Until now, Bitcoin only casinos needed to get licensed offshore – in gambling havens like the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean. In a surprise move, the UK Gambling Commission (which licenses and oversees all online casino activity in the UK) has said it will allow casinos to accept Bitcoin, run games in this currency and also allow payments back to players.
The declaration essentially says that Bitcoin is the equivalent of cash in the eyes of the commission, and should be treated in the same way. Several larger brands currently accept Bitcoin as a deposit method, though this is switched into GBP or USD at the point it is deposited. While I am sure this will remain as the primary route for most casinos, the door is now open for Bitcoin only operators to apply for UK licenses. Whether they do will need to involve a balance between the cost and overheads required to run a compliant room – and the expected profits from the UK market.
About Bitcoin Deposits:
Many people still perceive Bitcoin as being a technically challenging solution – though in reality the use of the world’s most popular crypto currency has become both mainstream and very easy. Setting up a Bitcoin wallet is really no more difficult than signing up for a PayPal account. You find a provider, register and verify your e-mail. The next step is to fund your account (again this is very easy using a provider such as coinbase.com).
Once you have a wallet, you can send and receive Bitcoin almost instantly. The transactions use long strings of letters and numbers known as senders / receivers ids. You go to your casino’s cashier, request a Bitcoin deposit, and they give you an id which you then send the money to using your wallet. When you withdraw, you create an id (again, using your wallet) and simply hand it to the casino together with the amount of money you want to deposit.
New Legislation Timetable
This new legislation will not come into effect right away. The first Bitcoin casino licenses could be issued from the 31st of October 2016. This should give casinos the chance to get their houses in order to meet the requirements of the Gambling Commission.
It will be interesting to see if there is enough of an appetite for BTC-only casinos in the UK to make this work. My thought is that by accepting Bitcoin deposits, the large casino brands (which play in GBP, EUR or USD) will ensure that many people do not need to go for the ‘risker’ option of a Bitcoin only casino.
As usual in the ever-evolving online casino industry, it is a case of sitting back and watching the action unfold!
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