Gambling has been a complicated matter for many US citizens who would like to visit casinos and indulge in playing popular table games and slot machines. The situation differs from state to state as the federal laws often seem not to coincide with what the particular state government has in mind. With the rise of Bitcoin, many felt relief, seeing online crypto casinos as a great alternative to physical establishments of this kind. Nevertheless, things turned out to be even more confusing.
Being decentralized currency created to replace the traditional banking system, Bitcoin is not subject to existing laws, so it seems that using it for gambling is completely legal. Well, at least it used to be, before the attempts to include cryptocurrency gambling into the legal framework and regulate it. Further on, we’ll try to clear things up and find out the status of Bitcoin gambling in different states.
Cryptocurrency Regulation in the United States
Basically, there are no federal laws prohibiting US citizens from gambling online. There are restrictions on casinos, prohibiting them from accepting bets on the territory of the United States of America, yet no law forbids players to make wagers. And so, online casinos that are based in other countries can, in fact, accept bets from the US citizens without this being considered a violation of the law.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are considered commodities, meaning they do not have a status that fiat currencies do. So, the use of crypto coins is not illegal, but they are subject to taxation if an individual earns profit from using them.
One more thing we should mention is the UIGEA (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) from 2006. It restricts banks and credit card companies from dealing with online casinos-related transactions. And since traditional banking system can’t be used for gambling, cryptocurrency came in very handy for online casino owners. As a result, Bitcoin gambling offers the same games and features (if not more) people expect from a traditional online casino, and all this is combined with modern graphics and mobile versions.
Now, let’s see which states allow you to enjoy fast and anonymous cryptocurrency transactions.
States with Limitations on Using Bitcoin
While using Bitcoin is not considered illegal in most of the states, there are some states where things are not that simple, and you should carefully examine the matter before risking by using cryptocurrency for some of your needs.
There are constant attempts to regulate Bitcoin in California, and starting a business that would benefit from the use of cryptocurrency is much more expensive than in other states, which is why it’s not common in the area.
In this state, a business needs to get a license first before it can accept and store Bitcoin. Otherwise, it can face some serious fine. So, while players can use cryptocurrency for gambling online, not many entrepreneurs are willing to open a Connecticut-based online casino that would welcome them.
Now, things are more difficult not only for casino owners but for gamblers and those who want to use Bitcoin for anything in New Hampshire. Everyone needs to obtain a special license just to be able to transfer crypto coins freely. And it seems that the state government is only planning to make it even tougher for Bitcoin to be used there.
Cryptocurrency is recognized as a form of payment in North Carolina, meaning it is strictly regulated. It is allowed to trade Bitcoin upon being registered federally. However, all this is preventing businesses from using virtual currency as much and as easily as they would prefer.
It is known that a money transmitter’s license is necessary for any company operating within Wisconsin. However, should that company perform any operation with cryptocurrency, its license would be canceled by the state. Despite the absence of clear laws regulating Bitcoin status, this is a proof that Wisconsin is not a Bitcoin-friendly state.
States Where Online Gaming Is Illegal
Let’s move on to the states where you can legally use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies but not for gambling online, as it is prohibited for such businesses to operate within their borders. There are, however, no laws forbidding you to access online Bitcoin casinos located elsewhere.
So, if you live in Alaska, Kentucky, or Oregon, you will have difficulty in finding a place located and registered there that would let you indulge in gambling. Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and some other states, however, will have a good number of good old brick-and-mortar facilities where betting is allowed, but for gambling online, you’ll need to look for some offshore sites.
States Where Gambling is Completely Legal
Finally, there are a few states where you will be absolutely safe playing at online Bitcoin casinos and sportsbooks since gambling is legalized there. The first site to legalize online gambling was Delaware in 2012. It was followed by Nevada, already famous for its physical gambling establishments, and New Jersey joined the list in 2013. There has not been any progress in other states until 2017 with Pennsylvania deeming online gambling legal.
Legality of Bitcoin Gambling in the USA
The situation is constantly changing, and in many states, it seems that online gambling with cryptocurrency is about to become legal any time now. So, unless your state is listed in the above section, you should check that additionally. If nothing changed, you are still free to play at the websites registered where that option is possible. After all, there are no laws deeming Bitcoin transactions illegal, and there are more than enough online casinos willing to accept it.
We could also bring up the ability to perform anonymous BTC transactions. But we should still warn you, that this may not protect you in case you are breaking some laws. Many casinos require identification since they are following KYC (Know Your Customer) policy, aimed at preventing unlawful and fraudulent activity involving cryptocurrency.
And yet, there are sites where you can play without even registering an account since you will be granted automatically generated login information. There are, however, some disadvantages to all this anonymity. In case your funds get stolen by hackers or something goes wrong, it is highly unlikely that you will receive a refund. So take the necessary safety precautions and keep your coins in offline storage.
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, online gambling with BTC in the United States is legal, especially if you play on websites registered outside the US just to be safe. However, you should consider the following things: whether online betting is legal in your state, whether Bitcoin is allowed as a payment option, and whether you need a license to transfer or accept it.
Keep an eye on the legislation if you are a resident of one of those states where the government bodies seem to be working towards restricting cryptocurrency. And make sure to obey the taxation laws.