Crypto Casinos and Licences

What a time it is for crypto gaming! Crypto casinos continue to grow in number and in popularity, attracting some of the most active players from all over the world eager to try their luck at winning it big in Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies.

No surprise, given that crypto is a form of money or payment with a very low barrier of access. Unlike other digital payment methods that typically require users to have access to banking or card payment systems not easily available in many parts of the world, anyone with an internet connection and a crypto wallet can easily deposit funds and play at crypto casinos in minutes.


Here today, gone tomorrow

In the beginning, much like the players, crypto casino operators were also easily able to put up a site to accept crypto for gaming without the need to form a company or set up a business, as a regular online casino would be required to.

And many did.

From simple dice script and crash game script websites you could buy for under $10 and push live in hours, to whitelabel slot title sites that allowed anyone to offer popular slot games from famous game producers on their own branded casino, a simple search online for crypto casinos will turn up hundreds of sites for you to choose from.

Yet running and managing a crypto casino successfully isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact, many early operators are no longer running today. Whether it’s a case of not being able to turn a profit, or being a victim of unfortunate hacks, crypto casinos suffer from a high rate of failure.

Worse, many that have launched over the years don’t even intend to operate a legitimate operation. The unfortunate reality is the majority of sites still active out there are little more than honeypot traps, taking customer deposits but never paying out.

What does a gambling licence prove?

Bitcoin gamblers may have noticed that some crypto casinos carry or display a gambling licence. So what sets apart a licensed casino from an unlicensed one?

For starters, having a licence indicates that the operator is an actual person that has registered the site as a business and applied successfully for a licence. Simply having a licence suggests that the casino is able to pass the necessary security checks and due diligence process of the licencing authority. This likely means having real people, real companies, and real business models backing the licence.

Secondly, licencing authorities are also known to appoint external parties to verify the applications, while many require periodic checks on the site’s operations to ensure site security and fairness. Of course, for a crypto casino with provably fair mechanisms, gamblers can themselves determine the fairness of the games.

Most importantly, a crypto casino with a licence subjects themselves to the laws and regulations governed by the licencing authority, indicating their intent to operate legally and legitimately. For the user, also means certain levels of protection, such as the right to exercise self-exclusion with support and assistance from the casino itself.

Ultimately, while not necessarily a guarantee of legitimacy, a gambling licence provides an additional assurance for crypto gamblers beyond mere trust.

Which countries issue crypto casino licences?

Today, there are quite a number of countries that have a licencing authority for online casinos. In Europe, you have the UK, Malta, and Belgium as some popular ones, while in Asia, the Philippines and Macao have a long history of licencing. In the Americas, you have some states in the USA and Canada, Curacao in the Caribbean, and Costa Rica in Central America.

As you can tell, some of these are small economies that attract online gambling businesses to diversify revenues but their licences can be no less demanding.

We’ll discuss some of the most common licences you’ll find at crypto casinos.

1. Government of Curacao

This Caribbean nation has close ties with the Netherlands in Europe due to it being a former colony. The Curacao gaming licence is quite extensive, permitting its owner to operate most types of casino games, including lotteries. The wider online gambling industry provides revenue to much of Curacao’s budget; suffice to say, applications for licences don’t have much delays but do require the operator to host a majority of their servers within Curacao territory.

Thanks to a stable political system since independence in 2010, strong economic growth and conducive attitudes to foreign investment and crypto, the Curacao gaming licence is as attractive as it gets.

2. Gibraltar and UK Gaming Commissions

The gaming commissions of UK and Gibraltar are separate, but we’ll talk about them here together as the Gibraltar gaming licence also includes the operator on the UK Gaming Commission white list.

Until recently, Gibraltar also had a low cost of application but now can be quite expensive, so they typically service established traditional casinos.

The UK Gaming Commission is similar in that they tend to serve only big brand licensees but can be even more strict and costly -- and ONLY serve operators that have British clients. Thus, it is quite common for casinos that have global and British customers to hold more than one licence as the British licence is needed to legally serve gamblers accessing their site from the UK.

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a slight misnomer because while you can obtain a licence from them for your crypto casino, there isn’t any Gaming Authority issuing the licence, unlike for Curacao, Malta, or the UK mentioned above.

Essentially, this means that there is no authority to check or perform due diligence on the casino operator. In fact, anyone can pay an annual fee and get this licence. So if you ever visit a crypto casino carrying the Costa Rican licence, just be aware, they never need to be checked for security or fairness.

You owe it to yourself as a crypto gambler to find out as much as you can about a crypto casino before you decide to deposit your crypto there. But hopefully, you understand now that a gaming license from a reputable Gaming Authority does add a layer of assurance for you. 

In the end, an established community of happy gamblers (which you can determine from public reviews on Trustpilot, for example) and longevity speak volumes for a crypto casino thriving in an industry known for its high rate of failure.

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