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Gambling with digital and virtual currencies

Digital currencies are established forms of crypto logically secured currencies that are traded, and recognised by institutions like the Financial Conduct Authority and HMRC. Bitcoin is the most well-known.

Virtual currencies are unregulated and generally issued and controlled by developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community, for instance within a video game or social casino. Where they can be exchanged for cash or traded for items of value they are considered money or money’s worth.

Virtual currencies

Any gambling business wishing to offer gambling facilities to consumers in Great Britain using digital currencies, or virtual currencies that can be exchanged for cash or traded for items of value, must hold an operating licence.

Before gambling using digital currencies, or virtual currencies that can be exchanged for cash or traded for items of value, we recommend you ensure the gambling website you use is licensed by us.

Digital currencies

We would advise consumers to be cautious when using digital currencies to gamble due to the associated risks:

  • There is no central authority that supports the value of digital currency (Bitcoin, for example, has a history of large price fluctuations)
  • There is a history of hacking, theft and other criminal activity associated with digital currencies.
Also see

Virtual currencies, eSports and social casino gaming

Position paper

855 KB Download

Virtual currencies, eSports and social gaming discussion paper

Emerging products we are looking at and why we are concerned

137 KB Download