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What is the Legal Position for Cryptocurrencies in US Casinos?

Jun 13, 2024

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According to NBC News, around 21% of US adults have owned cryptocurrencies at some point. However, cryptocurrency regulation is still a gray area and lacks definition. Digital assets are treated in various ways by interested agencies.

For example, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), would like cryptocurrencies to be classified as securities, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) says that cryptocurrencies are commodities, and the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) started treating cryptocurrencies as property in 2014.

It’s clear that the overall legal position of cryptocurrencies in the US is complex. The same can be said for the legality of using cryptocurrencies at online casinos. We will examine the regulation of US online casinos and explain how this affects the use of cryptocurrency casinos in the country.

The legality of online casinos overall

Only seven US states currently permit online casinos to operate. These states are Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. In these states, people can use licensed online casinos.

In addition, many Americans also use offshore online casinos where regulation is not present in any state except Washington, where offshore sites are specifically prohibited. Other states have formed a coalition to ask the Attorney General to take action against offshore operators. These states are Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Nevada.

There is no sign of any such action being taken right now. This is important in a discussion about the legality of cryptocurrencies in US online casinos, as many offshore sites allow US residents to use cryptocurrencies when playing. As it’s the only state where offshore play is not permitted, Washington is the only place where players cannot use these sites.

The legal position of cryptocurrency casinos

We have already explained that US residents can use offshore online casinos, except for residents of Washington. No law prevents this. Sites like those mentioned on Wikihow are not regulated in the US, but they do have operating licenses from other jurisdictions that require them to be dedicated to customer protection and fair play.

While it’s legal for players to use cryptocurrencies, it’s not legal for a casino company in the US to operate cryptocurrency casino sites. This is why offshore operators are so popular with players who want the opportunity to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

These sites are booming in the US and internationally. According to current estimates, the cryptocurrency gambling industry is worth around $250 million overall. This value is set to increase further in the coming years. Whether the US plays a major role in this increase remains to be seen. The country’s impact will depend on how the regulatory landscape develops.

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If the overall legal position regarding cryptocurrencies in the US becomes clearer, it’s possible that online casino operators will seek to offer cryptocurrencies alongside fiat deposit and withdrawal options. However, given the pressure from some states, it’s also possible that the federal government will pass a law prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies for online gambling. Whether any such law is implemented, and whether it would go as far as prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies at offshore sites remains to be seen.

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