The low transaction costs, minimal risk of chargeback, and efficiency of bitcoin have made it a favorite payment system for many people. Add to that the anonymity that it affords. These are arguably the main qualities that have endeared the cryptocurrency to many people, including those in gambling industry. Bitcoin casinos are becoming increasingly popular as the digital currency has helped to remove certain obstacles.
Malta and Curacao are two of the jurisdictions where casino players are able to tap into the benefits bitcoin offers. But many people elsewhere are not as lucky.
Customers in the United States, for example, have been hindered by regulatory hurdles so far. And the status quo does not look like changing soon.
The American gambling industry is being cautious of any action that could dent its gradually-improving public image. It is feared that bitcoin might not help in this regard.
Nevada is the nation’s leading gambling market. The state’s gambling regulators, which exercise significant influence on industry-related policies across the country, are hesitant about giving approval.
“We have looked at digital currencies and do not find them appropriate for use in casino gaming at this time,” Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman AG Burnett told CoinDesk.
Burnett stated that high level of demand for digital currency by operators is needed before considering such. In addition, regulators need to see a clear demonstration of accountability and safety.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board chief said the body’s regulations and statutes have standard monetary units, such as the dollar, as their basis. This makes fiat money indispensable for now. He further noted that significant ambiguity revolves around digital currencies, including bitcoin, and that their multiplicity makes adoption difficult.
However, the NGCB has said casino operators are free to accept bitcoin. The main requirement is that such receipt must not be for gaming purpose.
The permission to accept bitcoin is still good news for the operators. Many of these in the Las Vegas market are diversifying into entertainment and hospitality, away from gaming.
While both regular and online casinos in the US are not allowed to accept bitcoin for gaming, there appears to be online platforms where Americans players can use the currency. An example of such is BitcoinCasino.us.
Some analysts say the US gaming regulators may want to see how well the use of bitcoin in casinos works elsewhere before considering approval.
The safety and accountability considerations of NGCB are not limited to it, however. Some other countries have concerns in this regard as well.
Italian Senator Lucrezia Ricchiuti was reported in February as saying bitcoin gambling sites were being used by the Italian Mafia for money laundering purposes. She called for increased monitoring of these platforms to guard against illegal activities.
Overall, it is expected that more and more bitcoin casinos will emerge, especially online. The low cost of transaction and privacy that bitcoin provides make it an appealing option for many gamers.
Recent reports have it that the domain name Bitcoin.casino was recently bought for $26,000. The purchase, which probably indicates rising popularity of bitcoin casinos, was made by the Florida-based Casino Holding Inc.