The UK’s Gambling Commission has recently made a statement to bitcoin-only gambling websites regarding the legality of their operations as rather than being outside the law, as had been previously suggested, they confirm that the cryptocurrency is actually covered by the UK’s existing gambling legislation.
The Commission will be stepping up its efforts to provide more comprehensive regulation for emerging bitcoin gambling operators and warned them that they must acquire the appropriate licenses or face prosecution. Although bitcoin is not considered legal tender by the UK government, the sites must be properly authorised regardless of which currency is used. Tax authorities have recently stated that bitcoin must be classified as “single purpose vouchers,” which makes transactions involving them therefore liable for sales tax.
The Gambling Commission CEO Jenny Williams, who has recently retired from her position after ten years in the role, disclosed that the organisation wrote to the operators in question “because they were either advertising gambling illegally or illegally offering gambling products to consumers, or both. The Commission neither prohibits nor encourages bitcoin – we are interested only in ensuring the proper regulation of gambling products consumed in Britain”.
She continued to emphasise that the specific currency is actually completely irrelevant, “as all operators need to satisfy themselves, and us, that they can fully meet all our requirements – particularly the requirements that ensure crime is kept out of gambling and consumers are protected.” The Commission confirmed that bitcoin comes under the classification of ‘money’s worth’, therefore any operator offering this facility to gambling customers requires a UK operating license or they are acting illegally.
Bitcoins were discovered earlier this year to be one of the main forms of currency now used in illegal financial dealings, and as a result the UK government has confirmed that they would be increasing the levels of oversight on the digital currency.