Gambling on the internet is an activity that has been taking place for years. From countries all over the globe, people are able to take part in the entertainment of wagering on games of chance, with the hope of winning money against money they have risked. Unfortunately, several prominent governments, including the United States, have recently cracked down on this unregulated online activity and even brought it to a halt in some cases. Online gambling for dollars, the acknowledged currency in the U.S., is currently illegal. Gambling with Bitcoins however, presents a new challenge. Without the exchange of the dollar, U.S. officials are having a hard time deciding how to move forward. To pursue online gambling with Bitcoins as an illegal activity, the government will have to acknowledge the Bitcoin as an accepted currency in its own right. Given the legal fallout that decision could cause is enough to make the regulators in charge take pause.
The recent issues in Tokyo with the Mt. Gox exchange prompted Japanese lawmakers to issue a statement saying that Bitcoin is going to be considered a product, not a currency, and will be taxable. Other countries have had similar conversations regarding the definition of Bitcoin. It is in this process of legally defining what Bitcoin is that each government will decide whether or not online gambling using Bitcoins is legal. The definition is all encompassing.
Some proponents of Bitcoin argue that this process of defining the currency that is already being accepted as such is simply a governmental loophole to gain oversight on a product that was created with the purpose of avoiding exactly that. For many governments, the taxation of all online activities is being considered strongly due to the increasingly high national debt. Lawmakers have been left with the task of looking under every pillow for pennies as they try to regulate every activity they can, in hopes of increasing tax dollars.
These issues have begun to reach so deeply into the Bitcoin community that the prominent international gambling site known as “SatoshiBet” has announced that it is no longer accepting customers from the United States. The company has said that this move is to prevent any involvement or conflict with the United States government which is actively trying to regulate the industry and the use and definition of Bitcoin. Bitcoin gambling may be legal now, but people in the United States and other similar countries may not be allowed to partake for much longer.