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Bitcoin Pizza Day: The Day Pizza and BTC Changed the World
Shane Addinall posted a post in BlogBitcoin is a household name that is recognised by just about everyone around the world. But in 2010, that wasn’t the case. BTC was still a minor blip on the crypto radar. However, it wasn’t long before that would change, all because of a fun interaction and a crazy idea about buying pizza. This was a strange but fascinating request from Laszlo Hanyecz that was left hanging for nearly a full day on the BitcoinTalk.org forum. After a few less-than-helpful exchanges between Laszlo and curious pessimists, he proudly announced, "I just want to report that I successfully traded 10,000 Bitcoins for pizza" on the 22nd of May 2010, with pictures as proof. It sounds crazy, but this bizarre exchange is known to be the first real-world transaction made with Bitcoin, which led to the birth of a tradition called Bitcoin Pizza Day. Bitcoin Pizza Day: A Slice of History On May 22, crypto enthusiasts worldwide come together to celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day. This holiday commemorates the first-ever real-world purchase bought with Bitcoin. The story goes back to 2010 when Laszlo Hanyecz, a programmer and early Bitcoin adopter, made an extraordinary offer on the Bitcointalk forum. Hanyecz was willing to trade a whopping 10,000 bitcoins for two large pizzas, setting in motion a now historical event. Imagine this, trading something that is unseen, unknown, and unheard of for a couple of regular pizzas. At the time, many believed it was a crazy idea that didn't merit consideration. Little did they know it would kickstart a decentralised finance revolution that would sweep the planet! The Quest For Pizza… And Toppings! Hanyecz's post on the forum was simple but enticing. He wanted two large pizzas delivered to his doorstep in exchange for Bitcoin. Laszlo even made sure to specify his preferences for toppings, emphasising his fondness for common ingredients: He also mentioned his appreciation for regular cheese pizzas, "which may be cheaper to prepare or otherwise acquire." This addition to his request makes the whole event even funnier, especially considering how many more pizzas he could have enjoyed today if he had held onto his precious Bitcoin. The Value of the Bitcoin in 2010 At the actual time of this fascinating transaction, the value of 10,000 bitcoins was relatively low. In fact, according to some estimates, Hanyecz could have exchanged his Bitcoins for a meagre $41. This fact puts the price per bitcoin at a mere $0.004, highlighting how early this transaction occurred in Bitcoin's history. To Hanyecz's surprise, his offer was met with a response from Jeremy "Jercos" Sturdivant, another Bitcoin user. Sturdivant agreed to the trade, and the deal was sealed. Two Papa John's pizzas made their way to Hanyecz's home, making history as the first documented commercial transaction with Bitcoin. Beyond the First Two Pizzas: Play It Again, Sam! While the story of Hanyecz's purchase of two pizzas is well-known, an interesting aspect often goes unnoticed. This unconventional purchase was not a once-off event. Laszlo repeated this exchange several times, multiplying the value of the Bitcoins he spent. Focusing on this overlooked detail becomes a unique and exciting aspect of Bitcoin Pizza Day. Laszlo's repeated exchanges highlight the potential and innovative spirit of Bitcoin users. The remarkable growth in Bitcoin's value over the years adds an element of unparalleled excitement to this day. Fast forward to today, and the value of those 10,000 Bitcoins Laszlo used to purchase the pizzas would be worth a staggering $690 million. This unconventional and pioneering approach by Laszlo adds an extra layer of intrigue to Bitcoin Pizza Day. Bitcoin Pizza Day is a momentous occasion that celebrates the transformative power of cryptocurrency. Exciting Events and Pizza Celebrations Bitcoin Pizza Day is not just about reminiscing over past transactions. It has evolved into a vibrant celebration with various in-person and online events. Binance, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, hosts a range of activities to mark the occasion. In-person events include a pizza-making contest in Naples, Italy, the birthplace of pizza. Attendees can enjoy their own Binance pizza and participate in a community meetup in locations like Cambodia, Uruguay, Argentina, and Mexico. Binance Pizza vans also make appearances in Brazil, Bahrain, and Vietnam, offering free pizza to lucky participants. Online celebrations are equally thrilling, with Binance organising a Collect & Win campaign. Participants can trade, deposit funds, refer friends, and engage in social media activities to collect virtual pizzas. By completing the collection, participants have a chance to win a year's supply of pizza in Bitcoin. What started as a small pizza purchase in 2010 has grown into a global celebration, showcasing the adoption and acceptance of Bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment. Whether you attend in-person events or participate online, Bitcoin Pizza Day is an opportunity to engage with the thriving Bitcoin community, celebrate its history, and enjoy a slice of the digital revolution.
