Bitcoin Vetoed as a Banking Method for MGA Licensed Casinos
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) licenses a number of reputable, respected online casinos that welcome Australians, and have earned themselves a reputation as being one of the best regulators in the industry. With the popularity of online cryptocurrencies on the rise, the MGA has been called on to consider allowing the casinos they license to accept Bitcoin, but to date, they have declined.
Joseph Cushieri, the MGA Regulatory Chief has said that Bitcoin, and while on the topic any crypto or cyber currency, remains too risky to approve presently, although they do remain open to the possibility that this may change in the future and would be prepared to relook the option at a later date. Any future relook will include consideration of collaborating with financial and banking authorities and if the decision is reversed, it won’t be done so without careful care and extensive research.
The news that the MGA won’t allow the casinos it licensed to accept Bitcoin comes in the wake of indications that the UK Gambling Commission has approved the use of cyber currencies by its licensees. However, Joseph Cushieri has revealed that the Authority has had very few Bitcoin authorisation requests from casino operators that hold a license in the Malta jurisdiction, and in an interview with a local Malta newspaper he stated that although they were monitoring developments with cryptocurrencies, there was no immediate plan to accept them. The MGA works closely with the Central Bank of Malta, the local Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the Malta Financial Services Authority and they certainly are well informed as to what is going on, both in the casino industry and with cryptocurrency developments.
A major concern for the MGA is the risks that cryptocurrencies pose, as they are not regulated and there is little to no control over their use. Virtual currencies are not tied to a bank in any country and if anything untoward were to happen, players would have little to no comeback. For players, cryptocurrencies offer several benefits, the biggest being Bitcoin et al providing a completely anonymous way of transacting and this is very appealing to many.
In time the MGA may rethink its stance on not allowing its licensees to accept cyber currencies, but as one of the most trusted regulators world wide, their decision stands and it remains, as they see it, in the best interests of players.