Crypto Betting Legality: Understanding Crypto Gambling Laws

Crypto betting legality varies from country to country. Since most cryptocurrencies are less than 15 years old, the global legal landscape for crypto betting is evolving. Patterns are emerging where certain regions allow crypto betting and others restrict it. Still others have passed specific regulations to make crypto betting safer for players.

Keep reading for a general overview of the legality of crypto betting worldwide.

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Key Takeaways:

  • The legal landscape for crypto betting varies significantly across different regions and is subject to change.
  • Bettors should be aware of the laws in their own country as well as any region they are betting from or in.
  • Compliance with local laws and regulations is crucial for safe and legal betting.
  • Staying informed about legal changes and trends is important for anyone involved in crypto betting.

Global Overview

The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, launched a little over fifteen years ago. Altcoins like Litecoin and Ethereum launched later than that. Most cryptocurrencies are less than ten years old. Most countries are led by older people with little understanding of online processes, so the regulatory framework for crypto gambling is still emerging.

For that reason, the legal landscape for betting with crypto varies wildly right now. Players should be aware of the laws in your home country, plus any regions you might visit. Having a global overview helps, whether you want to comply with local laws or stay informed about the latest trends in crypto gambling.

Several regions are shifting towards new regulations for crypto betting: Latin America, Africa, and Oceania stand out. Other countries — including China and the United States — maintain longstanding bans on gambling with cryptocurrencies. This only drives the practice underground.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom and the European Union have the most developed crypto-betting regulations. They point the way for other countries when they adopt new cryptocurrency gambling laws.

What does understanding crypto betting laws do for players?

Knowing the laws helps a player in several ways. First, it helps you comply with the local crypto gambling laws. Two, it helps you spot scam artists and rogue operators. If you know the laws, their black hat policy will look askance to your eyes. Three, it helps you keep track of the latest trends in digital privacy and player safety.

Understanding crypto betting laws is the ultimate in responsible gaming through cryptocurrency.

Specific Regions

This overview of the specific regions hardly covers the entire subject. We write at length about market trends and regulations in the US crypto gambling section. For now, here is a quick summary for each of the major regions.

United States

The US does not specifically ban or regulate crypto betting. Licensed sites don’t offer crypto deposits. Offshore unlicensed casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites support crypto deposits and withdrawals. It’s a big part of the allure of offshore online gambling.

Canada

Cryptocurrency gambling is regulated in Canada. Sites like Thunderpick, BC Game, SportsBet, Flush Casino, BetUS, MyStake, Red Dog, TrustDice, Comic Play Casino, and Wild Casino all support betting with crypto.

United Kingdom

While gambling winnings aren’t taxed in the UK, this could change if you withdraw money using crypto. The law states that transactions with crypto assets that might amount to gambling should work with a tax professional and cite it in their tax return.

European Union

The EU regulates cryptocurrency gambling. Most EU states allow gambling, though some tweak the laws. Crypto gambling is generally legal in the European Union.

Crypto Gambling Laws around the World

  • Latin America: Brazil banned crypto betting in April 2024. As a region, 18% of online gambling payments are handled by crypto. Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru have high levels of crypto usage. Many players use a debit card tied to a crypto wallet.
  • Australia: Crypto gambling is regulated and taxed in Australia. Users should keep records of their gaming activity. Whether you deposit funds in a crypto casino or collect bonus cash from one, it is considered capital gains.
  • Asia: Online betting with crypto is banned in many Asian countries, including China and several Southeast Asian countries. Authorities believe crypto is tied to money laundering in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar. Bitcoin casinos are a growing phenomenon in Japan and South Korea.
  • Eastern Europe: Gambling is partially legal in countries outside the EU. Crypto gambling comprises roughly 20% of the online gambling payments in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Turkey has a ban on online and mobile gambling, though this only drives activity to crypto casinos online.

What is the legal status of crypto betting by country?

With over 190 countries worldwide, it’s hard to give a summary. Read through the section above for an overview, then search for the legal status of crypto betting in your home country. We provide some answers for the countries with the most iGaming here.

