The U.K. Gambling Commission (UKGC) now sees digital currencies such as bitcoin as a cash equivalent that its licensees could accept as a payment method. This is contained in a new version of its Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).
The newly-released document includes changes from recent consultations. Its Section 5 which addresses payment-related issues says:
Licensees, as part of their internal controls and financial accounting systems, must
implement appropriate policies and procedures concerning the usage of cash and cash
equivalents (eg bankers drafts, cheques and debit cards and digital currencies) by customers, designed to minimise the risk of crimes such as money laundering, to avoid the giving of illicit credit to customers and to provide assurance that gambling activities are being conducted in a manner which promotes the licensing objectives."
Licensees were urged to ensure that the policies and procedures are implemented effectively. They should be kept under review and revised appropriately to ensure that they remain valid.
The UKGC’s new LCCP will come into effect on 31 October 2016. Its reference to digital currencies will boost awareness and increased adoption for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin across Great Britain.
Last month, the UKGC’s annual report mentioned its interest in digital currencies. Its CEO Sarah Harrison said in the report that the currencies were among the regulator’s areas of “continuing future focus.”
Using bitcoins for gambling - particularly online - have many advantages over traditional currencies. Bitcoin gaming sites are easy to use and faster as users can sign up with an email address. There are seldom transaction processing fees. It could be a factor as bitcoin gambling has increased over time.
Bitcoin also represents an opportunity for players to make big money in the digital currency. For instance, Erik Vorhees sold SatoshiDice for $11.5 million in July 2013 which many experts cite as the first major bitcoin business buyout.
Some other best known online bitcoin gambling websites are Primedice, NitrogenSports.eu, BitZillions, BitBet and Direct Bet. Some of them do not require downloads or registration or any personal information to use them. Others allow live in-play betting while watching the game. The anonymity of players also plays a vital role in the utilization of these websites. It gives a form of freedom that enables users to open up and embrace the websites.
Other popular digital currencies accepted in addition to bitcoin by some of the websites include ethereum, litecoin, and dogecoin.
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