avoidance of anti-money laundering and know-your-customer procedures; circumvention of international betting regulator and licensing requirements; and instantaneous and anonymous cross-border transactions from bettors and operators”.
  • According to the report, more than 780 offshore websites accept one or more of the five major cryptocurrencies — BTC, ETH, Tether, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash. Players from Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and Singapore are among the most common users of such sites.
  • Further concerns relate to illegal bookmaking syndicates in places such as Macau having the means to “offshore” illegal betting proceeds to settle customer payments and to pay employees in regional betting hubs such as the Philippines.