The section below covers regional trends in crypto gambling regulation.

Regulatory Trends

Online gaming involves a wide range of businesses, so we’ll see trends in security solutions, legal regulations, operating models, and even currencies. The big picture involves long-term growth driven by tech advances and consumer behavior. Government regulations affect the marketplace, though the decentralized nature of many cryptocurrencies mitigates regulatory impact.

Annual Growth Rate in Crypto Gambling

Grand View Research estimates that the combined annual growth rate of the online gambling industry will be 11.7% from 2022 to 2030. By the end of the decade, iGaming should generate $153 billion in US dollars each year.

Market Segmentation

Different segments of the online gambling world will grow at different rates. Online sports betting generates over $50 billion each year and is expected to lead the market by the end of the decade, too. Online casinos represent $39 billion and should continue to be the second-largest slice of the pie in 2030.

Crypto Sports Betting Laws

Due to 38 US states legalizing online and mobile sports betting, over one-half of Americans now have local access to regulated retail or online sports betting. Because the two largest populations — California and Texas — don’t have licensed sports betting, the number is still closer to 50% than 100%.

So far, most US states have barred cryptocurrencies from the licensed online sports betting industry. Bettors must visit offshore bookmaker sites, so it’s hard to guess how much growth this sector has.

Crypto Casino Game Regulations

In the 2030s, online casinos could overtake sports betting. VR technology will make slots and other casino games more immersive, drawing in a new generation of players. AI-created content will make casino games much more personal than it is now.

Networked games will make playing with friends a possibility, which will add a social aspect to casino gaming. Better live dealer games technology could do the same. Of course, smart contracts might make online sports betting the cheapest and safest way to wager online. Whatever the case, iGaming in 2040 will look much differently than it does now.

Online Gambling Regulations

Predicting future regulations is a key to the crypto gambling business. With regulated gambling receiving more focus, protecting vulnerable individuals — whether they are underage or problem gamblers — will take on a heightened focus.

Licensing is a difficult process for online operators because they must please regulators in dozens of different countries. Even when they do, undergoing audits and maintaining transparency is a challenge. The EU has adopted a proactive approach towards player safety and responsible gaming. Many regulators around the globe likely will follow suit.

ID verification is one-way gambling portals can prevent fraud and underage gambling. Biometrics might seem onerous to crypto gamblers, but it is no more intrusive than the facial and fingerprint identification used in a mobile phone. If you use your phone for verification, sites can maintain accurate ID processes while securing your privacy. Ultimately, it’s a win-win proposition for the player and the site owner.

Digital Identity

Creating a reusable digital identity is fast becoming a trend in 2024. A digital identity is a reusable proof of identity issued by a trusted authority. These can be government-issued identification documents that are stored digitally but can be something else.

Digital identification is better than traditional methods like driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers, because it can be encrypted and protected against unauthorized access. The gaming industry has been an early adopter of this technology, making it easier for players to use digital identity verification for gaming and other needs.

Know Your Customer Processes

Many regulations in the 2020s place emphasis on Know Your Customer (KYC) processes, which includes anti-money laundering (AML) screening and customer due diligence. In the coming years, players can expect a greater emphasis on AML screening in the UK, Europe, North America, and South America. Enhanced data protection will be a focus, too.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will become a template for countries around the world. For instance, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada all are considering legislation that will curb the mishandling of consumer data.

Asian Regulatory Trends

Many Asian nations go the way of the near-complete ban on online gambling. Japan, South Korea, and China all seek to ban most iGaming types. That creates a black market where players get involved in peer-to-peer gambling or go to offshore online sites.

With the widespread appearance of VPNs and proxy servers, Asian regulators have no chance to stop players from their countries from gambling. The Philippines has a wiser approach to gambling online. While it has a somewhat restrictive gaming environment, the Philippines allows enough forms of gambling to maintain influence in its residents’ playing habits.

Thus, it sustains a steadier and more transparent rate of growth.

