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Licensed Bitcoin Casinos

Play at a regulated crypto casino

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Since the emergence of cryptocurrencies, bitcoin has become an increasingly popular preference for casino users. Countless existing casinos as well as new ones now support BTC as a payment method, but not all of these are licensed entities. 

Licensed bitcoin casinos operate under the oversight of regulators in various jurisdictions. Though these regulators have different regulatory requirements, they all have one thing in common. They require casino operators to abide by certain set rules that can protect their customers.

Typical regulatory requirements cover sensitive aspects such as security, software and ethical practices. Consequently, a licensed entity should take the safety of its users’ personal data, funds and identity seriously. For instance, most regulators require casino operators to segregate their players’ funds, have sufficient finances and have no links with crime.  

A licensed bitcoin casino operator should also use legal software from reputable providers, offering games that are random and fair. It should also uphold ethical practices in all aspects of its operation. In case you have a complaint against a licensed bitcoin casino, you can take legal action against it and the regulators in its jurisdiction will address your grievances. 

Clearly, the importance of gambling at licensed bitcoin casinos cannot be overemphasized. But you may be wondering that since cryptocurrencies are said to operate in legal grey zones, how can a bitcoin casino be licensed?

Top 5 Licensed Bitcoin Casinos

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Are Bitcoin Casinos Licensed?

There is a common misconception that bitcoin gambling is unlicensed. But the truth of the matter is that the licensing of bitcoin gambling has been around for ages. 

Admittedly, the use of bitcoin does provide a lot of leeway for business operators in the casino sector. For instance, such a business can process all payments internally. This eliminates the need for third parties like merchant banks, which would necessitate the acquisition of a gambling license. 

But while a gambling license is not a prerequisite for payment processing, it is necessary for reputable casino operators. With regard to payments, they would want to safeguard spare funds in a secure environment and they cannot do so without licensing. 

They would also want to have rights protection from independent authorities, which again, requires valid licensing. Bitcoin casinos need licensing in order to offer gaming content from the top software providers in the sector. Having a license enhances a bitcoin casino’s reputation, creates player loyalty and serves as an important marketing tool. 

Therefore, having a valid license from a gaming authority is an essential tool for plenty of reasons. This explains why reputable gambling regulators in various jurisdictions issue operational licenses to casinos supporting the use of bitcoin. By doing so, they indicate their acceptance of the responsibility to oversee the operations of online casinos.

The most common bitcoin gambling license is the Curacao eGaming license. Others include Gibraltar, Malta and the UKGC. Let’s learn more about these and other regulatory authorities in the sector.

Best Bitcoin Casino Licenses

UK Gambling Commission

In view of the high level of gambling regulation in the UK, the country instituted the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in 2014. 

Prior to its inception, specific sites licensed to operate within ‘white-listed’ areas could accept players from the UK. But since 2014, all operators wishing to serve the UK market have to hold a license from UKGC. As one of the most respected gaming authorities in the world, operators who get its license are considered highly reputable.

On its site, the UKGC stipulates that any business offering gambling services using digital currencies in the UK must hold a license. Back in 2013, the UK government had proposed the exemption of bitcoin businesses from licensing and regulation. Their reason for this was that virtual currency is not legal tender. 

But starting in 2016, the UKGC considers bitcoin as a cash equivalent or alternative, therefore offering regulatory protection for users in the cryptocurrency industry. Other cash equivalents include credit/debit cards and wire transfers among other payment options. According to its regulations, players qualify for protection on the condition that they only use bitcoin casino sites that the commission approves. 

Curacao eGaming License

As mentioned above, this Caribbean island is one of the most popular licensing jurisdictions for crypto casinos. Online gambling legislation here dates as far back as 1993 and the country considers this as a central sector. 

Since 2002, the Curacao eGaming License Authority has had the mandate of licensing the cryptocurrency gambling industry. It has now since grown to have one of the largest license demands globally. 

