Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that has experienced a surge in usage over the last few years. Many businesses both online and in-person accept payments in Bitcoin, and although some international unlicensed casinos accept Bitcoin, UK-licensed websites do not. However, the question on everyone’s minds is when will Bitcoin arrive at slot sites in the UK?
Cryptocurrencies and the Gambling Commission
Before we can answer that question, it’s important to take a look at the UK Gambling Commission’s stance on cryptocurrencies. The Gambling Commission, often abbreviated to UKGC, is responsible for regulating all gambling in the United Kingdom and sets out the rules all gambling operators must follow, including their acceptance of payment options.
Back in 2016, the UK Gambling Commission amended its License Conditions and Codes of Practice to allow the use of Bitcoin on licensed platforms, considering them to be a cash equivalent. However, the Commission, as per the Treasury Committee’s report on Crypto-assets, views cryptocurrencies as crypto-assets as they do not perform the functions “associated with a currency”.
Despite this, the UK Gambling Commission has received numerous applications from gambling businesses looking to fund themselves through crypto-assets such as Bitcoin, Ether or blockchain technology. The Commission has stated it can allow such operations but will assess the funding of a business through its licensing conditions under the Gambling Act 2005. As part of the assessment, the Commission will check whether the source of funding for the business can be determined and whether the Commission can assure that the business isn’t funded by proceeds of crime.
In addition to the above, the UK Gambling Commission will need to know the type of cryptocurrency accepted, the provider for cryptocurrency services, and how the payment method will be assessed under anti-money laundering (AML) checks. What’s more, the Commission will need to know how the cryptocurrency will be accepted and how the funds will be treated in insolvency.
All of these requirements apply for non-cryptocurrency businesses, leading to valid applications that allow the business to open an online gambling website. Unfortunately, there are still currently no UK-licensed slot sites offering cryptocurrency as valid payment methods, suggesting that websites haven’t been able to pass the Commission’s checks. Until a licensed website can pass the Commission’s checks regarding cryptocurrency, we won’t see Bitcoin accepted at any slot site.
Alternative Payment Methods at Slot Sites
The above news may be disappointing if you’re looking to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but the UK Gambling Commission allows its licensed casino websites to use a variety of other payment methods, excluding credit cards. The payment methods available at a slot site will vary, and you’ll need to read reviews of slot sites to ensure that the payment method you want to use is accepted. On the website Online Slots Pilot, you’ll find thousands of such reviews to get you started.
Generally speaking, all slot sites in the UK accept VISA and MasterCard debit cards and e-wallets, including PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller. All of these payment methods allow for instant deposits, but the timeframe for withdrawals will vary, usually taking several days to process. E-wallets are usually faster than debit cards.
Slot sites in the UK accept other payment methods in addition to the above. Some of the most common options include pre-paid cards Paysafecard, bank transfers, Apple and Google Pay, and mobile methods such as Payforit, and Boku. All of these options are less frequent than e-wallets and debit cards, but you may still find them on several websites.
There are enough payment options available at UK slot sites that you’ll easily find an alternative payment method to cryptocurrencies. As we mentioned before, it’s likely going to be a while before we see cryptocurrency accepted at UK-licensed slot sites. So, until then, you’re going to need to stick to any of the other options we’ve described here.