How to Safely Store and Protect Your Crypto Casino Wins
Shane Addinall posted a post in BlogWhen it comes to crypto gambling, there are many resources available to guide players on their journey. Here at GamblersPick, we have handy resources pertaining to the history of the crypto casino, how to gamble online with Bitcoin, and even one dedicated to Ethereum casinos and how they work. With the recent industry shakeup caused by the implosion of FTX, one of the most common questions we have been fielding from our community has been how to secure one’s portfolio best and protect it from being lost because of someone else’s bad decisions. To help our community begin their journey, we have highlighted some of the most common weaknesses in mass crypto hodling and outlined the steps you can take to secure your cryptocurrency for yourself. You Are Your Cryptos Best Security One of the challenges many first-time crypto buyers encounter is the false narrative that they need an exchange to secure their coinage. The essence of the crypto movement was that there is no need for intermediaries to secure your wealth for you – you control it so that you know how it is being used and by whom. As one crypto expert we interviewed noted: In this case, he was referring to the 12-word phrase (also known as a mnemonic) that acts as the master key to your crypto holding on the blockchain. Here is a quick self-assessment: If the answer to this simple question is "no", then your crypto is not as safe and secure as it needs to be. During the rest of this post, we will investigate why your holdings are not protected, how to secure them and which steps you can take next for total peace of mind. Why Custodial Wallets Are Risky We all understand that "custodial" relates to the "act of protecting or caring for". This is why when we say that a non-custodial wallet is the best option for securing your digital tokens, it sounds counter to what we are trying to achieve. What we are missing in this context is perspective. The perspective of the term “non-custodial” means that the duty protection does not sit with the company or platform you are using. Using a platform like Luno to store your crypto is not ideal because it is their platform, and you, therefore, abide by their rules. They are the custodians of your crypto. By making them the custodians, you relinquish control of your holding to them and need to abide by their rules. For example, activating the ability to send your Bitcoin to another wallet takes 24 hours with Luno. This means they can block you from managing your assets for one whole day if you need to do an urgent crypto transaction. Should a custodial wallet be shut down or go insolvent, there is a good chance you will lose your investment as they hold complete control over your wealth. How Do Non-Custodial Wallets Work? Even for non-tech savvy hodlers, the ideal solution is to store their Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and any altcoins they have invested in with a non-custodial wallet like Exodus. As the name infers, these platforms offer users an easy interface for buying, selling, and even trading cryptocurrencies without taking control or having any power to restrict them from being accessed. The most important aspect of a non-custodial wallet is that it stores your crypto directly on the blockchain (to take advantage of its enhanced security features) and then gives you the encrypted 12-word key to ensure that only you can access them. Engaging directly with the blockchain is the best way to ensure your coins are safe and secure. With the master key to your blockchain account safely stored away, there is no chance of being hacked. Given that the 12-word phrase is literally the key to your crypto kingdom, there are rules to securing it: Write it down by hand and store it in a safe place. Do not take a photo of it and store it on your phone, computer, or cloud storage device. Do not share it with someone else. The most important of all is not to lose it. The blockchain is so secure that it cannot be hacked, even by the non-custodial wallet platform you use. This is the only key to your treasure vault; protect it well but always know where it is. BIP39 Is Your Best Friend As a savvy investor, you have probably wondered, “What happens if the non-custodial wallet closes up shop?” After all, you are still using their platform to access your crypto. If their site is gone, how do you access your coins? The answer to this excellent question is a blockchain security protocol known as BIP39. The Bitcoin Improvement Proposal number 39, or BIP39 for short, is the process by which your random 12-word key is generated from a list of 2048 unique words that make up the BIP code list. If your chosen non-custodial wallet ever shuts down, thanks to the BIP39 process, you can open another account elsewhere and use the BIP39 phrase to access your blockchain-based account via that new platform. Remember, a non-custodial wallet is just a digital waiter bringing you what you need. When that waiter isn't available, use the services of a new one. It is still your account on the