A big percentage of bitcoin’s transactions are in one way or another related to gambling. This comes as no surprise, as bitcoin’s lack of real world identity and overall network neutrality means that there cannot be any interruption between players and gambling platforms.
Back in 2013, it was assumed by researchers, that online gambling accounted for nearly half of bitcoin’s transactions. While no more light has been shed on the topic since that time, it’s reasonable to assume that bitcoin gambling has grown ever since. However, with fees rising and consequently transactions becoming more expensive, off chain gambling was popularised, making it harder to monitor the percentage of bitcoin transactions related to gambling.
With the assumption that bitcoin gambling grew along with bitcoin’s economy, but being unable to calculate by how much, one could say that gambling is no longer an as important part of bitcoin as it used to be in 2013. Things have sure changed since bitcoin first started to be popularized, but stricter regulation might be bringing those usecases back.
While online gambling has through the years continued to be mostly illegal in the US, citizens with an aversion to taking maximum risks with their funds in the form of gambling started reaping the benefits of bitcoin as an immutable currency from early on. Even before bitcoin reached the mainstream, free and unrestricted gambling was a feature offered by many unregistered platforms thanks to it.
Now, with regulation getting stricter and governments tightening their control over the online activities of citizens, a second wave of adoption for bitcoin gambling could be coming soon. A few examples include Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic. All three countries recently implemented blocking through local ISPs to circumvent traffic away from internationally operating and unlicensed gambling websites.
With Poland being the one implementing a more strict block along with restrictions for fiat gambling platforms to operate legally on a local level, there’s now an ever growing list of banned websites that currently includes more than 900 addresses.
Bitcoin certainly has the potential to help users avoid regulation by being able to transfer funds to crypto gambling websites without local governments noticing. But more importantly, it’s harder for governments to implement any effective regulation for websites operating with bitcoin. Not only is it almost impossible to trace and intervene funds, there’s also no way for governments to legally cut off the operators from servicing users under a country’s jurisdiction.
Aside of bitcoin’s novelty that still serves as great defence against lawmakers, as long as the parties operating an online web space can not be physically affected by a country’s law enforcement, the operation of the platform remains safe and government interference unlikely.
With the trend of increasing regulation for fiat online gambling conquering the rest of Europe slowly, more and more platforms could be resorting to bitcoin to resume their operations and soon we might be seeing a wave for adoption from gamblers affected by government blocks.