Isle of Man Regulator Seeks Rule Change to Ease Bitcoin Gambling

The government of the Isle of Man is looking to plug a gap in its gambling regulations as they relate to bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Officials are currently weighing regulatory changes that would allow gambling services to accept digital currencies “as if they were cash”.

Specifically, the Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) wants to tweak the definition of “the deposit of money” currently on the books to include “the deposit of something which has a value in money or money’s worth”, which would cover digital currencies.

Mark Rutherford, deputy chief executive of the GSC, told CoinDesk that the move addresses “a small hook in our gambling law” – but one not necessarily being driven by demand from licensees.

According to Rutherford, no one is currently seeking approval to offer gambling denominated in digital currencies. He attributed this, in part, to the “significant challenges for any operator” looking to offer such services.

At the same time, he said, the Isle of Man government doesn’t want to impede any future economic development or technology innovation – hence, the move to plug the regulatory gap.

He explained:

“We’re ironing that out so that if the commercial climate in the future becomes less challenging for block-chain based payment channels, it won’t be our law that prevents their adoption (notwithstanding our Commission will have the final say on whether any given technology can be used.)”

Last May, the quasi-independent Isle of Man made headlines when it announced that it had launched a blockchain trial in partnership with a local startup called Pythia.

The island’s Department of Economic Development has long sought a proactive stance on digital currencies, becoming an early mover in updating its regulations to account for the technology. Just over a year ago, the local government moved to bring domestic digital currency startups under the auspices of its anti-money laundering regulation.

Image via Shutterstock


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