blockchain, with your funds. The wallet is just an access point. Double Down for Peace of Mind You know how to balance risk with reward as a crypto casino player. One of the most common advice regarding securing your digital currencies is to have a minimum of two non-custodial wallets. Even though you can always access your blockchain account, having two accounts from the start will make it quicker and easier to access your funds and move them into another active platform should the need arise. Some wallets also tend to focus on core lists of coins, meaning you will need more than one wallet to diversify your holdings. The adage of not keeping all your eggs in one basket seems as essential in today’s digital landscape as it did when they spoke of literal eggs. With your favourite digital currencies safe and secure, all that is left for you to do is find the best Bitcoin online casinos to join. Each of the sites we recommend has been thoroughly vetted, offers incredible Bitcoin and altcoin bonuses and has a strong reputation for fair play.
Fact or Myth? 7 Truths About Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
Shane Addinall posted a post in BlogWhen something seems foreign or complicated, or even just different from the mainstream, people tend to start rumours as they try to understand the unusual subject. These rumours often grow because other parties spread them, leading to damaging myths. The cryptocurrency industry fell prey to many tales with questionable origins and sources that do not hold expert credentials. Because of various events in the decentralised finance market, it has been easy for bystanders to accept various reports as facts. However, upon closer investigation, we discover these are nothing but rumours spread by misinformation. Let's jump in and bust some myths about cryptocurrency. Tongues Wagging Although cryptocurrency has been around for more than a decade, it only recently caught the attention of the masses and a few unfortunate events fuelled false information. Crypto technology is complicated and takes some tech know-how to understand. Because uninformed consumers showed interest in the decentralised finance (DeFi) market, opportunists tried, and in some cases succeeded, to pull the wool over people's eyes. These scammers duped people and caused vicious rumours about the industry. Fortunately, the crypto industry is much bigger than these isolated events, and the truth about DeFi is much brighter than rumours will have us believe. ✓ Myth #1 Cryptocurrency Transactions are Completely Anonymous If cryptocurrency transactions were completely anonymous, it would raise tremendous concerns for anti-money laundering and other anti-crime regulations in the financial sector. Full anonymity is as much a security threat as a lack of proper security protocols is, if not more. The blockchain technology used for cryptocurrency creation leaves a trail of information on a digital ledger. Along with the ledger records, crypto accounts require certain identification information when users sign up for an account. These are like standard KYC requirements when signing up for other digital financial accounts and include identity documents, proof of address information, and more personal details. The anonymity everyone raves about comes in with transacting. Crypto transfers from one platform to another offer anonymity because the account holder does not have to give their name and bank account details. This feature makes it an attractive option for online gamblers who worry about exposing their sensitive information. ✓ Myth #2 Bitcoin and Blockchain are One and the Same Some use cryptocurrency and blockchain interchangeably, but this is an incorrect way to refer to Bitcoin and other crypto coins. Here are a few definitions to clarify the relationship between cryptocurrency and blockchain. Blockchain: Technology that works on a decentralised digital ledger of peer-to-peer networks allowing network participants to confirm transactions. Blockchain transactions cover more than cryptocurrencies and describe how data is processed and stored. Cryptocurrency: Today, there are thousands of cryptocurrencies, and these digital or virtual currencies are secured by cryptography built on blockchains. This means it is nearly impossible to make counterfeit coins and most argue that the decentralised nature of cryptocurrency renders it immune to government interference or manipulation. Bitcoin: This was the original cryptocurrency that started it all. Since its launch in 2009, thousands of other cryptocurrencies have joined the decentralised finance market. Today, many digital coins are used for purchasing goods, while others remain a means of storing wealth. As explained above, Bitcoin and blockchain are different because Bitcoin is merely one of the results of blockchain technology. Blockchain offers an array of applications, and iGaming providers use it to provide provably casino games and more. ✓ Myth #3 Cryptocurrency is a Bubble Bound to Pop Referring to DeFi as a bubble means exuberant market behaviour that is bound to crash drives the value of crypto. Economic