Bitcoin Gambling: Is it Legal?
Bitcoin gambling has become a hugely popular payment method for many people around the world in recent years. With plenty of different ways to play available now, is the newest addition to the scene legal?
It’s actually quite a complex topic. This is because there are a large number of different regulators across the world. There’s also a large selection of countries all with different gambling laws in place. It means that there isn’t really a single all encompassing law to cover Bitcoin gambling around the world.
So, depending on where you are located, the views on the legalities of Bitcoin gambling will differ. Before we start to cover the intricacies of whether it’s legal to play with Bitcoin or not, we’re going to cover the basics of the different Bitcoin casino offerings that are available.
Bitcoin Gambling: What’s on Offer?
While the vast majority of our readers will be completely aware of the different ways to play with Bitcoin, it’s still important to make sure everyone is up to speed before we get into any complexities. So, how can you play at a Bitcoin Casino?
Making a payment to an online casino is the most important aspect of playing online. Without the ability to make payments, accounts can’t be funded and no-one can play. Most online casinos accept digital payments now, which has made it much easier for Bitcoin and other crypto methods to be used.
Depending on the online casino, crypto can either be used directly through the crypto address, using an e-wallet or through an exchange service built into the online casino directly. It means that crypto players have access to lots of different ways to enjoy Bitcoin gambling.
Games that allow crypto payments don’t cover the whole industry yet. It means that players who want to enjoy Bitcoin gambling, do have a slightly smaller choice of games. However, this is something that is changing as crypto becomes a more popular method of payment.
One area where Bitcoin is really taking hold is provably fair games. This is because these titles use the Blockchain in order to prove that the game is behaving in a fair manner. These games are almost exclusively available at crypto casinos. It’s mainly because crypto makes it much easier to use this technology. While fiat-based games can use this technology, the vast majority choose not to.
Of course, Bitcoin gambling is a relatively new offering to players. This is why it’s slightly behind fiat gaming in terms of games choice, but it’s also why it’s so impressive that the game choice is increasing at such a fast rate.
Safety and Security
This is an area where Bitcoin gambling really comes into its own. The security on offer when using Bitcoin is market-leading. This might not be the perception, this is mainly due to ignorance though. The p2p nature of the Blockchain offers security above high level bank security.
The ability to use cold storage wallets also means that crypto is literally impossible for hackers to steal using digital methods. The security of crypto is undoubtedly one of the biggest benefits that it holds over more traditional gambling methods.
Bitcoin also allows players to maintain their anonymity. This means it is impossible to link it to bank accounts and other details that could lead to fraud. Of course, this relies on the players taking measures to keep their details secure.
Bitcoin Gambling: Legality
It would be impossible to cover every regulator and country and their attitude to gambling with crypto. Because of this we’re just going to cover some of the bigger countries/regulators that have a specific stance on Bitcoin gambling.
Bitcoin Gambling in the UK
The UKGC is well known for being one of the strictest regulators on the market. In a relatively unique situation, the UK government tends to allow the UKGC free reign to regulate how it likes. While there are reforms now and then, it is mostly able to shape its legislation how it sees fit as long as it is within the frameworks of existing laws.
In terms of legislation towards crypto, it was put in place in 2016. It does remove some of the benefits that Bitcoin gambling offers to players. For example, in order to play using crypto in the UK, players have to carry out the Know Your Customer processes. This removes the anonymity of the player and means that banks could potentially discover how players have been using their money. For anyone who wants to protect their identity when online, this could be a problem.
For players who want to play in an anonymous fashion, it removes this ability. The increased security is still in place though, which is an obvious benefit. Because of this, Bitcoin gambling is legal within the UK, but obviously with some limitations.
Bitcoin Gambling in the USA
The USA has a much stranger relationship with Bitcoin at the moment. There’s a great deal of nuance in place in the USA at the moment in regards to gambling, which needs to be touched on slightly in order to fully explain where Bitcoin and other cryptos stand.
The USA is currently in the process of legalizing gambling across the country. It’s available in a number of states at the moment, as this is changing all of the time we can’t give an accurate number because by the time this guide is published it will probably be out of date in less than a week!
Gambling is heavily regulated in all states that it is legal. The legislation for each state is different, which is where the complications tend to come in. Bitcoin and other cryptos are generally not counted as a currency in the USA. This means that using it to gamble with is perfectly acceptable in almost all states that allow gambling.
The real complication arises when it comes to tax. Bitcoin is still counted as a commodity, so Bitcoin gambling is covered by tax laws on gambling profits. As such, American players will have to declare winnings on tax returns. This can lead to extra problems. Especially with the fluctuating value of cryptos.
Because of all of this, it’s important to check on the specific laws for your state. Remember, if gambling isn’t legal in your state yet, Bitcoin gambling won’t be legal yet either.
Bitcoin Gambling in Japan
Japan is notorious for being extremely strict when it comes to gambling. Although it has recently allowed for brick and mortar gambling to be used, it’s still strongly against online gambling. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that it came to a deal with a crypto to stop gambling being carried out on its blockchain. This is obviously an issue for crypto players.
There are reasons to be optimistic though. While it’s still not legal at the moment, this could change in the future. Many believe that new land based gambling is likely to lead to online gambling. Crypto gambling is likely to follow this.
As with the USA, the situation could change over time. It’s important to check to see what the rules are right now. Bitcoin gambling might not be allowed in Japan at the moment, but it could be very soon.
Bitcoin Gambling around the World
The state of Bitcoin gambling around the world very much depends on the attitude to cryptos in each country. If a country is accepting of crypto, then it’s likely to allow cryptos to be used. Of course, this doesn’t apply to countries where gambling isn’t allowed at all.
This is why you should always check the laws of the country where you reside. Before you begin to play, see which regulators operate in your jurisdiction. Once you have this information, you will be able to find out if crypto gambling is legal in your country.
What if it’s not Legal?
There are ways around this, but obviously it’s not recommended that you carry them out. If you use a VPN, for example, you may be able to get around the laws in your country. However, if you have any issues with the casino you use, you won’t be covered.
In this case, you have three choices. The first is the riskiest. This is finding an online casino that allows you to play, even if it’s not legal in your country. These are obviously rare, and trustworthy ones are even rarer. If there are any of these around then you will be able to find them in our casino reviews. We’re always honest about how trustworthy an online casino is. Just remember, it might be in their terms and conditions that players who play in illegal countries might have winnings withheld. Make sure that you check before playing to ensure you are covered and safe.
The second is to wait until it’s legal in your country. This is probably the safest and cheapest, but could obviously be an indefinite wait. If you really want to play with Bitcoin or other cryptos, this could leave you waiting for a long time. It’s important to keep checking so that you are aware when it is legal.
The final is the most expensive. Just move to a country where you can play using cryptos. This is obviously an extreme solution and not one that anyone should take seriously. However, if you are thinking of emigrating to a new country, it could be an aspect you take into account when choosing your new country to live. It shouldn’t be an important aspect obviously, but if two countries are really hard to separate, this might be one of the smaller aspects that you use to help you choose.