Glenn Cezanne

Joachim Marnitz EU Bytes B

elgium has just entered another lockdown, something which is more than evident when looking at the empty streets and hearing the hooves of horses carrying police

offi cers monitoring the otherwise quiet pavements. Digital services are taking another jump and I presume online gambling is as well in the face of brick-and-mortar casinos being closed. Here I want to discuss the state of play

regarding crypto-currencies / blockchain tech with T&P’s Senior Strategic Advisor, Joachim Marnitz (someone you should be familiar with by now because of the EUBytes interviews published in Casino International). Indeed, blockchain has been one of the key issues we have discussed in CI interviews throughout 2019 and its time for an update.

Another reason to focus on it today is that Joachim and I are in the middle of building a cryptocurrency think tank to be launched early next year. In light of the many current initiatives pertaining to crypto-currency at policy and application levels, we get asked why this think tank is special. Well there is a simple answer to that. We are looking to de-cloud (no pun intended) the discussions around crypto-

currency so that all stakeholders, including consumers, the general public, business and policy decision-makers understand the merit and the challenges of the technology. So, – drum roll – brace yourself for the launch of the “Crypto Knowledge Centre: Transparency. Policy. Compliance.” Let me briefl y re-introduce Joachim. Having

worked for several years as a trader for one of the top 3 professional football betting companies worldwide, he now (along with his business partner) manages his own company that specialises in turning a profi t through sports betting.

G. Cezanne: Hi Joachim, welcome back and thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge. J. Marnitz: Good, as always, to be back. I have been enjoying our interviews and podcasts so far. GC: Now that you mention podcasts, I will take the opportunity to highlight to our readers that Joachim and I conduct a podcast called onTaP ( where we regularly invite special guests such as the President of the European Paralympic Committee and the Chair of the European Secretary General Network. FYI, we had a very informative mini-

Glenn Cezanne and Joachim Marnitz discuss the rise and rise of blockchain and its relevance to the gambling sector

series on crypto-currencies and essentially how they (Bitcoin and Ethereum) work. Jo, since we discussed crypto-currencies in

2019, what changes have you seen happening in the way betting operators use this form of tender? JM: Since I own a betting company, we often make and receive payments with bet brokers, which are specialized agents that open up portfolios with several bookmakers in one go on behalf of their clients. We’ve noted that transferring funds in bitcoins has become a popular alternative to wire transactions, mainly because it’s faster and cheaper. There’s also been a notable increase in

sportsbooks that accept Bitcoin, including those who cater to professionals like Pinnacle. This development has been confi ned to Bitcoin

however, which seems to be breaking into the mainstream. Other cryptocurrencies are largely confi ned to specialized operations or platforms that only deal in that specifi c cryptocurrencies and their ecosystems. GC: And, what about consumers? Do we see an increase in their use by punters? JM: There must be increasing demand, otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing more and more operators accepting it.

28 NOVEMBER 2020

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