Bitcoin is now officially licenced as a currency payment by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Before Year´s End
That´s right, the UKGC has added Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to its list of acceptable payment methods available to UKGC licencees for the first time ever. The newly updated License Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) take effect on Oct. 31, 2016.
The new conditions are treated in Section 5.1 of the LCCP codes addressing “cash and cash equivalents, payment methods and services.” The specific clause which brings Bitcoin et al into the fold is the directive that licensees must “implement appropriate policies and procedures concerning the usage of cash and cash equivalents,” with those cash equivalents to include bankers drafts, cheques and debit cards and digital currencies…”
The UKGC remains committed to reducing risk of money laundering through updating the codes, while also advising licencees to “take into account any applicable learning or guidelines” that the UKGC may issue from time to time. The guidelines provide a set of best practices for operators which now include the acceptance of digital currencies as a safe form of operation.
The acceptance of Bitcoin by a licencing authority as prominent as the UKGC can only speed up the public acceptance of cryptocurrencies. The UK becomes the second jurisdiction to licence the acceptance of Bitcoin, following Curaçao. Other regions soon possibly following suit include the Isle of Man, whose Gambling Supervision Commission in May proposed licensing guidelines allowing for deposits made in “convertible virtual currencies”; and the Malta Gaming Authority, which reportedly held a meeting to consider the licencing virtual currency just last Tuesday.
The new UKGC guidelines will apply to UK-serving operators, with 719 online casino licences held by 427 online casino operators. Look for relatively rapid widespread acceptance now, with other jurisdictions beyond the aforementioned following suit within the next 12 months.