One of the reasons for its popularity is the fact that it makes its requirements manageable. The essence of this is to ensure that even small startups can meet the demand and get a license. Furthermore, sub-licensing here is cost-effective. Licensed operators under its purview are required to use hardware located within a special zone known as the e-zone. Here, they get some of the competitive tax rates in the world such as 2% corporate income tax, 2% on net profits and 0% on gross incoming wagers.

For bitcoin casinos, this regulator undertakes a thorough investigation before licensing and conducts regular audits thereafter. In order to encourage growth in the sector, it provides financial and technical support to the entities under its oversight.

Curacao Licensed Bitcoin Casinos

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TheBitcoinStrip.com thoroughly reviews the casinos listed on this website as a means to provide accurate and valuable information to its readers. To continue providing free access to the public, this website accepts commission payments from some of the casino operators shown below. However, we do not accept direct payments for casino ratings.

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Malta Gaming Authority

When it comes to online gambling, the tiny European island of Malta is considered a major hub. It houses both software providers and online casinos and also acts as a globally renowned remote gaming regulator.

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) came into existence in 2001 under The Lotteries and Other Games Act. Its key objective is to regulate the industry so as to ensure a transparent and fair experience for players. Furthermore, it seeks to prevent crime and ensure the integrity of the casino sites’ games and services. It is among the top-tier regulators of the industry and companies seeking its licensing must meet strict criteria.

In October 2018, the authority released a sandbox for digital currencies. Since it was already a gaming and crypto hub, the move was only logical. Subsequently in 2019, it started accepting applications for the use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin on gambling platforms.

MGA Licensed Bitcoin Casinos

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TheBitcoinStrip.com thoroughly reviews the casinos listed on this website as a means to provide accurate and valuable information to its readers. To continue providing free access to the public, this website accepts commission payments from some of the casino operators shown below. However, we do not accept direct payments for casino ratings.

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US State Licensing

There is no federal law against online gambling using bitcoin in the US. Rather, bitcoin gambling laws here differ by the state but they are somewhat murky. 

There is no explicit law forbidding online crypto gambling in the US. But some states prohibit all forms of online gambling, which means that online bitcoin gambling would not be legal in those states. Other states also state that bitcoin is an illegal currency so all forms of its use would be illegal.

Online gambling with BTC is legal in the following states:

  1. Delaware (since 2012)
  2. Nevada (since 2012)
  3. New Jersey (since 2013)
  4. Pennsylvania (since 2017)

Regulated Bitcoin gambling in the US is currently non-existant, however there are dozens of options for those looking for US-friendly casinos.

ACT Gambling and Racing Commission

In Australia, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Gambling and Racing Commission is the top regulatory authority for all gambling activities. Notably, online gambling within the Australian Capital Territory is illegal. Therefore, the regulator has not licensed any online casino to operate in its jurisdiction.

Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC)

The Isle of Man, better known as Bitcoin Island, is a self-governing dependency of the British Crown. Due to the popularity of cryptocurrencies on this island as an alternative to cash, it has become a popular jurisdiction for Bitcoin casino licensing.

Bitcoin gambling regulations on the island date back to early 2016. At the time, the regulator together with the Treasury approved the use of bitcoin and altcoins as a cash equivalent in the gambling industry.

GSC Licensed Bitcoin Casinos

Disclosure
Advertising Disclosure

TheBitcoinStrip.com thoroughly reviews the casinos listed on this website as a means to provide accurate and valuable information to its readers. To continue providing free access to the public, this website accepts commission payments from some of the casino operators shown below. However, we do not accept direct payments for casino ratings.

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Gibraltar Gambling Commission (GGC)

Since it opened its doors to online gaming in 1998, Gibraltar has seen tremendous growth in its gambling sector. It offers some of the lowest tax rates, drawing top names in the industry. Online crypto casinos here only pay a 1% tax rate on gross profit and get licensing for a mere £2000.

Established in October 2000 under the Gibraltar Regulatory Act, the GGC is the license provider for a wide array of bitcoin gambling firms here. Back in 2018 when the world was at crossroads on cryptocurrencies, this Mediterranean UK overseas territory opened its arms to the fledgling industry. Though it accepts cryptocurrencies, it has set stringent principles to protect the interests and rights of its consumers.

