Spain Closes Bitcoin Gambling Loopholes

Published September 17, 2014 by Brett C

Spain Closes Bitcoin Gambling Loopholes

Find out more about Spain’s recent ruling involving Bitcoin.

The government agency in Spain that regulates taxation and finance recently ruled that Bitcoin should now be classified as an electronic payment system. This important decision could have a significant impact on the Bitcoin economy in Spain.

This ruling was the first update from the Spanish government since May 2014 when the tax authority said it would monitor digital currencies like Bitcoin for suspicious and illegal activity.

The Change in Legal Definition of Bitcoin

The Bitcoin ruling has reinforced statements from various international legal bodies that seek to address whether Bitcoin is considered to be money under the laws of Spain. El Ministerio de Hacienda has said that Bitcoin cannot be considered electronic money or legal tender. 

The agency also said that Bitcoin cannot be defined as an ‘economically accessible object’ because it functions as an exchange medium. The official ruling states that Bitcoin is a convertible virtual currency which users can exchange. It can also be converted into euros, dollars and other virtual or real legal tender.

Clarification for Online Gambling Sites

The impact that this ruling has on the Bitcoin gambling industry is clear and it highlights the growing differences between various regions on the issue. For example, the US government shutdown of online gambling caused gambling sites to turn to Bitcoin while others have avoided it because of the uncertainty. Now, all gambling sites based in Spain, including those that only use Bitcoin must adhere to the ruling.

El Ministerio de Hacienda said that online gaming businesses must now get a general gambling license along with an individual license. In its report, El Confidencial said that Bitcoin online gambling is growing in popularity in the country because this particular sector could avoid the Gambling Act by using Bitcoin. Now, el Ministerio de Hacienda said all gaming activities that involve economically valuable objects and money in any form are subject to this ruling of the Gambling Act, including those involving Bitcoin.

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