Gambling continues to be a lucrative market today, especially with the growing casino industry in Asia designed for entertainment and tourism. In this region, the Chinese market records the most significant figures, thanks to what was once called the world’s top gambling hub, Macau.
The multibillion-dollar industry in the small peninsula opened Asia to become the newest gambling destination, thereby creating the irony of gambling success in a restrictive setting. While gambling remains to be regulated and online gambling challenged by laws and policies, it is interesting to question where Bitcoin gambling is situated in the picture, or if it even has a place in the Asian gambling market.
Is it a dead end for Bitcoin bets in Singapore?
Singaporeans and expatriates enjoyed the unregulated online gambling market in the past years. There were no clear laws concerning betting on casinos and bookmakers on the web, which allowed gambling enthusiasts to indulge in the latest forms of betting: web and mobile.
The gray area online gambling was in proved to be an ideal setup for bettors who prefer to wager bitcoins on games.
Singapore is accepting of Bitcoin and recognizes it as a good or asset, which subjects transactions to taxes. It even regulates Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency exchanges as well as ATMs operating in the country. However, Bitcoin gambling in Singapore may have just reached a barrier when the Remote Gambling Act was updated in October 2014.
Since February this year, online gambling—whether through web or mobile devices—is illegal, provided that it involves paying fees and receiving winnings from a casino-like game.
In fact, SBOBet and IBCBet are two gambling sites that already restrict Singaporean players in compliance with the law. Other websites are believed to follow suit. The big question now is if Bitcoin-operated gambling platforms in the region like OLE Bitcoin (formerly SBOBitcoin) will adopt this change.
The law covers all online gambling sites, but does it include Bitcoin as a form of payment, given that is merely a good and not a currency? Will individuals who play Bitcoin casino in Singapore be penalized, then?
While this only blurs the line even further for Bitcoin gambling in Singapore, operators must take note of the heavy penalties to be imposed on offshore operators caught providing services to local residents. They may be fined $500,000 and jailed for up to seven years.
Hong Kong has a Bitcoin gambling-friendlier market
Hong Kong authorities cleared that the Lion City will not be as strict as Singapore is toward online gambling, and therefore, will not block any one’s Internet access nor result in a series of blocked Bitcoin websites. The law, however, will punish unauthorized online gambling operators based in Hong Kong.
Granted that local residents may place bets on offshore casinos without violating any policy, Hong Kong gambling with Bitcoin may just have a bright future.
When it comes to Bitcoin, however, the city is still observing the impact it will have on its economy; thus, a legislation to regulate the cryptocurrency is still yet to be penned.
Those who wish to play Bitcoin casino in Hong Kong may check out the established gambling sites online or wager on sports also offered by OLE Bitcoin.
Asian markets may soon define Bitcoin gambling legality
While the majority of the Asian markets have existing gambling laws, policies that regulate Bitcoin are yet to be drafted. This serves both as a blessing in disguise and hurdle since a concrete structure that delimits the use of Bitcoin is still not in place.
However, this may soon change as Bitcoin regulations like in Canada and New York may influence how Singapore, China, and the rest of the Asian countries may behave toward Bitcoin. What will result from this, therefore, will dictate the future of Bitcoin gambling in Asia.