bubbles include fast inflation followed by swift drops in value, all happening over a relatively short period. The major characteristic of a bubble is that it pops, and the critics who still believe cryptocurrency is a bubble have been waiting for this to happen for over a decade. In reality, cryptocurrencies have experienced countless ups and downs, with Bitcoin having the longest history on the market with the biggest spikes and drops. However, crypto market values are highly volatile, and many consider any investment in digital coins speculative. Other investment professionals ascribe the oscillations of Bitcoin and other DeFi coins to the natural circumstances of a young market. Crash games like Bustabit and Space XY came to be thanks to those who enjoy the exhilarating thrill of stock markets. These games portray the spike of a bullish market, and players need to cash out before the tides turn to a bear market drop. Stock markets have always experienced rising, and crashing curves and the crypto market is no different. ✓ Myth #4 There is No Real-World Use for Crypto Because cryptocurrency exists in the digital world, many find it hard to conceive where DeFi has a place in the physical world. This concept has many believing the myth that digital coins have no real-world uses. Digital coins have trade value in some areas of the real world, but the challenge lies with which coin you choose and what you want to get in return. One Bitcoin has an extremely high value, $20,005 at the time of writing, making it difficult to purchase everyday consumables. On the other hand, countless coins with much lower market values and those pegged to fiat currency, like Tether USD and Binance USD, carry similar values to the Dollar. This has allowed service providers to accept digital coins as payment for products and services rendered. Another key aspect of digital coins is their immunity to inflation which makes some coins akin to commodities like gold. Therefore, individuals and companies have funnelled millions of dollars into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to store assets. A recent addition to online gambling is crypto casinos, allowing players to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrency. ✓ Myth #5 Crypto Trading is Akin to Gambling Some critics refer to crypto trading as gambling because of the major fluctuations experienced in the market. As mentioned above, this is a natural occurrence with immature markets, and the influx of coins and stakeholders will settle at some point. Most gambling games are driven by chance, and smart gamblers play the odds. When people compare crypto trading to gambling, they might have a point that a bear market may be lurking, but it is not entirely true. Games of chance rely on random number generators to determine the outcome and trigger a win, and stock markets are far more complex and much less random. Adding cryptocurrency to your investment portfolio would mean taking a high-risk approach, but crypto trading would be more in-line with a game of skilled gambling than a slot machine. ✓ Myth #6 Some Coins have Carbon-Intensive Footprints Some members of society have massive influence, and by some, we mean Elon Musk. As the face and voice of Tesla and Space-X, the billionaire has the attention of the masses, and when he made a U-turn on his offer to accept Bitcoin for Tesla purchases, his followers paid attention. According to Musk, executives at Tesla, and environmentalists, mining Bitcoin and other digital currencies place too much stress on the electricity grid. Because digital currency is mined online and requires computer hardware for storage, the argument stands that cryptocurrency has a very high carbon footprint. The trouble with this argument is that traditional finance (TradFi) is the only current option to pay for goods and services. The electricity required in TradFi transactions requires far more carbon-intensive processes. Recent studies concluded that DeFi mining and storing is much more power efficient and environmentally friendly than gold mining and traditional banking, which includes physically printing currency. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Bitcoin mining relies greatly on alternative energy sources like solar, wind and hydro. ✓ Myth #7 Cryptocurrency is for Criminals and Anarchic Folk Another myth that keeps weary consumers away from cryptocurrency is that criminals use it for laundering money and funding crime. Others say that only conspiracy theorists who believe in coming anarchy invest in crypto. Both theories have holes, and when debated with logical facts, they crumble. The first assumption comes from the misconception that crypto traders and investors are 100% anonymous, which we addressed above. Unfortunately, there are opportunists in every part of the financial market, and invariably some criminals use whatever means they have access to for their schemes and plots. Fortunately, statistics support that many more prefer fiat currency for their dubious deeds, and even on the dark web, a fraction of the financial crimes are in cryptocurrency. As for the idea that digital currencies are only attractive to those who believe a future involving Mad Max vibes is imminent, current adoption rates crush this thought. Industry experts advise that the current rate at which consumers buy into crypto exceeds the adoption rate of the internet in its early years. The question we should rather ask is how quickly it will become mainstream. Focusing on Facts and the Future Perhaps these bring you closer to understanding what cryptocurrency is and what the future looks like with digital currency. With consumer adoption rates rising and more world leaders speaking about regulating crypto, it is clear that it is here to stay. Once we figure out how to use it to our everyday advantage, the rest will be history.
