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The Complicated Relationship Between the Gambling Industry and Cryptocurrency

As I move into an increasingly digital age it must come as no surprise that a digital currency is now on the rise. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple, and dozens of others, are becoming ever more popular. 

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But spending your cryptocurrencies could be a bit difficult, as there weren’t too many major retailers who had invested in providing the option for their clients. As interest in cryptocurrencies grew, so did the demand for places to spend them, and now big names like Microsoft, Starbucks and Etsy have all started accepting crypto payments for their services.

Cryptocurrencies and Online Gambling

One sector which has readily embraced cryptocurrencies is the online gambling industry. Providers want to make it as easy as possible for players to deposit money in their accounts, so they are eager to offer a variety of payment methods, with cryptocurrencies being the latest option. 

But as with any new innovation, there are good and bad points, which is why the gambling industry will always have a complicated relationship with cryptocurrencies. On the one hand, they seem like perfect bedfellows, but dig a little deeper and the reasons why some major casinos refuse to accept them become obvious. Before using a cryptocurrency casinos, make sure they are safe and regulated.

Advantages

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Virtual funds don’t have the authority of banks, meaning there are no fees to pay.

Paying with cryptocurrencies or using another type of online wallet, keeps your bankroll separate from your bank account, making it easier to manage your finances effectively. Having separate balances means that you’ll never be tempted to spend more than you can afford, and you can keep your winnings to re-deposit if needed. 

If you’re playing from a country where online gambling isn’t explicitly legal, then you might find it difficult to get an online casino to take your currency. Using cryptocurrency is a great way around this problem, as it a universal currency and not linked to a specific country. All cryptocurrency transactions are completely anonymous, so there is no way for casinos, or the authorities, to know which country you are spending from. 

Because cryptocurrencies don’t go through a bank, there are no transaction fees to pay when withdrawing, depositing, or converting currency. This obviously offers the best return on all transactions and 100% of the amount sent will reach its destination. And for those who, for whatever reason, cannot get a bank account, cryptocurrencies offer a way to safely and securely make online purchases.

Disadvantages

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Virtual cryptocurrencies make it difficult for industry to detect and track down money launderers and underage users

Cryptocurrencies are essentially anonymous, which has turned out to be a major headache for the online casino industry. Even if they do detect money laundering activity, there’s no way to trace it back to an individual, so no way to stop it happening again. While many sites require ID authentication to create an account, without having a linked bank account in the same name to validate the claims, the IDs could be stolen or faked. 

Money laundering has been an issue for online casinos for quite some time, and cryptocurrencies only add to the problem. In order to gain a UK casino license, the sites must demonstrate that they are doing everything they can to ensure that they know where the money being deposited in accounts is coming from. ‘Dirty’ money can be wagered at a table, and any winnings become ‘clean’, as they have been legally acquired. To combat this, regulated online casinos ask players for a source of funds, which takes away the anonymity of cryptocurrency and makes them unacceptable to an online casino.

Not knowing for definite who is using the cryptocurrency accounts also has other repercussions for an industry with a strict age requirement. The younger generations are always at the forefront of major technological changes, and while not every under-18 year old is going to be rushing into the cryptocurrency market, there is nothing to stop the determined and technologically-savvy from using cryptocurrencies to get around age limitations on products and services. 

And this is a huge problem for online casinos. To receive a license to operate, online casinos must not allow under aged gambling. Accepting cryptocurrencies makes it too difficult to verify the age of the player or ask for source of funds which is why market leaders like 888 Casino don’t accept cryptocurrencies at their impressive online casino. As one of the most well-respected regulated casinos in the industry, they pride themselves on ensuring their customers are well protected when it comes to their transactions and believe that transparency is key. 

The Future

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and as more and more of our daily interactions and transactions occur online, it makes sense to manage these through a digital currency. The security offered by cryptocurrency transactions is very appealing – their anonymity and the ability to track their transaction history makes them almost impossible to hack, forge or steal – but not all types of tracking and monitoring are necessarily bad. Until there becomes a way to verify that users are over 18, then there continues to be an issue with using cryptocurrency in online casinos.

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Guest Author

Crypto Journalist and Editor of guest articles in CoinPedia. Also, Outreach & Partnerships Manager. Contact me: Partner@coinpedia.org

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