Not all that long ago, bitcoin had a reputation as something of interest for the tech geeks and criminals of the online world. It was an interesting side-note in a world of ever-expanding tech ideas, but little did most foresee just how quickly bitcoin was about to take off.
Bitcoin went through more than a few extreme fluctuations in value relative to “real” currencies, but it never quite managed to fold outright. Bitcoin just continued humming along and picking up users along the way. Eventually, someone decided to start a bitcoin gambling site. It’s difficult to determine which was the first, but the first one I and many others ever stumbled across was SatoshiDice.
Seeing the success of SatoshiDice and general uptake of bitcoin, a few US-facing gambling websites opted to begin accepting deposits and paying withdrawals via bitcoin transactions. Unfriendly gambling laws have been causing all kinds of payment processing headaches, but bitcoin operates outside any government’s banking system. Thus, we got the first full-fledged bitcoin casino sites.
Licensed Online Casinos Adopting Bitcoin
This past July, the UK Gambling Commission updated its Licensing Conditions and Codes of Practice to include bitcoin as a “cash equivalent” that may be accepted by licensed operators. Soon after, NetBet became the first UK-licensed operator to begin accepting bitcoin payments. It is probably only a matter of time before other online casinos follow suit.
The thing to remember is that UK operators serve a wide range of countries just like casino online mobile malaysia. While a gambler from the UK might see bitcoin listed as a deposit option and think “that’s neat,” a Russian gambler might actually rely on bitcoin due to the government imposing restrictions on all other payment methods.
Now there is word that the Malta Gaming Authority may be the next regulator to take up the bitcoin issue. As more regulators get on board, it will only speed up the adoption of bitcoin for gambling.
Of course, challenges remain. Some nations have reacted to bitcoin with hostility and suspicion to the idea of a decentralized currency free from the manipulation of government bureaucrats. China, Italy, Iceland, Russia and a handful of other countries have either banned bitcoin outright or seem to be strongly considering doing so.
The thing is, bitcoin casinos are going to be very difficult to regulate. The currency itself is beholden to no government, and its staunchest supporters tend to be very privacy-oriented. If a gambling website in one country is happy to accept bitcoins from, say, a Russian gambler, the Russian government is going to have a hard time stopping that from happening. There will be setbacks but over the long run, I believe bitcoin gambling is just getting started.