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UK Gambling Commission to Issue Licences to Bitcoin Casinos
- August 3, 2016 By Oliver Young -
In 2014 we reported that Bitcoin casinos are allowed to operate in Spain, provided that they hold valid remote gaming licences. Now, the UK Gambling Commission has included Bitcoin in the list of currencies that are accepted as online gambling payment methods in the country.
Online casino operators that run Bitcoin casinos will be allowed to offer casino gaming services to UK citizens, provided that they have a valid online gaming licence issued by the Commission. In other words, it is completely irrelevant whether deposits are made in pounds sterling or Bitcoins, the same rules and regulations would apply. Experts claim that this will have a positive influence on the growth of the UK online casino industry.
Digital Currencies Are Now Mentioned in the LCCP
Back in June in 2015 the UK Gambling Commission announced that it has contacted Bitcoin casino operators in order to inform them that Bitcoins are considered ‘money’s worth’ and that if they want to offer services to UK players, they would have to obtain an appropriate licence. So, in a way, Bitcoin gambling was already regulated in the UK.
The UKGC has now updated its list of payment methods that could be accepted by operators which offer cervices in the UK and digital currencies have been added to the list. Bitcoin is the most popular and most frequently called digital currency and this decision upgrades its status and makes it equal with conventional currencies.
The UKGC lists the accepted currencies in its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) and it is said that the change was introduced after continuous talks with licenced companies and other stakeholders. The changes will not have immediate effect though. The new LCCP will be implemented on the 31st of October this year.
Preventing Money Laundering Is One of the Main Goals
In the LCCP it is stated that the operators have to “implement appropriate policies and procedures” when it comes to payments using currency and currency equivalents and Bitcoins and other digital currencies are considered to be currency equivalents, which effectively gives them the same status as the UK pound or any other currencies,
For UK casino players, this means that they will now have more options when it comes to currencies and deposit methods. The main intention of the UKGC was slightly different. Namely, they wanted to eliminate any possibilities for money laundering and other fraudulent activities.
That is the reason why operators are required to show that all related activities are handled in a way which “promotes licencing goals”. The licenced operators are also required to take into consideration all guidelines issued by the Commission.
The decision of the UKGC comes only a month after Sarah Harrison, the current CEO, stated that digital currencies will remain in the focus of the Commission, although no further details were given.