What is ‘Virtual Currency’?
Virtual currency or virtual currencies is a relatively new term. It was initially defined by the ECB (the European Central Bank) back in 2012. The bank used the term to describe a specific type of digital money. This money is controlled by developers and is accepted as a form of payment in some virtual communities. Since 2012, the European Banking Authority has also recognised virtual currencies and given them a definition. Thanks to the rise of online casinos in the UK, virtual currencies have become hugely popular, with players finding them to be a convenient way to deposit cash and withdraw winnings. Nearly all major online casinos and bookmakers will accept a form of virtual currency as payment.
‘Virtual Currency’ Explained
Due to the rise in popularity of virtual currencies, the Gambling Commission in the UK was pushed towards releasing a discussion paper. In 2015, the commission stated that they believed virtual currencies were a ‘worthy equivalent’ when compared to real money, meaning that they believe any bets wagered with digital currencies are equal to bets placed with real money. The commission also stated that it does not matter what the bet is placed on, whether it is a sports bet or a casino bet has no bearing on the validity of the virtual currency.
One of the most popular virtual currencies available is Bitcoin. After first being introduced in 2008, Bitcoin has grown steadily and firmly established itself as one of the preferred payment systems with the industry of online gaming. Bitcoin allows users to complete transactions without the presence of an intermediary. During October 2016, online bookmaker Netbet made the announcement that Bitcoin would be accepted as a form of payment on its site.
With the UK Gambling Commission officially recognising virtual currencies, the coming years could see the industry continue to grow. That said, the commission also made sure to state that they would continue to watch for irregularities concerning virtual currencies, and if they found any, then they would take swift action. Ultimately, the UKGC is determined to prevent any form of illegal activities concerning virtual currencies within online gambling, so the coming months and years could prove pivotal in determining the success of the virtual currency market.