Online Gambling in Asia: The Challenges and Opportunities
Shane Addinall posted a post in BlogOn paper, the Asian market would appear to be one of the highest untapped online gambling markets currently in existence. It covers approximately 60% of the world’s population, boasts highly educated people with easy access to the latest technology and in many cases an impressive amount of disposable income. However, due to religious and political regions, many Asian countries hold a negative view of gambling in any form, only allowing it at land-based venues to make more money off their foreign visitors. To gain a better understanding of the specific views of major regions, what they currently allow and what developments are in the pipeline we discuss Asia under three headings: Asia’s Shining Stars: regions where gambling is thriving Diamonds in the Rough: regions most likely to allow online gambling Here Be Dragons: regions where all gambling is banned These heading refer to the region’s stance on gambling, whether they are open to online gambling or not will be discussed as part of its review. Asia’s Shining Stars While gambling faces opposition across most of Asia there are two regions where the pastime is welcome with open arms, Macau, and the Philippines. ✓Macau Macau (also correctly spelt Macao) is the hub of Asian gambling, often being referred to as the Las Vegas of East. Though while Las Vegas might have Macau beat when it comes to landmass the former Portuguese colony has been known to generate three times the revenue of Vegas, reaching nearly $30 billion in 2019. In addition to being a global tourist destination, Macau also serves as China’s gambling outlet. While gambling in China is strictly forbidden its citizens may travel to Macau to gamble without fear of reprisal. While gambling in Macau is open to all who land there the one area where there is still some resistance to online gambling. Much of this resistance is thought to be since so many Chinese business people gamble in Macau and the Chinese government concerns about controlling what its citizens do online. ✓Philippines When it comes to noteworthy eCommerce markets the Philippines is unlikely to make your top list however market research proves that this is an up and coming online sales hot spot. A recent market forecast report by Statista shows that online sales in the Philippines should surpass the $5 billion mark by the end of 2021. This sizeable investment in online retail is not purely from a small segment of big spenders. GlobalWebIndex reported that of the 110 million people living in the Philippines more than 69 million are regular internet users with 75% of those aged between 16 and 64 already active online shoppers. This bodes well for the potential of online gambling when one considers that not only does the Philippines have a well-regulated gambling economy, but it allows offshore casino operators to offer online slots and other casino games to Filipino players. There is some confusion regarding holding a Filipino license since two options are on offer. The country’s two gambling boards, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), each offer their own license. However, neither license allows the licensee to offer casino games within the border of the country. In an ideal world, PAGCOR and CEZA can create a joint license agreement that allows the operation of an online casino within the Philippines that can also target Filipino players. For now, offshore casinos are free to reap the benefits of the Filipino love of online shopping and entertainment. Diamonds In The Rough These Asian gambling jurisdictions may offer casino games but only under heavily restricted circumstances. While they are not free gambling markets with their proverbial “toe in the water” they are best positioned to pivot to an open-license system. ✓Hong Kong As with Macau, Hong Kong is seen as an administrative region of China. This means that while the region is afforded some level of autonomy China feels empowered to step in and change or amend laws as they see fit. This has led to Hong Kong having a thriving local gambling market where players over the age of 18 can gamble at any of the country’s approved venues. All land-based betting in Hong Kong falls under the monopoly of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. To enjoy a night playing