UK-based bitcoin casinos – are they legal?

With the ever-increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies, such as our beloved bitcoin, governments all over the world are trying to analyse the risks of and come to terms with different cryptocurrencies’ rapid infiltration into their nations’ societies. In some countries, where hyperinflation is rife and economic stability seemingly an achievable goal though likelier to happen in a parallel universe (e.g. in Venezuela and Argentina), bitcoin is wholly welcomed, but other countries continue to scrutinise the potential short and long-term effects of an open-arms approach to the cryptocurrency on their economies.

Since September 2013 when there were first discussions on the potential regulation of bitcoin, the UK has been toying with the idea of legalising the cryptocurrency as it’s a trend that has undeniably been catching on extremely fast throughout the Isles. There has been a great deal of uncertainty and scrutiny surrounding the way to go about regulating bitcoin – predominantly on the topic of whether or not taxing should be implemented – and that’s probably the biggest hindrance of its complete and official legalisation to date in the UK.

UK based bitcoin casinos – are they legal?
UK based bitcoin casinos – are they legal?

In 2014 the idea of implementing VAT taxes on bitcoin was briefly considered and then scrapped by the UK, unlike several other EU countries where sales/income taxes have already been imposed on bitcoin, for example in Germany and Bulgaria, but the latest view on bitcoin in the UK that it should be used as a ‘single-purpose’ voucher, which has the potential of carrying value-added tax. Some governments have been much more sceptical about the cryptocurrency and have reacted to its possible integration into the economy with hostility, including Poland, where the concept of bitcoin as a currency was openly rejected in 2014, along with Turkey, where bitcoin is supposedly too high a risk to enter into the local economy. Generally, the diverse characteristics of bitcoin, such as anonymous use, a steady value and decentralisation which all benefit bitcoin casino players, are a worry and a big fat nuisance for governments (for further information on global bitcoin policies, see: Is Bitcoin legal?).

But back to the UK – and the question at hand: the government’s approach to the regulation of bitcoin in the United Kingdom has certainly been cautious and well-though out so far, so well-thought out in fact that the thinking thus continues and no final decision has been agreed on with regards to its legalisation. This means that, until a final regulation system is drafted by the government, then yes, bitcoin casinos are permitted to offer their gambling services in the UK and around the globe, so it is very legal for you to use them from within the Isles. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the UK government pins the situation down and consequently gives bitcoin users a better idea of where they stand, but in the wake of Brexit, this decision is not likely to be too far over the horizon, as bitcoin may well be looked onto with greater optimism and urgency in the coming decade, which is likely to see a steady (if not rapid) decline in the UK’s economy if its doors close to the EU single market.

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