Bitcoin declared “cash equivalent” by the UKGC

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) will allow people to gamble using bitcoins on platforms licensed in their own country.

UK.- The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has made amendments on the country’s gambling regulation to allow the use of bitcoin whilst gambling on  online licensed platforms.

The amendments made by the UKGC to License condition 5.1.1 of the “License Conditions and Codes of Practice” include digital currencies to the list of cash equivalents. Other conventional cash equivalents, in accordance to the code include banker’s drafts, cheques, debit and credit cards. These changes are expected to come into effect as soon as October 31, 2016.

As per the UKGC regulations, players are protected only if they gamble on listed sites that are approved by the commission. Since most of the online Bitcoin casino platforms catering to the market are currently licensed in Curacao, users are deprived of any protection offered by their country’s gaming commission or a similar regulatory body.

The inclusion of Bitcoin as an alternative to cash by the UKGC, serves as an acknowledgment of Bitcoin’s status as a financial instrument by the regulatory body. Since the new UKGC regulations will be applicable only to online casino platforms providing to the UK market, this may encourage new and existing businesses to obtain a license from the UKGC to accept Bitcoin wagers from their customers.

As of June 2016, UKGC has issued over 719 online casino licenses to over 427 online casino operators. It is expected that Bitcoin-only online casinos currently licensed in Curacao migrate to the UK, expanding their operations. Other territories pursuing the same angle include the Republic of Malta and Isle of Man.