Readers of this site will be well aware of the fact that cryptocurrency casinos – often termed Bitcoin casinos – both exist and are easy to find. You can find plenty of reviews at CoinCodex, which will guide you through the pros, cons and everything in between. However, the big players in the online casino industry and, more importantly, the major regulators are still shying away from embracing cryptocurrency. Despite some significant bodies, such as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), expressing at least an interest in allowing their licenced casinos to accept Bitcoin, it still seems like something that will take a lot of time to bear fruit.
By and large, it doesn’t particularly matter to the average crypto casino player. Many of the games and game providers at crypto sites are similar to the ones you would find at top-rated established sites. For instance, some of the games you find at www.casino.com/nz/slots/, which is run by the global brand, the Mansion Group, can be found at some crypto sites. Although there are some exceptions; notably, it’s tough to find Playtech games on the more niche crypto sites.
Regulatory bodies proving stubborn on crypto
Aside from the choice of games, the question is: Should you care? It’s a difficult question to answer, and one that delves into the existential questions around cryptocurrency more widely. We know that mainstream financial and governmental institutions don’t love cryptocurrency, and yet we are able to trade, buy and sell using crypto without really worrying about what Steve Mnuchin or Donald Trump think about the issue. Crypto casino is fundamentally the same, operating outside of the mainstream, and perhaps people prefer it that way.
However, to say that regulators of betting and gaming don’t like cryptocurrency is something of an understatement: “Bitcoin is not going to happen in New Jersey. It’s not going to happen.” Those words, spoken by David Rebuck, the executive director of NJDGE (New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement), are pretty unequivocal. Why should we care about what some guy in New Jersey says? Because that state is at the forefront of a revolution in online gambling in the United States (since that momentous Supreme Court ruling in 2018). Other significant bodies, notably the UKGC (UK Gambling Commission), have been similarly forthright.
KYC policies play a role in decisions
Part of the issue is transparency. Over the last decade, the big regulatory bodies have changed a lot of the stipulations around casino accounts, requiring players to provide identity and, in some cases, proof of income. Part of it is an effort to combat money laundering and fraud, but the roll-out of KYC (know your customer) policies can go beyond this, looking at the affordability for individual players. We should point out, for fairness, that there is only a small handful of casinos that go down such a route. Regardless, that level of scrutiny doesn’t always match up well to the world of cryptocurrency.
Is there any possible resolution? Sure, but it might take a while. Perhaps the mainstream adoption of something like Facebook’s Libra coin will grease the wheels a little, as would the mainstream adoption of Bitcoin. But these things will take years, not weeks or months, so it’s probably best not to hold your breath. Again, it’s up to the individual player whether they feel it’s significant or not, but there are certainly benefits in terms of consumer rights, protections and security when playing under the wing of the major gaming regulators. For crypto casino players, that won’t be possible for quite some time.