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Cryptocurrencies have gained popularity, and in recent years, the number of casinos that accept this payment form has increased. However, there is an ongoing discussion in the UK about whether or not such casinos should be licensed.
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The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) regulates gaming throughout the country and has strict rules for online casino licensing. Their guidelines include preventing money laundering, ensuring fair gaming, and protecting players’ personal information.
To obtain a license in the UK, crypto casinos, like traditional online casinos, must meet these requirements. However, due to the nature of cryptocurrencies, crypto casinos may encounter a few challenges and clash with the conditions set in place by the UKGC.
Statements from CasinoAlpha, a hub for reviews of UKGC-licensed casinos, indicate that the UKGC conducts stringent financial checks of fund sources, which may be problematic for anonymous digital payments like crypto wallets.
The legality of gambling with cryptocurrency is unclear due to the present Gambling Act’s lack of clarity on the matter. Since the current Gambling Act went into effect in 2005 without being updated, a review of the law is underway.
There are currently no UK-licensed online casinos accepting cryptocurrency deposits or withdrawals; instead, these casinos must obtain licenses in places like Curacao or Malta. Also, the sites must obtain approval from the UKCG and have had anti-money laundering tests performed.
One of the arguments in favor of crypto casino licensing is that the sites are similar to traditional online casinos. The only distinction is that crypto casinos accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies.
Anything related to cryptocurrencies, including how the government might combat money laundering, is a popular topic. The UK Gambling Commission is investigating how the current gambling laws may apply to crypto casinos in the UK. Still, it is unlikely that new crypto-specific rules will be added in the Gambling Act Review.
The regulator could also contend that using cryptocurrencies in gambling could jeopardize player protection. The volatility of these digital assets could result in significant losses for those who store their funds in cryptocurrencies. As a result, the UKGC requested to be involved with all crypto-accepting third-party revenues.
A future Gambling Act review should include all aspects of wagering on casinos in the United Kingdom. This includes traditional sports betting, land-based casinos, and online gambling. Such additions would ensure that adequate player protection is in place and that operators have a defined framework for conducting their business legally.
While some crypto casinos state to offer anonymous and undetectable transactions, the UK Gambling Commission requires all licensed online casinos to verify the player’s identity. This implies that crypto casinos must adhere to the same rigorous KYC and AML regulations as traditional online casinos.
KYC rules require casinos to verify the identities of their customers by seeking government-issued identification documents, such as passports or driver’s licenses. And AML rules require casinos to monitor and report suspicious transactions, such as those involving sizable sums of money or odd activity patterns.
These rules must also be followed by cryptocurrency casinos, which can be challenging. Cryptocurrency’s decentralized and anonymous nature makes it difficult for operators to track transactions and confirm user identities.
The volatile nature of cryptocurrencies also makes regulatory compliance difficult. Crypto casinos must guarantee that their transactions are transparent and secure and cannot be used for illegal activities like money laundering.
Traditional online casinos typically process transactions using payment providers such as eWallets or bank cards governed by financial authorities. In contrast, cryptocurrencies are not overseen by a central bank, making it more challenging to ensure openness and security.
Several crypto casino platforms have attempted to solve this problem by developing their own payment network based on the blockchain. However, regulators struggle to evaluate the safety of these systems because they are often experimental and unverified.
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As a result of the decentralized and volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, some crypto casinos may be hesitant to comply with the UKGC’s stringent regulations.
Some may think that regulatory compliance may violate these principles by players who view cryptocurrencies as a way of bypassing traditional financial systems. Interestingly, this stance is mistaken.
The UK gambling industry is regulated to protect players and prevent problem gambling. Compliance with these regulations is not a denial of decentralization and anonymity of transactions but a necessary measure to ensure the legitimacy and safety of the industry.
As pointed out, crypto gambling in Britain is a gray area. What is known is that no online casino in the UK accepts cryptocurrency directly. Determining where the cash came from would be challenging, so we do not anticipate that the Gambling Act Review will result in new crypto-related legislation. With this occurring this year, the outcome will shortly become known.
In a recent consultation article elaborated by the UKGC concerning blockchain technology, the commission expresses its desire to collect information on how people perceive cryptocurrency-related gambling.
This information will help resolve the question of whether the government should regulate crypto by providing an understanding of how British players use crypto.
We certainly hope the future review of the Gamblign Act will add much-deserved clarification that could help players make the best decisions concerning their gambling journey and be able to decide for themselves whether crypto casinos are worthy of their time and money.
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