UKGC warning to Bitcoin gaming operators

UKGC warning to Bitcoin gaming operators

Monday, July 6, 2015 Totally Gaming
Bitcoin is considered to be 'money's worth' by the UKGC

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has written to a number of Bitcoin operators to remind them that they need a licence to operate in the country.

The UKGC insists that “an operator needs to be licensed by the Gambling Commission regardless of where they are located in the world, if they provide facilities for gambling to consumers in Great Britain”.

The national regulatory body has followed the lead of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which ruled that Bitcoins should be treated like money as ‘single purpose vouchers’. It told operators that although Bitcoin is an unregulated currency, gambling with the virtual currency is covered by UK gambling regulations as a provision of service and is considered ‘money’s worth’.

“We wrote to these operators because they were either advertising gambling illegally or illegally offering gambling products to consumers, or both,” said Jenny Williams, chief executive of the UKGC. “The Commission neither prohibits nor encourages Bitcoin; we are interested only in ensuring the proper regulation of gambling products consumed in Britain.

“The currency is almost irrelevant as all operators need to satisfy themselves, and us, that they can fully meet all our requirements, particularly the requirements that ensure crime is kept out of gambling and consumers are protected.”

Bitcoin is also considered an equivalent of money in the US when it comes to money services license requirements, however it is considered to be property for tax purposes.

The Isle of Man’s Financial Supervision Commission said last year that digital currency businesses in the jurisdiction would not be subject to a conduct of business or prudential regime unless they engage in activities regulated under the Financial Services Act of 2008, such as money transmission services.

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