Latin American Regulatory Trends

Latin America has seen a wave of legalization and regulation, which is why gaming experts predict the region will grow by four times its size by 2027. Models suggest the region’s online gambling industry will generate $6.75 billion in revenues.

Much of that growth will be fueled by crypto gambling. Expect Brazil and Mexico to lead the way. Colombia and Argentina, which legalized most forms of online gambling in 2017 and 2019 respectively, should continue their steady growth.

African Regulatory Trends

Statista estimates the African gambling industry will experience 6.28% growth in the coming years. Increased access to mobile devices and the Internet will fuel much of that growth. As it does, more African nations will create regulatory frameworks for iGaming.

South Africa, which accounts for nearly 50% of all African gambling revenues, is a good example. In the 2010s, South Africa created a gambling regulator and began to license certain domestic and international gambling sites.

Nigeria’s gambling industry is also quickly growing, and its huge population offers tremendous growth opportunities. That will only happen if Nigeria adopts a similar regulatory framework to South Africa’s.

Kenya and Ghana also have seen a rise in online gambling platforms in recent years, so they are ripe for new regulatory frameworks.

Australian Regulatory Trends

The Australian government embraced online gambling with the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. While Australia-based operators couldn’t offer online casino games to Aussie, offshore sites could and did. When Malcolm Turnbull came to power in 2015, his government enacted stricter measures.

Those policies continued when Turnbull gave way to Scott Morrison in 2018. In fact, Morrison’s government issued further restrictions with the The National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering of 2021. This includes prohibitions on lines of credits for online gambling service providers and the use of small-amount credit contracts (payday loans) for online gambling.

It’s unknown whether these policies will continue under Anthony Albanese since he represents a different political party and one that’s been more pro-online gambling in the past. Whatever the case, the financial restrictions on online gambling have driven more Aussie punters to consider crypto gambling. Now that they’ve onboarded themselves to crypto casinos, they are not likely to return to the old system.

Why do governments impose regulations on cryptocurrency betting online?

Betting regulations on cryptocurrency certainly undercut decentralization. Still, regulations are a framework for operators, players, and regulators. These best practices can benefit players who want speed and privacy, just as it benefits those who don’t use crypto payments.

For one thing, maintaining a minimum level of compliance keeps politicians and bureaucrats happy enough to stop meddling to a greater extent. It’s like Landon Calrissian’s Cloud City policy in The Empire Strikes Back — it pays to keep the Empire satisfied. Only one hopes that real-world government leaders don’t have Darth Vader’s attitude.

Compliance and Safety

Players must understand the importance of using platforms that comply with local laws and regulations. When they play at sites that don’t have local authorization, they throw away consumer protection policies and other legal protections. If a site voids winnings based on one-sided terms or simply refuses to pay outright, the player has no legal recourse.

Some offshore crypto gaming sites are trustworthy and respected, for sure. Before playing at these gaming platforms, players must do their due diligence. Otherwise, they could be throwing away their hard-earned money. As we always say, if the casino doesn’t pay your winnings, you never won the game in the first place.

What does crypto betting compliance do for my safety?

Complying with the crypto betting laws simply put keeps you safe. Helping a site comply with the Know Your Customer (KYC) policies makes your gaming safer for both sides. Using the latest digital identity verification technology might seem counter-intuitive at first for a crypto gambler, but it makes the process easier for both sides — while encrypting your digital identity.

Conclusion

It always helps when gamblers stay informed about crypto betting legality in their region. While you don’t need to maintain full knowledge of legal changes and regulations of crypto betting on a worldwide scale, you should always know the latest cryptocurrency gambling laws in your country. At the least, have a firm idea of the legal crypto betting regions to spot scams and maintain safety.

Decentralization, anonymity, and speed are three factors players want when they engage in crypto gambling. At the same time, the regulations for crypto betting online serve a purpose. Crypto betting compliance leads to player safety. Understanding the legality of regulations helps you stay safe, which ultimately helps players collect winnings and stay safe. Learn the laws, then sign up to play at a safe crypto casino today.