Saturday, April 30, 2016 : ISLE OF MAN REGULATOR MULLS DIGITAL CURRENCIES
 
Officials are considering regulatory changes to allow gambling services to accept digital currencies.
 
With the continued increase in the use of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin in online gambling transactions, the publication CoinDesk reports that regulators on the Isle of Man are currently weighing regulatory changes that would allow gambling services to accept digital currencies “as if they were cash”, to ensure that the regulations remain relevant and watertight.
 
The CoinDesk report claims that the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) wants to tweak the definition of “the deposit of money” currently on the books to include “the deposit of something which has a value in money or money’s worth”, which would cover digital currencies.
 
Mark Rutherford, deputy chief executive of the GSC, told CoinDesk that the move addresses “a small hook in our gambling law” – but one not necessarily being driven by demand from licensees.
 
According to Rutherford, there are presently no applications to offer gambling denominated in digital currencies. At the same time, he said, the Isle of Man government doesn’t want to impede any future economic development or technology innovation.
 
“We’re ironing that out so that if the commercial climate in the future becomes less challenging for block-chain based payment channels, it won’t be our law that prevents their adoption…notwithstanding our Commission will have the final say on whether any given technology can be used,” he said.
 
CoinDesk notes that last May, the Isle of Man made headlines when it announced that it had launched a blockchain trial in partnership with a local startup called Pythia.
 
"The island’s Department of Economic Development has long sought a proactive stance on digital currencies, becoming an early mover in updating its regulations to account for the technology. Just over a year ago, the local government moved to bring domestic digital currency startups under the auspices of its anti-money laundering regulation," the publication reports.