Is Bitcoin Gambling Legal?

The legality of gambling with cryptocurrencies comes down to the operators as well as the jurisdiction you are playing from.

Is Crypto Gambling Legal
Is Bitcoin Gambling Legal?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been widely used in the crypto gambling industry. Adding the market capacity of the top 22 cryptocurrencies used in online crypto casinos results in more than 150 million dollars.

Given the market cap, is crypto gambling legal? We answer that question in this article as we look at the usage and lawfulness of cryptocurrencies in casino games, and more specifically, the legality of bitcoin casino sites.

We are not lawyers. We do not know your situation. Always consult with a local lawyer in your jurisdiction for formal legal advice. This content must not be taken as professional legal advice. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Can I Gamble With Bitcoins?

Is Bitcoin gambling legal in your jurisdiction? Various countries and their territories have their own regulations regarding the use of Bitcoin and other crypto coins in gambling sites, which we will discuss in detail.

Bitcoin Gambling in the United States

The use of Bitcoin throughout the US is legal and is considered as a currency by the IRS in terms of taxable transactions. When it comes to using Bitcoin for gambling games, there are no direct laws that make cryptocurrency-gambling illegal or are allowed.

As long as an individual is not using Bitcoin for any legal transactions, such as the case of a man arrested by ICE agents for laundering money, cryptocurrency is allowed in gambling sites that accept them. Only four states allow their residents to play on online gambling sites.

Delaware was the first state to allow online gambling in 2012 as long as residents play in approved online casinos. Following Delaware in legalizing online gambling, is Nevada which is home to the WSOP poker tournament. Allowing online gambling in Nevada is the result of overturning the Federal Wire Wager Act. New Jersey looked to tap into the gambling market by allowing online casinos in 2013. In Pennsylvania, the state office modified its gambling laws that allow regulated casino sites to operate within the state.

Bitcoin Casinos in the United Kingdom

Gambling with cryptocurrency is more flexible in the UK with the United Kingdom Gaming Commission (UKGC) acknowledging the digital currency. UK residents can use Bitcoin and other crypto coins in UKGC licensed gambling sites. Licensed online gambling sites are expected to comply with the organization’s standards on anti-laundering practice, problem gambling awareness, and much more.  

While cryptocurrency gambling sites are regulated, digital transactions are not. UKGC cautions any online gambling patrons when using digital currency. Officials are warning people of the risks involved in the currency such as transactions being permanent and irreversible. Other risks also include the incredible fluctuation of the cryptocurrency price since there is no central agency controlling it.

The UK government office has been working on regulating cryptocurrency since 2015. In 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released its Cryptoasset Consumer Research Note that can help the organization find the effect of cryptocurrency on UK consumers.

Bitcoin Gambling in the Rest of the World

In Malta, the use of cryptocurrencies in gambling sites is not as open as in the UK. The Malta Gaming Authority licensed casinos do not accommodate cryptocurrency deposits despite the popularity of Bitcoin. Officials within the MGA are working on allowing licensed casinos to accept crypto-assets through the Sandbox Framework Initiative.

Gibraltar takes an open stance on cryptocurrency in 1998 when the Gibraltar Gambling Commission (GGC) allows crypto gambling sites. Online Bitcoin gambling in the country is possible thanks to the Digital Ledger Technology (DLT) Regulatory Framework. Licensed casinos are still required to follow specific guidelines set by the organization such as providing accurate and factual information to customers.

Other countries accepting Bitcoin are increasing such as Hong Kong, which set its cryptocurrency regulation in 2020. Cryptocurrencies are complicated to regulate since some are classified as non-securities, allowing them to enter the gray area of the law. With the digital currency regulations, Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission opens the door to the country’s cryptocurrency gambling market.

be wary of crypto-gambling
Be wary of crypto-gambling. Really.

Are Crypto Casinos Licensed and Regulated?

Rules for cryptocurrency gambling vary across different territories and the agencies that regulate every gambling site within their scope. Here is a quick summary of the rules of popular territories.

JurisdictionRegulatory Background
United StatesOnline gambling with Bitcoins is available only in select states. Playing in offshare gaming sites are not allowed
United KingdomEvery UKGC licensed casino can transact with Bitcoins with the regulation office deeming the digital currency being equivalent to cash.
MaltaMGA prohibits its licensed casinos to accept cryptocurrency until the office found the means to regulate it.
Isle of ManIsle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) allows its licensed online gambling operators to accept cryptocurrencies as Convertible Virtual Currencies (CVCs).
SwedenNot only is Sweden allowing cryptocurrencies among its licensed casinos, the country even created its digital currency in the form of E-krona.
Brief summary of the crypto gambling licensing and regulations for common jurisdictions.

