Anyone who might question the continued growth of the online gambling industry has surely been living under a rock. The reality is this industry is one of the fastest growing industries on the Internet.
In light of this massive expansion that’s spanning the entire globe, there’s a number of issues with which every nation is having to deal. Most of the issues revolve around the legalities of online gambling from one jurisdiction to the next. These issues are sure to have effects on online operators like Casumo. It’s notable that the US, one of the world’s largest consumers of gambling products, is seeing a number of states that have moved forward with the legalization of online casino gambling and online sports betting for its residents. Given the huge tax revenue incentives for the states associated with such legislation, it’s a good bet every state will eventually allow online gambling operations within its respective states.
Cryptocurrency and the Online Gambling Industry
Thanks in large part to some amazing advancements in the world of technology, there’s a new issue for each nation to contemplate in the online gambling realm. That new issue involves the use of cryptocurrency as a legal means of funding gambling accounts. Cryptocurrencies are managed through a process known as “blockchain technology.”
Here’s a brief definition of blockchain technology: Blockchain is a distributed database or ledger spread over a network of electronic devices where records of cryptocurrency transactions are kept, away from revision or from tampering.
By definition, this means of exchange is making national governments nervous because it eliminates the middleman (banks, credit card processors) and the transparency the taxing agencies like to see for accountability. At a broader level, each country is working to determine the legality of using digital currency by its residence.
At a lower level, the online gambling industry is wrestling with the same issues. Moving forward, online gambling will likely be looking at Bitcoin as a favorite casino banking option because of the low fees, fast transactions and the anonymity offered by the blockchain technology. Let’s take a quick look at where each major gambling jurisdiction currently stands on the issue cryptocurrency for the online gambling industry.
UK – In the UK, all gambling operations fall under the rules and regulations set forth by the UK Gambling Commission. The first and most important requirement for online gambling operators wishing to provide services within the UK is the proper licensing provided by the UKGC. To date, any online gambling operator that holds the required licensing is free to accept cryptocurrency as a mode of banking.
Australia & New Zealand – Overall, Australian online gambling operations are governed by the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA). Under said law, online casino gambling operators are not permitted to operate within the country. However, online sports books and race books are legal. There are no laws that prohibit Australian residents from using offshore services in countries that will permit such participation. It’s further noted that most Australians can use cryptocurrencies when the accommodating jurisdiction permits it. The one caveat is Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) has issued an informal ban against the use of cryptocurrencies by its residents. In New Zealand, residents fall under the Gambling Act of 2003, which states residents are permitted to gamble offshore. The legality of using cryptocurrencies is therefore remanded to the offshore gambling jurisdiction.
US – As noted, the legalization of online gambling in the US has a long way to go. With only 3-4 states currently on board with such activities, the notion of using cryptocurrencies to fund gambling accounts is yet to be tested. However, the 2006 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) made clear that banking by electronic means is illegal. With that said, it’s safe to assume cryptocurrencies in not currently a legal means of funding online gambling accounts.
Canada – Canada’s laws closely resemble those as set forth by Australia and New Zealand. There appears to be no regulations in place that would disallow Canadian residents from using cryptocurrencies to fund offshore gambling accounts so long as the proper gambling jurisdiction finds it legal.
In summary, we can expect to see a lot of changes in the coming months/years related to both online gambling and the use of cryptocurrencies. For now, it is the responsibility of each prospective online gambler to understand the laws in the country where their favorite gaming sites are licensed.