From being a fad to acceptance as a legal tender, we can agree that cryptocurrency has come a long way. These days, the endorsement of cryptocurrency has gotten to the point that they’re used in online betting. This, in turn, led to the creation of a few Bitcoin casino sites.
Although Bitcoin casinos and Bitcoin gambling are at an all-time high, it’s still a grey area. There’s lots of potential in cryptocurrency betting, but everyone’s scared of waking up with feds at their door one day. Hence, this article will discuss the legality of Bitcoin gambling and address the question, ‘Are Bitcoin casino sites legal?’
What is Bitcoin gambling?
Addressing the legality of Bitcoin gambling would be incomplete without understanding its difference from regular legal gambling. Bitcoin gambling is a form of betting in which cryptocurrency is used as the legal tender or the means of payment. As such, Bitcoin casinos are online casinos that accept cryptocurrency as wagers.
This form of betting comes with various benefits such as faster withdrawals, reliability, and security. You could say that all these advantages would have made Bitcoin gambling superior to normal gambling.
Well, it does in a way, but regular online betting can be supervised personally by government-approved regulatory bodies. However, due to the nature of Bitcoin gambling, which exists on a blockchain, such direct supervision is impossible. Hence, this form of betting exists in an area beyond governmental supervision.
Is Bitcoin gambling accepted worldwide
Legal gambling in land-based casinos took a long time to become a thing. However, this is a journey that online casinos are currently undertaking and the presence of regulatory bodies also work in their favor. As such, they’re still gaining acceptance in many countries worldwide.
On the other hand, Bitcoin casinos are mired in a grey area that’s beyond complete regulatory body control. Nevertheless, there are still many countries that have accepted Bitcoin gambling as a form of legal gambling. But, of course, others have imposed an absolute ban on cryptocurrency itself and would be relaxing it anytime soon.
Below are a few countries that have stated their stance on cryptocurrency and Bitcoin gambling or just cryptocurrency alone:
The United States (US)
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US sees Bitcoin as a convertible currency that can substitute for real currency. Therefore, they declare that entities that exchange or administer cryptocurrency can be classified as Money Services Businesses (MSB).
These entities need to register with the US treasury and file reports on transactions over $10,000. They believe that these reports will allow them to track any possible illicit activities conducted with cryptocurrency.
However, for online cryptocurrency betting, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement act speaks against it. Although this Act prohibits online gambling, some US states allow it. So, if you’re resident in Delaware, Nevada, or New Jersey, you can visit a properly licensed online Bitcoin casino.
The European Union (EU)
The EU is fairly accepting of cryptocurrency and crypto-assets, and it isn’t illegal to use cryptocurrency in the region. However, the European Union banking authority has warned that cryptocurrencies are out of their control. As a result, this banking authority recently issued a proposal for legalising crypto-assets to enforce some form of control over them.
Although this proposal is a step towards cryptocurrency legalisation, that doesn’t mean that the EU prohibits Bitcoin gambling. As the headquarters of most online betting authorities, the EU accepts Bitcoin casinos. The Malta Gambling Authority has passed some blockchain laws to this effect.
El Salvador is one country that has completely accepted Bitcoin, with its president declaring it as a legal tender. This country can be said to accept Bitcoin casinos as legal gambling casinos.
Like the US, Canada sees Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as taxable assets. So, individuals that trade in cryptocurrency need to report their income to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Canada also sees cryptocurrency exchanges as money service businesses. Accordingly, FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) has spoken regarding them. Accordingly, FINTRAC declares that these cryptocurrency exchanges need to register with them.
Although there are no direct laws against it, Canada’s stance on Bitcoin casinos is unclear. It’s only stated that gambling within Canadian borders is illegal if the government doesn’t approve it.
Australia is another country where cryptocurrencies are accepted as taxable assets. They propose that if you hold onto your crypto-assets without trading, exchanging, or otherwise using them, they wouldn’t be taxed. However, they are an example of another country with unclear stances on Bitcoin gambling.
Besides Australia, other countries have legalised cryptocurrencies, such as Mexico, Germany, Spain, France, and Denmark. However, just like others before them, they have got unclear stances on the dilemma of Bitcoin gambling as legal gambling.
The decentralised nature of cryptocurrency makes it beyond government control, and as such, many countries are wary of it. Hence, some of these countries have banned digital currency, such as Libya, Kuwait, Georgia, Vietnam, etc. Nevertheless, these bans are seen as implicit bans since they try to stifle the flow of cryptocurrency in that country.
Notwithstanding, a few countries have stated their stance and placed outright bans on cryptocurrency. These countries include Tunisia, China, Bangladesh, Algeria, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Qatar, and Nepal.
As for their stance on Bitcoin gambling, it’s safe to say that it’s illegal in countries with outright bans. However, those with implicit prohibitions have unclear perspectives on the issue.
As you can see, the matter of Bitcoin casino sites as legal gambling organisations is only clear in a few countries. Therefore, with this analysis, there can only be a few conclusions that you can come to:
- There are no specific laws that target Bitcoin casino sites. Only inferences are taken from regular online casino laws, normal gambling laws, or cryptocurrency laws.
- Playing in such countries wouldn’t cause you any trouble, as long as cryptocurrency and online betting are legal. So, if you’re resident in the EU and select US states, Bitcoin casino sites are legal for you.
- Although most countries have an unclear stance on Bitcoin gambling, there are some with clear viewpoints on cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, Bitcoin casino sites in such countries are probably illegal and could get you in trouble if you visit them.