Bitcoin’s venture into the UK online betting market was foreshadowed by the UK Gambling Commission in August, when the regulatory body included a first-ever reference to “digital currencies” in its updated License Conditions and Codes of Practice.
NetBet customers are now able to deposit and withdraw funds in the digital currency on their computer, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or other iOS and Android device. That is a major boost for the online gaming operator, which is hoping to tap into the expanding Bitcoin user base in the UK. It also gives the company an edge over rival bookmakers in an increasingly cluttered online betting market.
Payment providers such as BitPay, which are eager to highlight the protection against online fraud that Bitcoin provides to customers, are looking to increase Bitcoin’s presence in European online betting circles.
The virtual currency remains a novelty to sports bettors in Europe, which rests in contrast to other regions that have a fledgling online gambling market. In the United States, for example, Bitcoin is accepted by U.S. sports betting and online casino merchants such as Bovada, 5Dimes and BetOnline. Numerous companies also conduct transactions with Bitcoin, including globally renowned brands such as Microsoft, Dell, Virgin Galactic and Expedia.
While it remains to be seen just what kind of success it will enjoy in the UK and European online betting markets, the NetBet move is likely to pave the way for more UK bookmakers to process transactions using Bitcoin.