While the use of Bitcoin for online gambling transactions is popular in many parts of the world, those that gamble online in Germany are looking to cryptocurrency in growing numbers as the government cracks down on other common forms of payment ahead of a new online gambling law scheduled to take effect next year.
Looking beyond the debate over whether Germany’s online gambling restrictions are actually legal given they are in contravention of European Union law, the government has been taking steps to curb online gambling in the country by enacting restrictions on financial transactions, a common method for limiting the access to online gambling used around the world including the US.
But with the emergence of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, those that want to gamble online have options to move money on and off of their favorite online casinos, and the number of people opting for those alternative payment solutions is growing with every new restriction on more traditional payment methods.
The latest restriction comes from Visa, who in May alerted payment processors in the country that they are no longer allowed to process transactions related to for illegal online casinos.
It is suspected that pressure from gaming regulators in Germany has been driving the new limitations on processing payments related to online gambling.
In October, global e-wallet PayPal halted online casino transactions in Germany after what is believed to have been a threatened with sanctions by the German state of Lower Saxony. The state had previously announced that it had privately warned a large global payment processor to stop accepting transactions to and from online gambling operators.
In recent months, large international online gaming companies that still serve Germany – under what they perceive as a loophole in the law – have had to drop deposit and withdrawal options for PayPal and now a large number of major credit cards.
And with the options for online gamblers at fully regulated international online gaming providers shrinking, Bitcoin casinos are popping up to fill the demand of those still looking to gamble online in the country.
Sure there are other payment options available in the country such as Amazon Pay, Neteller and Apple Pay, but those options may have some restrictions of their own (or may be the next target of the German government’s crackdown) when it comes to online gaming.
And so for now, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are rising in popularity in the country, a trend that could reduce the effectiveness of the regulations that are expected to be enacted in July 2021.
One of the biggest justifications for regulating online gaming is to protect consumers, but in order to do that, those consumers must stop utilizing the services of illegal operators and be channeled to the regulated sites that are held accountable by the government.
But humans are creatures of habit, and online gamblers that are using Bitcoin casinos now – until more traditional forms of payment processing return to the big name operators – may find that they would rather stay at the casino they have grown to know and like instead of patronizing the casinos that could no longer meet their needs in 2020.