Another Casino Licensing Jurisdiction Mauls Over Bitcoin Legalization

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Less than a month after Japan officially recognized Bitcoins and triggered a major price uptick and a short while after the Russian government radically changed their stance on the cryptocurrency, another government is considering making Bitcoins legal. But this time, it’s’ the Caribbean twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, where a number of online casinos are licensed.

Namely, according to local news portal Antigua Observer, the government of Antigua and Barbuda is looking to draft a new law that would address the use of Bitcoin in the country. However, unlike other nations that are drafting laws to hinder the use of the cryptocurrency, sort to speak, the local government of Antigua and Barbuda is looking to put the island on the forefronts of Bitcoin technology.

Government Looking to Revive the Online Casino Industry

The idea to draft a new law, according to the news portal, comes after a meeting of the local Cabinet with a group that holds ties with the Antigua Leisure and Gaming Association (ALGA) – the new gaming industry body that recently showed an imitative to restore Antigua’s former glory of being a top licensing jurisdiction for online casinos.

After mulling over the benefits of using Bitcoin as a payment method for services and goods, the Cabinet decided to approve the idea of a legislative change and has appointed Attorney general Benjamin Steadroy to draft the new legislation. In a Cabinet briefing on April 27th, Chet Greene, the Minister of Trade and Consumer Affairs, said it was because the island nation has always been the trendsetter in the Caribbean.

Speaking of Bitcoin, Greene told the press that the cryptocurrency has become “immutable”, which would allow for better traceability that would help the government fight off the criticism of Antigua & Barbuda being a tax haven. But the bigger picture, apart from putting a stop to money laundering allegations, will be a boost to the weakened iGaming sector in the area.

As Greene puts it, Bitcoin also benefits the nation in terms of the Internet Gaming Sector, as it will allow the jurisdiction to respond to the licensing concerns raised by the “global environment”.

A Former Leader in the iGaming Sector

In the early days of online casino games, Antigua was one of the few trusted jurisdictions to which online casino operators turned for a license. In the heydays of the licensing hub, there were around 200 different operators registered under the jurisdiction – a number that’s drastically decreased to less than 10 casinos thanks to a decade-long decline triggered by the ever-improving competition.

However, the new licensing authority, ALGA, now believes that it’s never too late to turn things around and put Antigua back on the map of trusted licensing countries. And one of the several aspects where ALGA saw room for improvements, apart from improving taxation and licensing policies, was the implementation of Bitcoin.

It’s also interesting to note that the decision to jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon comes at a time when another licensing hub, Malta, is also voicing openness to the idea of legalizing Bitcoin. If both countries do accept it, it is expected to lead to more licensed Bitcoin casinos, rather than only price surges.

May 3, 2017: • No Comments

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