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Bitcoin & USA Online Gambling

Bitcoin has proven to be quite a powerful force in the online casino arena. Many off shore casinos accept bitcoin payments now. One question for most folks is whether or not bitcoin gambling is even legal in their region. This question is particularly valid in the United States, as things are not as black-and-white in America by any means.

The truth is Bitcoin gambling is really no different than any other gambling as far as USA players are concerned. At the end of the day the same laws apply to Bitcoin wagering as they do with any other type of internet gambling. Basically, what the law states about online gambling in the United States is that it's illegal to accept wagers, but it's not illegal to place them. This is the exact reason why the gambling sites that accept USA players are exclusively located offshore so they don't run afoul of the strict regulations.

Bitcoin gambling is tied up closely with the laws with online gambling as a whole. The thirsty desire of the U.S. Federal and State governments for tax revenue, sometimes coupled with moralistic views about gambling, is what makes it somewhat difficult to gamble online in the United States. The main law covering online gambling is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. This law targets any business that takes online payment for gambling purposes. Many lawmakers were worried that online gambling sites outside of the reach of government oversight could be a way to launder money. With the worries about terrorism at the time, the law passed pretty easily.
The law doesn’t specifically target digital currencies nor does it target individual gamblers. So, technically, there’s nothing stopping any USA citizen from going to a BitCoin Casino and having some fun, but there is a huge risk for the casino operators. The law made it illegal for banks to process transactions for online gambling businesses, effectively shutting off the flow of U.S. dollars to the gambling websites.

Legitimate Bitcoin casino operators such as Ignition Casino have well established trustworthy gaming policies. They also maintain very  high standards in providing fairness on all their games. The blockchain reinforces transaction fairness while allowing immediate deposits and more importantly quick and easy withdrawals. Above all, the whole process is totally anonymous. Plus, there is a second ruling that protects players, specifically players of online poker. In 2012, poker was declared a game of skill, not of luck. This took poker out of the realm of gambling in a technical sense. This means only the parts of the law regarding banks and handling transactions to gambling businesses only applied to operators who did not offer the game of poker.

There are still very few casino operators willing to operate openly in the U.S., forcing most players who want to play to find operators licensed in other countries, but gambling licensing laws in different countries vary widely. Some of the most trusted Bitcoin casinos use geoblocking just so they can cover their legal backside, but that’s not stopping some people from using VPN software compatible with Bitcoin to play on sites that are geoblocked. Individual gamblers are currently safe from governmental scrutiny, but even that situation can change at any given moment in time. Just be aware of any future changes & in the meantime happy online crypto currency gambling;-)

Sam Becker

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