Bitcoin casinos have become more and more common over the years. Many gaming sites now accept the world’s most-popular cryptocurrency.
However, real money Bitcoin casinos online don’t typically operate in regulated markets. Instead, they often serve states and countries that don’t regulate online gaming.
If you live in one of these unregulated markets, you may wonder if Bitcoin casinos are even legal. That said, I’ll discuss more on the relationship between gaming sites and Bitcoin (BTC) along with whether such casinos are legal and safe.
Why Do Online Casinos Accept Bitcoin?
Mobile casinos used to strictly rely on credit cards, e-wallets, bank transfers, wires, and/or prepaid cards. Now, however, many also look to Bitcoin when it comes to banking. You can see the main reasons why gaming sites or so high on BTC below.
No Third Party Involved
When it comes to traditional payment options and online casinos, a third party is always involved. This institution has a large degree of control over whether or not your deposits go through.
If you’re using a credit card, for example, then the issuing bank or credit card network could reject your casino deposit. Likewise, an e-wallet or wire service could also say no.
Such rejections are common in unregulated markets. Even when online gaming isn’t technically illegal, banks and credit cards will block transactions just to avoid any small potential for legal drama.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about any of these problems with Bitcoin. BTC is completely decentralized and free from third-party control.
BTC miners are the only other parties involved when it comes to you depositing at casinos. They don’t, however, see what your intended transactions are for. They merely complete the digital work necessary to facilitate your deposits.
Many gaming sites cover deposit fees for players. They want to encourage you to fund your account without worrying about additional charges.
Of course, they don’t necessarily like covering 3% credit card or e-wallet fees. They’d much rather pay as little as possible when handling your deposit charges.
Bitcoin is very helpful in this regard. In most cases, miners take less than 1% of the total transaction fee when performing the work.
Bitcoin Is Legal in Most Countries
Governments can’t take control of the Bitcoin network like they could potentially do with a bank or other financial institution. They can, however, ban their residents from using this coin and other cryptocurrencies.
Luckily, most governments haven’t gone this route. The only countries that ban Bitcoin include Bolivia, China, Columbia, and Ecuador. Russia and Vietnam have placed severe restrictions on BTC.
As you can see, only a small number of nations have taken action against Bitcoin. The vast majority of countries still allow their citizens to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. As a result, online casinos can connect with many players across the globe through BTC.
Are Casinos Breaking Laws by Taking Bitcoin?
No law exists that specifically targets Bitcoin-accepting casinos. Therefore, gaming sites aren’t breaking any laws just by taking BTC deposits.
The only time when Bitcoin casinos are illegal is when online gambling is outlawed. Certain countries and states do ban internet gaming.
China, North Korea, and Russia are among the few nations that prohibit online gaming. Therefore, BTC casinos wouldn’t be legal in these countries.
Assuming a country or state doesn’t ban Bitcoin or mobile gambling, though, then Bitcoin gambling websites are free to serve them.
Bitcoin Casinos Aren’t Necessarily Unlawful in the US
The US presents one of the strangest internet gaming markets. It allows individual states to decide whether or not to allow online gambling.
A couple of federal laws also weigh into the matter. As you’ll see below, though, they don’t necessarily prohibit Bitcoin casinos.
The UIGEA Doesn’t Ban Online Gambling
Signed into effect in 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is the closest thing to a US internet gaming ban. It prohibits gambling sites from accepting payments where doing so is illegal.
Most states don’t deem online gaming illegal. Therefore, the UIGEA doesn’t technically ban internet gambling. Instead, it just makes things harder on online casinos based in places like Antigua and Costa Rica.
Most banks and other financial institutions won’t work with unregulated gaming sites due to the UIGEA. However, mobile casinos have found a workaround through Bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s decentralized nature prevents banks from having any control over it. As a result, BTC casinos can deal directly with their customers.
The Wire Act Is Ambiguous
The Wire Act is the other federal law that deals with online gambling…or does it? The Wire Act is a dated piece of legislation that isn’t entirely relevant today.
Signed into effect in 1961, it outlaws accepting illegal bets through wire communications. It was mainly aimed at preventing organized crime from expanding their unlawful sports betting empires.
Some politicians would like to apply the Wire Act to online gambling. However, this law doesn’t seemingly have the necessary language to outright ban internet gaming.
Many States Don’t Have Laws Concerning Online Gaming
Some states have already regulated internet gaming, including Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, and West Virginia. The vast majority of other states, though, don’t take a stance on internet gaming.
Instead, they treat it as an unaddressed gray area. Bitcoin casinos feel much more comfortable serving these states.
Washington and Louisiana are among the few states that do ban mobile gaming. As long as BTC casinos avoid these places, then they’re not technically violating US laws.
Follow the Laws in Your Respective State/Country
The best way to stay on the safe side regarding Bitcoin gaming sites is to know the laws in your respective state. If you live outside of the US, then you’ll definitely want to know your country’s online gambling laws.
Again, most states in the US don’t have a stance on iGaming. They’re more concerned about brick-and-mortar gambling.
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t assume that this is the case where you live. If you’re unsure on the gambling laws surrounding your particular state, then you can check out this guide.
BTC Casinos Restrict Some States & Countries
Bitcoin casinos can police themselves when necessary. If they see that a certain state or country bans online gaming, then they’ll restrict those states/countries from using their casino.
You can quickly find out if the casino accepts your state/nation by visiting their terms and conditions. Here, you should see a list of restricted countries and states.
Pertaining to the US, Kentucky, Utah, Washington, and Washington D.C. are among the most-common restrictions. BTC gaming sites will prohibit additional states if they feel it necessary.
Again, a good practice involves visiting the terms and conditions right away. This way, you can see if the Bitcoin casino will accept your play before wasting much time on the site.
Could You Be Arrested for Playing at a Bitcoin Casino?
In most parts of the globe, you stand almost no chance of being arrested for playing at BTC casinos. This is even the case if you live in countries that ban online gaming.
Malaysia, for example, prohibits any type of gambling. Nevertheless, they haven’t arrested a single person for mobile gambling alone.
If you live in a highly restrictive country, though, then you could be arrested for playing at a BTC casino. China and North Korea, for example, might jail you for such an offense.
Everything just depends on where you live. But outside of extreme circumstances, you’re probably not going to get arrested just for depositing and playing at a Bitcoin gaming site.
Bitcoin casinos feature an ambiguous legal status across much of the world. Nevertheless, you’ll likely be able to play at them without any hassles.
BTC gaming sites tend to operate in grey markets. This way, they aren’t technically breaking any laws by serving a particular state or country.
Nevertheless, you should always look into your jurisdiction’s laws. This way, you don’t have to take any chances and can enjoy online gaming without any fears.
Assuming you live in a grey market, then Bitcoin is the perfect banking option. It enables you to place deposits and withdrawals without dealing with a third party. That said, BTC is great for when you’re tired of deposit rejections from banks and credit card processors.