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UK Gambling Commission Says Yes To Bitcoins

By: Joan Peppin, Tuesday August 30th 2016
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Bitcoin is the latest currency at online casinos. It offers several advantages. It is completely digital, has global access, is free from national regulation and can be traded with complete anonymity. There are some disadvantages as well. It is more volatile than other currencies because of limited supply and does not have official recognition. So far the only online gambling regulatory jurisdiction that has approved its licensees to accept bitcoins is Curacao. The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission had submitted a proposal for its licensees to accept transactions made in virtual currencies, but acceptance has not been granted so far.

The situation is changing with respect to the second listed drawback, with the UK Gambling Commission declaring that bitcoin is an acceptable payment method. UK licensed online casinos can add bitcoin to the list of currencies available to players in due course. This decision was taken after a series of meetings with industry stakeholders and licensees. The UK Gambling Commission has released its latest updated version of the License Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP), which will take effect on October 31, 2016. Those players interested in checking out the LCCP should read the section that addresses the "cash and cash equivalents, payments methods, and services." This section instructs online casinos licensed by the UK Gambling Commission to implement appropriate policies and procedures concerning the usage of cash and cash equivalents by customers. Digital currencies have been added to the list containing bankers' drafts, cheques and debit cards. The UK Gambling Commission is one of the leading licensing and regulatory authorities. Its accepting bitcoins as a valid payment method for online casinos should pave the way for more players and regulatory bodies giving the go ahead for the digital currency.

However the Malta Gaming Authority is not allowing its licensees to accept bitcoins, at least for now. One reason is that the regulator perceives bitcoins as a risky proposition especially with regards to the technologies that come with it. The other reason is that very few of its licensees have requested bitcoin authorization. However, the Malta Gaming Authority is aware that bitcoin is gaining popularity in the online gambling industry. Therefore they will be keeping tabs on the situation. The regulator does not want to take a positive decision in isolation and is looking to foster a national approach to the digital currency. It will rope in other concerned organisations like the Malta Financial Services Authority, Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and Malta's Central Bank before taking a call.

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