blackjack, roulette or even the slots one will have to board a dedicated gambling cruise ship which then goes out beyond the island’s legal territory before any casino gambling can take place. Online gambling is once again heavily restricted due to China’s influence over Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong is currently undergoing a resurgence in the call for its independence from China. Should they succeed, this could see the online casino market become a key player in their financial growth. ✓India India is one of those territories that holds a lot of potential for offshore casino operators despite gambling being illegal in the country. The reason for this is their lack of clarity in formulating their laws. India’s Public Gambling Act (1867) and Prize Competition Act (1955) in no way address online gambling due to the era in which they were composed. Despite this, they are still the applicable gambling laws in the country. The government did write the Information Technology Act of 2000 into law however this fails to define either gambling or online gambling and does not specifically address whether games of chance or games of skill are legal or illegal. With a growing middle class, large scale internet penetration (specifically amongst mobile users) and a population of 1.3 billion adults (over 18 years of age) India is one of the hottest online gambling markets in the world. ✓Japan Historically gambling in Japan has been frowned upon as it was seen as a wasteful way to risk hard-earned money or property. However, in 2018 the government approved a change in the local laws which would allow for the development of three integrated casino resorts (IR). The recent plans to break ground on the first IR in Yokohama later this year came to a grinding halt when anti-casino mayoral candidate Takeharu Yamanaka won the election. However, there are still four other cities, Tokyo, Nagasaki, Osaka, and Wakayama, which are open to being the first casino resort in Japan. While it is early days for casino gambling in Japan the legalisation of a once-banned activity is a massive step in the right direction. And with casino operators such as Melco Resorts and Entertainment, Sega Sammy Holdings Inc, Shotoku Corp, and Genting, Singapore Ltd pushing the development ahead we are hopeful for the inclusion of an online casino app in their roadmap. ✓Vietnam Following Japan’s lead 2018 also saw Vietnam unexpectedly legalise betting on greyhound and horse races, begin accepting bets on soccer matches and open several land-based casinos to serve foreign visitors. The country is also currently testing the viability of allowing locals to gamble in these casinos given that they meet certain criteria such as a minimum income threshold. Given the country’s history of severely restricting gambling and punishing those who contravene its laws, this is a major breakthrough for the industry in Vietnam. While there is no specific intention to address online gambling in the immediate future, we are hopeful that the local gambling authority will view online and mobile casinos as a natural technological extension of its land-based casino development. Here Be Dragons There are several Asian territories where online gambling in any form is simply not looking to make any headway. These regions include: China Taiwan South Korea Malaysia These bastions of human rights and freedom are known to take punitive measures against citizens who gamble either online or offline, including prison time, heavy fines and even blacklisting at local financial institutions. Cryptocurrency and Gambling in Asia One of the game-changing new technologies for online gambling in restrictive Asian markets has the development and adoption of cryptocurrencies. When it comes to gambling with Bitcoin these casino fans finally have a way to get around the local government policies that block their ability to make deposits or request withdrawals when playing online. However, it is not only the those looking to circumvent local gambling regulation who are looking to Bitcoin and its peers. Asian markets that offer legal online gambling are considering the adoption of cryptocurrencies to reduce costs, offer safer and more secure gambling transactions and appeal to foreign gamblers once they leave the country and head home. It is expected that markets like the Philippines who have such an active eCommerce market could lead the way in gambling with crypto as local users begin to adopt altcoins and stable coins for daily online purchases. Where To From Here? While the road to a fully licensed and regulated Asian gambling market is a long and bumpy one there are some amazing developments with once hard locked regions opening their doors to casinos – even if only for foreign passport holders. Yet as these regions become comfortable with the idea of gambling, can prove that it does not undermine the fabric of their culture, and begins to add to the government’s coffers, there is hope for adoption to speed up. The more Asian countries become pro-gambling, the more opportunities it presents for online gambling to take hold and flourish.
