Crypto Sports Betting Legislation: How It Will Affect You

Patrick Lynch
By Patrick Lynch
Sports & Casino Expert
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Updated Jan 12, 2023
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Read time 11 min

Both cryptocurrency and gambling are multi-billion-dollar industries (or trillion-dollar for crypto, depending on the market’s strength). Therefore, it was inevitable that they would ultimately join up, particularly once bettors understood the advantages of digital currency gambling.

However, confusion remains as many people still want to know the answer to the question: “is crypto gambling legal?” This uncertainty exists because, in many locations, either crypto or gambling is illegal. For instance, if a country bans gambling but allows digital coins, you’ll have to find another use. Likewise, if betting is permitted, but cryptocurrency isn’t, you must use fiat currency.

Take a look at crypto sports betting legislation in different regions to shed light on the query: “is it legal to gamble with cryptocurrency where I live?”

What Is the Legal Status of Crypto Gambling?

The truth is that there aren’t any laws relating specifically to cryptocurrency gambling anywhere in the world. Therefore, one can assert that it falls under the same rules as gambling with fiat. In essence, if gambling with fiat currency is legal where you live, you can do the same with crypto unless your location strictly prohibits digital money.

The European Union (EU) generally allows gambling and crypto use, but no concrete laws exist. There are currently no comprehensive EU regulations in place that regulate any activities related to cryptocurrency.

When deciding if crypto gambling is legal in the U.S., you should pay close attention to the language used in the nation’s anti-gambling laws. Such legislation uses broad terms such as “money like instrument” and “something of value.” This means you technically can’t use crypto for betting in locations where the practice of gambling is illegal. El Salvador is the only nation that views crypto as legal tender right now. However, a prosecution team could treat digital currency as a money-like instrument.

In simple terms, you should only consider betting with crypto if you live in a region where crypto AND gambling are allowed.

What About Crypto Betting on Offshore Sites?

If you type “is crypto gambling legal?” into Google, you’ll likely come across content urging you to try offshore sites if it is illegal to use crypto or to gamble in your jurisdiction.

However, this is an action fraught with danger. Offshore companies claim that the gambling laws of other nations don’t apply to them. Instead, they must only follow the rules in the jurisdiction that licenses them rather than where their users reside.

Yet some lawyers suggest that because an offshore site accepts users from a country, the company IS operating from that location. It doesn’t matter if the organization’s license and servers aren’t located there. Typically, government agencies come after gambling operators rather than their users. Nonetheless, one must be wary if living in a region with extremely strict anti-gaming laws.

Furthermore, as cryptocurrency gambling operators allow anonymity, they can’t comply with certain licensing requirements, such as the need to complete know your customer (KYC) protocols.

Then there is the small matter of safety. Unfortunately, there are plenty of shady operators in the crypto-betting sphere. If you align with the wrong one, it can keep your deposit and shut your account. A lack of regulation means you’ll never get your money back.

Next, let’s find out where it is legal and illegal to gamble with cryptocurrency.

Crypto & Gambling Legalization By Region

We have elected to analyze different regions wherever possible to simplify your reading experience. Please note that the challenges in procuring accurate information in certain continents mean the following is far from a complete picture.

North America

It is legal to use cryptocurrency in the United States and Canada. However, certain laws in Canada limit where cryptocurrencies can be traded.

As far as gambling is concerned, Canada permits legal online sports betting. It also decriminalized single-game sports wagering in 2021. Technically speaking, the Canadian government didn’t explicitly legalize gambling. However, it did give provinces the power to decide whether they want their residents to gamble. This means gambling laws vary from region to region, so check yours to see the situation.

It is a similar scenario in the United States. While many states permit online gambling, others forbid the practice entirely. Restrictions can exist even in states that permit online gambling. For instance, in Delaware, online poker is the only form of gambling allowed through the Internet. All other forms must be completed in person.

Therefore, you must determine your state’s laws to see if crypto gambling is legal.

In 2021, Wyoming made history by passing sports betting legislation allowing sportsbooks to accept virtual, crypto, and digital currencies. The small state is intent on becoming crypto-friendly, and while it hasn’t been an industry-changing move, it is a sign of things to come.

The Rest of the Americas

In June 2021, El Salvador officially adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender. There are also no rules against online gambling in the country, but online casinos are unregulated. While no reputable online gambling sites are operating out of El Salvador, residents are free to use foreign providers.

Cryptocurrency is legal in most of the rest of the Americas. Bolivia is an exception, as it has an outright ban, while Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador have banking bans.

Gambling is widely tolerated throughout the Americas, although Ecuador completely banned the practice. Residents of Caribbean nations such as Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica also benefit from relaxed gambling and crypto laws. Therefore, while we can’t say that crypto betting is ‘legal’ in most nations in the Americas, it doesn’t appear to be ‘illegal’ either.

Europe

Crypto is legal in virtually every European nation, although Russia, Kosovo, and Ukraine are among those with restrictions of some sort.

Europe is also home to many of the best-known online gambling jurisdictions, including Malta, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, and Alderney. Overall, few European nations don’t permit online gaming of some type.

Indeed, Europe is one of the least restrictive regions regarding crypto gambling legality. However, some nations have imposed strict regulations. In the United Kingdom, for example, BTC gambling casinos must prove they can satisfy certain requirements relating to their source of funds before applying for licensing.

Asia

Cryptocurrency is illegal in several Asian countries, including Afghanistan, China, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Many more nations, such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia, have restrictions.

Indonesia, the fourth largest nation on Earth by population, has a full ban on gambling. Bangladesh, Taiwan, and several countries in the Middle East, such as the UAE, also prohibit betting.

However, you should find it possible to gamble with crypto legally in a few places, such as Japan and the Philippines. Interestingly, even major gambling meccas such as Hong Kong and Macau don’t permit online betting.

Africa

Finding information on crypto legality in Africa is challenging, although we know it is illegal in Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco. While its use is permitted in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, there is a banking ban. Digital currency is legal in South Africa, Angola, and Mauritius.

Unfortunately, for anyone living in Africa who wants to gamble online, the practice is outlawed in most countries. Exceptions include South Africa, Mauritius, and Kenya. There is also limited online gambling allowed in Ivory Coast and Cape Verde.

Australia & New Zealand

There is better news for residents of Australia and New Zealand who are free to engage in crypto gambling. Both nations allow the use of digital currency and permit online gambling. However, while Australians are free to use overseas providers, New Zealanders are not. In NZ, residents can only use online gambling sites based in the country that the government regulates.

Where Is Crypto Gambling Legal? It Depends!

Technically, there are no specific laws surrounding cryptocurrency gambling itself. You must look into your region’s laws regarding crypto and gambling separately. If either practice is illegal, you should not attempt to gamble online using crypto.

It will almost certainly take many years for laws specifically relating to crypto betting to be made. Until then, individuals interested in pursuing this pastime must keep abreast of their local laws relating to gambling and cryptocurrency.

Should you elect to proceed, please conduct thorough research to ensure the crypto-betting site of your choosing is legitimate.

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Patrick Lynch
Patrick Lynch
Sports & Casino Expert

Patrick has been a professional writer since 2009. He knows the issues players face when trying to find reputable casinos and performs forensic analysis on every site he reviews. Since joining in 2021, Patrick has had his eyes opened by the potential of the cryptocurrency market. With a background in sports betting, he realizes the possibilities afforded to successful bettors when using digital currency.