Crypto Gambling Legitimacy: Are We There Yet?

Online gambling and crypto

It’s no secret that the online gambling industry hasn’t stopped growing over the past 20 years. Despite a period of resistance in the late 1990s when the first casinos opened their doors electronically, and initially negative projections for an industry steeped in brick-and-mortar history, online gambling has grown at pace, and stands at a global value of over 260 billion US dollars in 2019 (Statista).

The global Covid-19 pandemic, which in 2020 triggered waves of lockdown periods all over the world, only served to drive even more gamblers to the only other outlet as physical casinos remained shuttered for months, essentially proving that digital gaming sites were no longer an alternative but a necessity to keep access to the industry alive.

Wider access and better privacy

Access becomes even more important to discuss when you consider that gambling remains quite restrictive in many jurisdictions, especially in most Asian countries, where banks and regulatory authorities make it difficult to deposit as little as $5 in online casinos -- even though it could be legal, it results in temporary blocks and enhanced, time-consuming, regulatory checks.

This is where cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have made it far easier for people to access gaming markets, especially when most crypto-accepting casinos are happy to accept deposits almost immediately, allowing gamblers to play while subsequent checks are being made in the background.

Another advantage of crypto use in gambling is the added level of privacy that gamblers enjoy. Depositing with a credit card or bank transfer, for example, may leave a trace of their hobby on their statements -- unnecessarily informing their bank that they gamble. While the Bitcoin blockchain is publicly accessible, private wallets aren’t easily associated with individuals if used with the correct privacy precautions. In this way, crypto can be used to gamble while enjoying added levels of privacy not afforded by conventional payment methods.

With adoption comes recognition

Although crypto was, in the past, associated with illicit activity, including illegal gambling, the same cannot be said in recent years as crypto’s standing has significantly improved mainstream gambling.

One of the most visible examples of this can be seen in the multi-billion dollar sports industry, where crypto-based or crypto-accepting casinos and sportsbooks are now prominently displayed on jerseys and stadium billboards of global brands in football (soccer), basketball, and even mixed martial arts.

From European footballing giants like PSV and MMA champions like Israel Adesanya, to American e-sports teams like Evil Geniuses, crypto casinos and sportsbooks are sponsoring sporting teams, arguably more prominently these days than traditional casinos.

As more and more jurisdictions recognize cryptocurrency as legitimate assets, issuing valid remittance and/or trading licenses to exchanges and payment providers, modern online casinos now offer crypto payment alternatives right next to traditional ones for their users.

For casinos like CryptoGames, the sole use of cryptocurrencies actually offers unique benefits when compared to gambling with fiat:

  • There are no conversion calculations, fees or commissions for deposits.
  • There are no settlements: deposits are instant, and withdrawals need no “cooling off” period.
  • There is less financial finality and security burden, at least for highly-secure networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

This makes its crypto-only operations no less legitimate -- many crypto casinos are now fully licensed and, therefore, run a regulated operation. Crypto.Games, for instance, operates with a internationally-recognized Gaming License issued by the Government of Curacao and has to abide by all the regulations associated with that jurisdiction, including anti money laundering (AML) compliance.

Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that many jurisdictions have yet to specify the regulatory requirements when it comes to accepting payments with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, so additional licensing and rules may not apply in many places yet, and crypto may not be subject to the same generic financial regulations.

But with recent developments like El Salvador legally recognizing Bitcoin as legal tender, the situation may also shift in the near future, and it should be expected that legislation for cryptocurrency gaming will take huge strides forward in many countries.

There may have been a time in the past when crypto casinos and crypto gambling may have been viewed as secretive and below the radar. But today, crypto gambling is legitimate for most people, as long as they take care that in the country they reside in:

  1. Online gambling is not banned;
  2. Cryptocurrencies are not forbidden; and
  3. Crypto gambling is permitted.

Remember, apart from the casino’s responsibility to comply with the requirements of its Gaming License, it is also solely the responsibility of individuals that are playing in these online casinos to ensure that this activity is not prohibited for them. Like any activity you wish to partake in, it is always advisable to check, understand and agree to the full Terms and Conditions of the crypto casino.

As awareness of the benefits of crypto gambling become clearer, alongside growing adoption and recognition through legislation, the number of gambling operators including crypto betting options will only grow in the future.

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