If you want to make sure you’re legally playing at a casino using Bitcoin, your best bet is to stick with online casinos that hold a government-issued license in your state and accept Bitcoin transactions.
Two sectors came out of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever before: Cryptocurrencies and online gambling. Let’s see how Bitcoin and casinos do as a team.
After an initial dip at the very start of the pandemic, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies exploded, seeing unprecedented levels of value and institutional adoption. At the time of writing, the value of Bitcoin is just under $47,000. In the same vein, the online gambling market grew from $64.13 billion in 2020 to $72.02 billion in 2021. Players stuck in their homes during lockdowns were unable to visit brick-and-mortar casinos, so many of them turned to online gambling.
However, the marriage between gambling and cryptocurrencies happened before COVID. The inclusion of cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals on gambling sites has been popular for a while. The main reasons are privacy, transaction speed, and the option to gamble from countries where that’s illegal.
For most people who do not use Bitcoin specifically to circumvent gambling legislation, it remains unclear whether Bitcoin gambling is legal at all, and under which circumstances. This is due to two factors: Non-existent cryptocurrency regulation in some countries, and vastly differing laws between countries that do have some in place.
Here, we’ll go through the confusing legislation and answer the question: “Are Bitcoin Casinos Legal?”
Legal Considerations for Bitcoin Gambling
Before taking an in-depth look into whether Bitcoin gambling is legal in your country, there are two essential aspects to look at beforehand. First, does your country allow online gambling at all? Secondly, does it allow transactions in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
Let’s start with the countries where gambling is entirely illegal. These are Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Cambodia, Qatar, Lebanon, and North Korea. Additionally, China, the Netherlands, and Turkey all prohibit or severely limit online gambling in particular.
In case your country prohibits gambling – online or otherwise – then you pretty much got your answer for online Bitcoin gambling as well. This is precisely why residents of these countries turn to international Bitcoin casinos to circumvent such bans.
When it comes to allowing Bitcoin transactions, the situation is far more complicated. Some countries outright prohibit their citizens from holding or using cryptocurrencies, like North Macedonia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nepal, and Pakistan. Others, like Iran and China, either warn people to stay away from cryptos or prohibit mining operations, while Canada and Russia forbid banking transactions involving cryptocurrencies. In theory, it would be illegal to play at an online Bitcoin casino in all the aforementioned countries.
Where Are Bitcoin Casinos Legal?
Designated laws for Bitcoin gambling are extremely rare. In practice, it’s down to the casino operators and regulators to determine whether you can gamble using Bitcoin. Countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Finland allow cryptocurrency gambling on sites that hold a government-issued gambling license. If the online casino is licensed to operate in your country and accepts Bitcoin deposits, you’re good to go.
In the United States, New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware are the only states where online gambling is legal. Within their borders, you’re free to gamble using Bitcoin in a state-licensed online casino if it accepts this cryptocurrency.
As we said, regulation concerning Bitcoin casinos is pretty scarce. Often, people will make an account on an international casino site, or one located in a different US state. By using Bitcoin exclusively, they can make deposits and withdrawals, and convert said Bitcoin to US dollars (or other FIAT currencies) at a later date if they want to.
However, these edge cases are neither regulated nor strictly legal. At best, they are tolerated or undetectable, due to the anonymity of Bitcoin transactions. If you want to make sure you’re legally playing at a casino using Bitcoin, your best bet is to stick with online casinos that hold a government-issued license in your state and accept Bitcoin transactions. Do note, however, that when exchanging Bitcoin to FIAT currencies, you will probably have to pay taxes for the amount converted.