KYC

Each regulation offices make sure its licensed casinos are following their respective rules when handling cryptocurrencies. One example is the Know Your Customer (KYC) policy that requires patrons to verify their identity when creating an account. KYC rules allow authorities to track suspicious transactions and prevent money laundering through cryptocurrencies. While every territory has control over the casino’s operation and their way of advertising their business, no regulation office can control cryptocurrency transactions.

Transaction Oversight

Bitcoin and most cryptocurrencies do not have a central office controlling all transactions. No player or office can reverse any payment if they happen to send their digital coins to the wrong address. Prices also fluctuate daily where a player might double their winnings in one day or lose half of it within a week.

Crypto Gambling Is Still The Wild West

Casino players should be wary of using Bitcoin since crypto-gambling regulations are still the wild west of online gambling. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by verifying the authenticity of an online casino and its license. Your funds are still secure if it is with a licensed operator, who can compensate you for funds lost due to an error on their side.

Here are the five most popular crypto casinos.

1. Stake

  • Software Provider: Betsoft, Habanero, Spinomal, Evolution Gaming, Quickfire
  • Accepts: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple, TRON, Ethereum

From slot machines to roulette, Stake has a rich selection of gambling games from many reputable casino software providers. Stake even offers original gambling games such as Plinko, Wheel, Blue Samurai, and Slide. You can even find a dedicated sportsbook section that covers popular sports such as the NCAA and UEFA games.

2. Fortune Jack

  • Software Provider: Playson, Yggdrasil, MicroGaming, NetGame
  • Accepts: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Monero, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, ZCash

One of the long-running online casinos that accepted Bitcoin is Fortune Jack, which offers more than 1,000 slot games from renowned software providers. One of the site’s highlights is its provably Fair games such as Dice, Stairs, HiLo, and Keno. Fortune Jack also offers many live games from Authentic, BetGames TV, Evolution Gaming, and Pragmatic Play LC.

3. BitStarz Casino

  • Software Provider: Amatic, Booming Games, EGT, Endorphina, GameArt
  • Accepts: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin

BitStarz is one of the reputable casinos with more than 2,900 games, including slots with progressive jackpots. Customer support is one of the online operator’s strengths where the people behind the website respond to any concerns on the site and attempts to fix them if possible. You can find many value-added promotions on BitStarz such as their welcome packages and seasonal events.

4. mBit Casino

  • Software Provider: BGaming, NoLimit, Endorphina, Betsoft Gaming, Spinomenal
  • Accepts: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, Tether

From live casino games to progressive slots, mBit Casino has its base covered with more than 2,000 games. Cryptocurrency members get the most out of their first deposit many bonuses and free spins. mBit Casino also offers unique tournaments that reward players with the most points earned from playing qualified games such as slots.

5. 7Bit Casino

  • Software Provider: Betsoft, SoftSwiss, Ezugi, Amatic
  • Accepts: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin

All the latest games of popular software providers make their way to the 7Bit Casino lineup. Part of its selection of games include ones with provability fair systems that let you verify genuine random results. 7Bit Casino sets itself apart with its VIP club, which offers cashback on bets lost as well as free spins each Monday of the week.

VPN & Anonymous Transactions

Strict countries that limit online gambling sites to their residents use a geographical IP blocker that prevents anyone living within the territory to access these websites. US residents are one of the groups that cannot visit any offshore sites due to the strict gambling regulations in most states. Even those living within Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania that allow online gambling such as Delaware can only access approved gambling sites.

Another roadblock is money with credit-card and online payment companies setting restrictions in sending or receiving payments from gambling sites. Bank Australia is one of the notable examples, which no longer accepts deposits or withdrawals made among gambling sites in 2020. Citibank and PayPal are the earliest payment companies that also block payments made among online gambling operators.

Fortunately, there are ways to get over the two roadblocks. VPN is the first one that allows players within restricted countries to bypass any geographical restrictions by hiding their geographical IP.

Cryptocurrencies can help you get past the payment restrictions. You can easily buy Bitcoin and other crypto coins without revealing your name or other personal identification. Depositing and withdrawing cryptocurrencies among Bitcoin casinos can also be done anonymously while having a VPN service active.

The regulations and the legality of gambling with cryptocurrencies come down to the operators and their business procedures, as well as the jurisdiction you are playing from. Remember that no office or authority can control the value or transaction of Bitcoin and other crypto coins (that’s the whole point with cryptocurrencies, after all). Despite the risk, digital currency provides players within strict countries to play slots, poker, blackjack, table games, and other gambling attractions.