Understanding Crypto Casinos: Are They Legal & Regulated by the UK Gambling Commission?

Understanding Crypto Casinos: Are They Legal & Regulated by the UK Gambling Commission?

Cryptocurrencies aren’t anything new. Bitcoin was created way back in 2009 at a first traded price of $0.00099 and has since reached highs of over $68,789 per Bitcoin. The dramatic increase in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency values have made some holders a lot of money which has led to the rise of crypto gambling online.

Crypto gambling has become increasingly popular in recent years whether it be playing at crypto casinos or betting on sports. However, many people are still uncertain if gambling with cryptocurrencies is legal in the UK, or if crypto casinos and sports betting sites are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

In this article, we be taking a look at how deposits and withdrawals work with crypto betting sites, the legal implications of crypto gambling in the UK and discuss whether or not the UK Gambling Commission licences crypto betting sites, and what safeguards are in place to protect players.

What are Crypto Casinos and How Do They Work?

Crypto casinos are just like regular online casinos except that they accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment instead of traditional fiat currencies. You’ll find the same range of games available such as slots, blackjack and roulette, along with some crypto-exclusive games. Similarly, with crypto sportsbooks, users can bet on a range of pre-match and live markets for sporting events taking place around the world.

However, it is advised that you have some experience with cryptocurrencies before deciding to play at a crypto casino or betting site. Mainly because the deposit and withdrawal process is somewhat different and requires some knowledge of transferring crypto between different wallets.

We’ll discuss this is more detail in the next section.

Deposits and Withdrawals with Cryptocurrency in Online Casinos

If you’ve had experience with transferring crypto to and from wallets then it’s likely that you’ll find depositing and withdrawing from a crypto betting site relatively straight forward.

Crypto casinos often accept a range of different cryptocurrencies with some of the most popular including Bitcoin, (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP) and others.

Once you have chosen your preferred cryptocurrency, you can simply transfer the desired amount from your digital wallet to the casino’s wallet address. The transaction is usually processed within a matter of minutes.

Withdrawals from crypto casinos follow a similar process.

You can request a withdrawal and provide the casino with your wallet address. The casino will then process the withdrawal and the money will be appear in your wallet, usually on a crypto exchange.

One of the advantages of using cryptocurrency for withdrawals is the speed of the transactions. With traditional payment methods such as withdrawing to your registered debit card, it can take several days for funds to reach your bank account. However, with cryptocurrency, withdrawals are often processed within minutes.

However, it’s important to take into account any transaction fees that may occur. Generally, crypto transactions are considered a cheaper option than using fiat money. This is because they are decentralised with transactions conducted directly between two parties. In the case of online betting, between the player and the casino and vice versa. Thus, eliminating the need for middlemen such as payment processors or banks. Also, there is also no risk of chargebacks when using crypto which are a common problem for online betting sites.

However, some cryptocurrency transactions can include fees which are usually known as “network fees”, “miner fees”, or “gas fees”. These fee amounts will vary depending on the crypto used for the transaction and the amount which is being transferred.

Is Crypto Gambling Legal in the UK?

One of the key questions many people have when it comes to crypto gambling is whether it is legal in the UK. Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t straightforward.

Currently, there is no specific legislation in place that addresses crypto gambling in the UK. However, the UK Gambling Commission, which regulates all forms of gambling in the country, has said that existing gambling legislation applies to all crypto betting sites just like with traditional fiat sportsbooks and casinos.

Whether or not betting with cryptocurrencies is legal in the UK isn’t the main issue. Instead, it’s whether any online casinos or betting sites that accept crypto payments have been able to obtain a licence from the UK Gambling Commission.

Are There Any UK Crypto Casinos or Betting Sites?

Although crypto has been around since the creation of Bitcoin back in 2009, the landscape is still being laid in terms of regulations and usage. The UK Gambling Commission is one of the most strict organisations in the industry and exists to ensure fair play, transparency and to protect players.

As there is a lot of uncertainty around the use of cryptocurrencies, including concerns over money laundering, proof of earnings and anonymity, the UK Gambling Commission has yet to approve a licence to any crypto gambling site.

So, despite crypto betting sites not being technically illegal in the UK, you won’t currently find any available. At least not ones licenced by the UKGC. With anti-money laundering checks being a strict requirement, it’s unlikely that that will change anytime in the very near future.

All of the crypto casinos and sportsbooks that you’ll find online are licenced by Curacao or Malta and although it’s possible that you may be able to sign up with some of these sites, you should consider the risks carefully given that these licences are much easier for companies to obtain compared to from the UK Gambling Commission.

Will The UK Gambling Act be Reviewed?

The UK Gambling Act is a piece of legislation that governs all forms of gambling in the United Kingdom and was introduced in 2005. It sets out the regulatory framework for gambling activities and aims to ensure that they are conducted fairly, transparently, and responsibly.

All gambling operators, which include traditional betting sites and those which accept crypto, must obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission to legally operate in the UK.

The Gambling Commission ensures that gambling operators meet the necessary standards for player protection, fair play, and responsible gambling practices. It also has the power to enforce regulations, investigate and take action against any illegal or non-compliant operators.

Some of the key aims of the Gambling Act are:

  • To provide a safe and secure environment for gamblers
  • Prevent fraud
  • Prevent money laundering
  • Prevent underage gambling
  • To ensure fair and transparent play

Given that the Gambling Commission has continued to imply strict measures over recent years such as the removal of slot bonus buys, disabling auto spins & quick spins and stricter measures on affordability & verification checks, it would be very surprising if they were to approve a licence for a crypto casino or sports betting site given the operator would find it extremely difficult to meet all of the requirements.

Summary

Crypto gambling is still somewhat of a grey area for UK players and until there are regulations set around cryptocurrencies, it will more than likely stay that way.

The UK Gambling Commission has a job of protecting players and it would make no sense to approve licences to crypto gambling sites which would be seen as a step back.

We regularly see betting companies, who do not accept crypto payments, being handed fines for failing to comply with the regulations and standards set by the commission, with In Touch Games Fine being a recent example. A crypto betting site trying to comply to the same standards would find it significantly more difficult, if not impossible.

Currently, if you bet within the UK, and wish to play at an online casino or bet on sports with an operator licenced by the UK Gambling Commission, traditional fiat betting sites such as Bet365, Buzz Casino and others are your only options.

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