With this in mind, the authority has instituted a set of regulations that seek to make bitcoin gambling online safe and transparent. It has thus cemented its reputation as one of the most popular regulatory bodies globally.

Playing at an Unlicensed Casino

As we saw earlier, licensing is not mandatory for bitcoin casinos and for this reason, not all bitcoin casinos are licensed. However, playing at an unlicensed institution should ring alarm bells. To illustrate the level of risk, think about the infiltration of Mt. Gox or the Silk Road seizure.

Essentially, if you lost your coins to scammers or hackers, or due to any other unforeseen event on an unlicensed casino site, there would be no legal recourse. Furthermore, if you play at a privacy-centric casino using anonymous transactions, getting a refund might be a challenge in case something goes amiss.

If for whatever reason you feel that you must play at an unlicensed casino, there is a need for caution. To avoid the inherent dangers that unlicensed institutions may pose, you need to protect yourself and gamble responsibly

Here are some of the things to keep in mind if you have to play on an unlicensed site:

Provably Fair Games

In the simplest sense, provably fair games refer to games that have a mechanism in place for players to confirm the randomness of the game process. The concept uses technology to facilitate this. 

A provably fair casino site generates a random number, hashes it and sends it to a player. The player adds it to their seed. After a game plays out and the player gets an outcome, they get the seed that the game used. Using the two seeds, the player can then verify whether or not there was any interference.

Open-Source Software

As the name implies, this refers to software whose code is open and accessible for public scrutiny. Playing on a site that uses an open-source software means that you can verify whether or not there is an opportunity for mischief.

Community Reviews

Another way to check a casino’s legitimacy and reputation is by checking community reviews. Various internet forums give players a chance to air grievances of all sorts. This makes it easy to identify scams and unscrupulous entities.

Casino Longevity

If the sole aim of a bitcoin casino is to scam unsuspecting victims, chances are it will not remain operational for long. Similarly, a casino that carries out unethical practices will likely collapse sooner rather than later. 

Based on these basic principles, it is possible to identify trustworthy operators by looking at how long they have been operational.

Conclusion

Since the inception of online bitcoin gambling, players have every reason to insist on using licensed platforms. Fortunately, gambling regulators in various jurisdictions and the vast numbers of regulated services out there ensure that one cannot run out of options. 

By limiting your gaming endeavors to these entities, you stand a better chance at accessing fair gaming and keeping your funds secure. If all else fails, make sure you protect your interests by taking into consideration the measures outlined here. 

FAQs

🖋️  Does a casino need to have both a bitcoin gambling license and provably fair games?

While casinos do not have to have both features, there are certain obvious advantages. A casino whose games are provably fair only protects users against unethical gaming practices. But one that has both will also be able to offer legal protection against all sorts of gaming malpractices.

🖋️  Are bitcoin casino licenses from the UKGC superior to those from Curacao eGaming?

Curacao license requisition is extensive but nowhere near as extensive as that of the UKGC. The commission mostly focuses on the financial stability of the applicant. But the UKGC uses much more stringent criteria, which at the end of the day, means more comprehensive customer protection. But all in all, a CeG license is way better than none at all.

🖋️  How can I tell whether or not a bitcoin casino is actually licensed?

You can check the website to see whether it has a license on display. In most cases, this will be a seal from the relevant licensing jurisdiction.

Published by Nica SJ

Nica SJ

About the author

Nica is an expert cryptocurrency and fintech writer who has worked with several venture-backed tech startups in the US and UK as well as investment companies in London. She currently enjoys researching about bitcoin exchanges and casinos.

Last updated by Nick Hawke on May 13, 2020

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About the editor

Nick is the CEO and founder of The Bitcoin Strip and has reviewed and written about Bitcoin casinos, sportsbooks and poker rooms for 9 years. He first entered the Bitcoin gambling market in 2011 following a widespread closure of poker rooms in the US.
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