The expansion of the Internet has created a whole new market for gambling enthusiasts. Additionally, it has paved the way for electronic money. The combination of the two has ultimately resulted in making wagers using digital currencies. The most famous one is also the one that has been on the market the longest. The one we are referring to is Bitcoin. It was established in 2009, and it has been vastly used ever since.
There are numerous online casinos that accept Bitcoin on the Internet, and that number is constantly growing. However, online gambling activities are vaguely regulated in the United States. Adding Bitcoin to that equation only adds to the confusion. In this article, we will elaborate on the subject of gambling with Bitcoin. Also, we will discuss the legality of Bitcoin and the gambling businesses that feature this virtual currency.
The New Legal Frontier
Virtual casinos that have been operating from the rise of the online gambling market until 2006 utilized the US banking system for depositing and withdrawing. However, this practice ceased due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. According to the act, gambling websites are prohibited from transferring money via the banking system. Consequently, gambling operators either left the market or established online casinos that offer cryptocurrencies as a payment method. The vast number of such virtual venues are Bitcoin casinos.
Is Online Gambling Legal: the Players’ Point of View
Online gambling in the United States is generally illegal. Nevertheless, that does not mean that players must not gamble online. How is that so? According to the law that regulates this activity, virtual gambling venues are not permitted to accept bets from the US players. However, players themselves can make wagers. In case the activity proves to be illegal, the operators are the ones that would suffer the consequences, not the players. Given the country’s view of online gambling, Bitcoin gambling sites that operate outside its territory are not illegal.
Bitcoin Gambling: Legal, Illegal, or Not Unlawful?
As for the position Bitcoin gambling assumes in the American gambling law, the authorities consider it legal, illegal, or not unlawful, depending on the state. In this paragraph, we will further explore the threefold status of the activity and elaborate on the matter.
Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware allow their residents to engage in all forms of gambling. That includes the ones that feature Bitcoin as a payment method. Nevertheless, Bitcoin casinos have to ensure that American players they accept are within the territory of the three states.
The state of Washington is the only one that downright prohibits online gambling. It is illegal for citizens of Washington to engage in any online gambling activities. Whether they feature fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies is irrelevant.
Since only three out of 50 states have legally recognized Bitcoin gambling, residents of all the remaining ones must behave according to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. However, the act mainly targets operators and banks, provided they participate in transactions with the purpose of gambling. It is unclear whether a player would face prosecution for disobeying the act.
Nevertheless, we strongly advise you to erase traces of your transactions if you engage in Bitcoin gambling from one of the states that have not legally regulated the activity. You can make deposits by sending your Bitcoins through several channels before they arrive at their final destination — a Bitcoin casino.
Verdict: Partially Legal
Even though Bitcoin gambling seems like a complex topic from the legal point of view, it is actually easily comprehensible. Electronic cash, in general, is fairly new to the gambling market, so the confusion it may create is understandable. However, although the US gambling law leaves many aspects of this activity in obscure areas, the status of Bitcoin gambling is rather clear. The US citizens residing in one of the states that neither allow nor prohibit it have to refer to the UIGEA. Moreover, they ought to leave no traces of engaging in such activities, as we have already stated.