The cyber currency Bitcoin triggers controversy about its use and its monetary value in industries including online gambling
Bitcoin, the cyber currency which is used on online gambling sites in Spain and in other industries worldwide is now the center of a hot debate. The debate started when a Spanish law firm Abanlex consulted the Spanish Treasury to help define whether Bitcoin is to be seen as a legal tender or not.
Abanlex further played devil’s advocate in wondering if it were to be considered as money, albeit virtual, then would it mean that government would require gambling operators to obtain licenses. Also, would the benefits generate tax revenues?
The answer was yes. The Treasury said that technically, Bitcoin, considered as a crypto currency, uses its services in gambling transaction. Therefore, all gaming operators wishing to use Bitcoin, will need to acquire both a general betting license and the corresponding singular license.
Bitcoin’s bitter end or new beginning?
This further entails that Bitcoin can be converted into dollars, euros, be it real or virtual. Countries like Britain, Australia, Finland and the Netherlands who use Bitcoin too would have to consider taxing all cyber currencies under a VAT system or other ‘equivalent sales-based levies’.
Abanlex then went on to debate on the ambivalence of the Treasury’s response. It argued that if Bitcoin is considered as money under the Spanish gambling laws then other laws must take this into consideration. The Abanlex spokesman was making reference to laws governing money laundering, terrorist activity and cash restrictions.
If put into effect, players wishing to remain anonymous, would be deterred from using Bitcoin, although states like the Spanish government would be eager to have tax Bitcoin’s revenues. As Bitcoin’s popularity increases worldwide and Bitcoin automatic teller machines a near reality, the debate may not end any time soon.