UKGC Licensees Can Now Legally Accept Bitcoin
The UK Gambling Commission is the main regulatory commission for online gambling in the UK. This means that the decision it makes will affect how online and offline casinos can operate in the UK only with their permission. This, therefore, makes them powerful in this sector in the region. Fortunately, a recent move by the commission should be a sign of good news for Bitcoin enthusiasts. They have decided to accept Bitcoin in UK casinos as payment.
Bitcoin has quickly become a valuable part of the online economy. Launched in 2009, it has exploded in popularity. The problem is that a lot of this popularity is because it can be used to evade regulations on international money transfers. This has resulted in Bitcoin being considered being a bit on the wrong side of the law.
It also hurts Bitcoin’s reputation that it has been used for a lot of shady activities like black market purchases and money laundering. This meant that a lot of legitimate governing bodies have been resistant to accepting it, even when it has managed to garner a lot of supporters behind it.
A new time
This year, though, the LCCP of UK Gambling Commission has been modifed to better reflect the changing times. The LCCP is the License Conditions and Codes of Practice and it holds the rules and regulations that a UKGC licensee should follow if they want to operate in the UK. After the latest round of consultation with many licensees, the UK Gambling Commission released its latest version of LCCP. They plan to fully implement it by Oct. 31, 2016.
The most important part of the LCCP for Bitcoin is Section 5.1, which states:
“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.”
The main change in this section is that it directly mentions “digital currencies.” In the past, it did not mention it. The change was done to reduce the risk of money laundering activity using Bitcoin. However, this change also directly acknowledges the existence of cryptocurrency. The UKGC has been increasingly concerned about the spread of digital currencies and this latest move means that they are finally tackling the issue head on.
Hopefully, other regulatory commissions follow suit. Currently, only Curacao and the UK have allowed digital currencies as a means of payment in online casinos. The Isle of Man is considering it, though, but there are also countries like Malta that are worried about the move.
With UKGC’s support of Bitcoin, online casinos in UK can be expected to finally welcome players who wish to play Bitcoin games. These games, whether online slots, table games, or any other titles in iGaming, will soon become more accessible to players worldwide, especially those who use Bitcoin.