While the Bitcoin craze has settled down after the boom in 2017, online casino sites are still pushing forward to implement deposits and withdrawals via cryptocurrencies. Regulating cryptocurrency gambling is thus proving difficult around the world as authorities struggle to navigate this grey area.
Recent research by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) identified that for regulators, the most pressing issue was cryptocurrency gambling, as well as cross-border online gambling marketing, eSports betting, and foreign regulatory developments.
IAGR’s Gambling Regulation Survey 2018-2019 found that 77% of jurisdictions across the globe struggled to keep criminal activity out of the gambling industry.
Specifically, these jurisdictions experienced difficulties with unlicensed gambling, money laundering, underage gambling, match-fixing, and cheating.
All of which has been further complicated with the introduction of cryptocurrency gambling.
The survey data by IAGR identified several methods that were more effective against illegal gambling overall.
These anti-illegal gambling methods included the implementation of competitive casino and gambling markets and a thorough licensing system.
Effective methods also included ensuring criminal investigation and prosecution, working collaboratively with both national and international regulators and the presence of strong joint initiatives between regulators and law enforcement.
President of IAGR, Paul Newson, said the survey results had shone a light on the common problems and challenges that regulators faced, including differences in policy setting and the selected focus of different regulators.
“Through increased collaboration across [the] jurisdiction, we can advance efficient and effective gambling regulation and inform a collective focus and priority where the risks are greatest.”
Inconsistency Around Cryptocurrency Gambling Regulations
Although many countries are now regulating online gambling, the number of those developing regulations for cryptocurrency gambling is minimal and the waters are still quite misunderstood.
For the most part, this is because cryptocurrency is not considered legal tender under current guidelines, therefore, excluding its use in gambling activities.
The countries with current regulations include Italy, Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom, Belgium, and Greece.
Across the industry, those that are regulating crypto are treating the use of these digital currencies in online casinos or sports betting sites in a very similar way to standard gambling practices.
What is clear in the industry is that more clarity is needed when it comes to cryptocurrency gambling.
Japan is a great example of this, being a country with significantly strict gambling rules for traditional fiat currency and crypto while still having inconsistency in legislation.
Joseph D. Hugh, CFO of Jukebucks, said:
“Although it is very difficult to restrict players who play, the government keeps a close tab on crypto transactions originating from Japan using taxation as an excuse.”
The unclear movements by Japan’s lawmakers continue with Federal law passing in July 2018, allowing physical casinos as ‘integrated resorts’ in the country.
This comes at a time when the pro-casino legislation, as part of the plan for the overall growth of the economy by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has faced scrutiny with the people remaining unwelcoming of cryptocurrency gambling.
Joseph D. Hugh suggested further that tighter cryptocurrency regulations for general use was the way forward and will help support those using crypto for legal applications:
“It is the role of all governments to try to regulate any and all financial activities of its citizens and nobody can blame them except for people who are in the grey and fishy businesses. I strongly believe that dapps [decentralized applications] are here to stay as country boundaries cannot stop people from getting around to them eventually.”
Despite the current regulatory problems, online gambling sites offering the use of cryptocurrency is a trend which will surely continue increasing into the future.