The Silent French War Against Online Casino Regulation
Shane Addinall posted a post in BlogAs lifelong fans of gambling and in particular online gambling it is fantastic to see how many countries are adopting a positive stance towards the hobby. Even if a region does not currently allow local licensing and advertising opportunities, they tend to adopt a ‘no harm, no foul’ approach which allows players to gamble at offshore casinos without any legislative requirements. In a 2021 review of the legal online gambling landscape Slotegrator reported that gambling regulation falls into one of four distinct categories: Those where gambling websites must be licensed by the local regulator (32 countries) Those where only local gaming sites need a license, not foreign sites (32 Countries) Those where online gambling is prohibited, but no legal action is taken against play at foreign sites (28 countries) Those where there are no gambling restrictions at all (93 countries) When looking at the European Union in the context of these categories is becomes clear that the majority of the member states have adopted or are investigating a multi-license regime. ✓EU Free Trade Supports Gambling Regulation For those who are unfamiliar with how the European Union works simply put it is an agreement between 27 member countries that make up most of continental Europe that aim to promote economic and political unity. As a response to the devastating impact of World War 2 on Europe, the European Economic Community (EEC) was created in 1958 to foster financial dependencies. The logic being that when countries are reliant on one another for trade the likelihood of aggression declines. According to a report by the EU Commission in 2021 “82% of products traded in the Single Market are subject to harmonised rules and some 18% of intra-EU trade in goods fall under mutual recognition”. Given that the EU free trade agreement is such a pivotal part of the makeup and longevity of the Union, online gambling became a hotly debated topic as the UK, who was still a member of the EU at the time, promoted full regulation and licensing and expected to be able to trade with its partners. Jurisdictional legislators such as Malta became highly respected markets who expected EU member states to recognise the validity of an MGA licensed casino to trade within the Union. Members that stood against regulated online gambling were seen to be contradicting the compact, and this early friction ultimately led to a burgeoning European online gambling industry. ✓EGBA Striving for Standardised Regulation As with any other multi-party endeavour one of the challenges members of the EU have had to face is how their differing definitions, requirements and even fee structures have become stumbling blocks for their peers. To assist in creating a unified logic to regulation and a set of standards the Brussels-based European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) was founded. “EGBA works together with national and EU regulatory authorities and other stakeholders towards a well-regulated and well-channelled online gambling market which provides a high level of consumer protection and takes into account the realities of the internet and online consumer demand.” To achieve a sustainable online gambling regime the EGBA strives to: Achieve a well-regulated and competitive market Define an ambitious set of European industry standards Build an integrity-based betting market Address betting-related match-fixing and corruption In addition to creating forums for discourse and staying on top of the day-to-day minutiae associated with tracking the gambling rulings and legislative decision making of 27 member countries the EGBA is also a founding partner of the EU Athletes program, a member of the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and registered with the EU Transparency register since 2009. A July 2021 decision by the EU Commission to not reinstate the Expert Group on Online Gambling to assist regulators in coordinating their legal efforts could see the EGBA having an even more authoritative voice as it fills the role that the Commission renounced. ✓The French Gambling Legislation Interestingly enough when looking at online gambling regulation it is important not to interchange online gambling and online casino, especially if you are looking to play online slots in France. While many gambling sites will say that online casino is legal in France, they are in fact incorrect, however, it is correct to say that online gambling is legal in the country. This is because in 2010 France had a massive overhaul of its gambling law which both created the current body known as the Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) and legalised all forms of land-based gambling including casino games, card games, and sports betting. However, in an unexpected turn of events when addressing online gambling the regulation only made allowance for the licensing of online poker and online sports betting, while online games of chance remained a restricted category. ✓An Avid Gambling Community Despite the exclusion of online slots and other casino games, online gambling has flourished in France with La Française des Jeux (FDJ) being responsible for betting and lottery games, while Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) is specifically responsible for horse racing. The Q2 2021 report by BusinessWire on the financial results of the FDJ reported that the “digitalised and online stakes” showed an impressive 70% growth over its Q1 results reaching €1.1 billion in revenue from stakes of €9.2 billion. Stéphane Pallez, Chairwoman and CEO of FDJ, said: “Our stakes are increasing, both online and in our point-of-sale network. Over the half-year, we accordingly recorded an increase of nearly 9% in revenue compared with the same period in 2019. Barring new restrictions in response to developments in the health situation, the Group expects to maintain good momentum in the second half and is confident in its business and results prospects in accordance with its responsible gaming model.” These reports show that the FDJ’s online performance is tracking perfectly for the body to achieve its target of €2.2 billion for the year. Market analysts expect this to come from just over €19 billion in stakes. However, the growth in both player stakes and overall revenue for France’s online gambling market has raised the question of whether their reasoning for excluding online gambling was genuine. When the regulations were announced in 2010 ARJEL argued that games of chance held too high a risk of gambling addiction. That games like slot machines encouraged high engagement and participation, something they then claimed to be looking to actively discourage. However, with the €9.2 billion in stakes over six months it proves French gamblers are an engaged and active community. Despite numerous calls in recent years for other EU member states to open their borders to regulated online gambling, to protect locals and actively participate in the free trade compact France has silently refused to budge on the issue, deflecting the conversation around casino games to a discussion of regulated online gambling instead. In a decision that further confuses the matter, France declared that its citizens may gamble at international offshore casinos. Yet this puts them at risk of playing with casinos who do not adhere to EU safer gambling standards, reduces channelisation by not offering a casino game option for slots players, and driving revenues offshore which could be funnelled into programs that would uplift the French community such education programs and compulsive disorder treatment centres. ✓The Bitcoin Casino Stumbling Block France is one of the most progressive nations in the world and as such has been at the forefront of cryptocurrency adoption. The French are proud HODLERs with nearly 4% of the population owning Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital tokens. Unsurprisingly the lion’s share of this ownership sits with wealthy, tech-savvy men and women in their late mid-twenties to mid-thirties. It should come as no surprise then that in the absence of regulation making online casino gambling illegal a large portion of the French casino market is turning to Bitcoin casinos. Not only do they get to engage in leading online slots and tables games, but they stand the chance to withdraw even more of the valuable cryptocurrency in the process. However, July 13th saw a Parisian court rule that French ISPs had to block local users from accessing two cryptocurrency gambling sites. The ruling came of the back of a decision to hand over cryptocurrency regulations to Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), a securities watchdog with a specific brief to manage digital currency exchanges in the region. In this case while the casino games themselves were not the issue the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies in an unregulated marketplace saw the AMF flex its muscle and once again limit French players access to online casino entertainment. Once again, sane minds argue that if France would extend its current online gambling legislation to include online casino games, they could offer local players access to a secure crypto-exchange and secure a valuable revenue resource in the process.