Bitcoin has been associated with many different industries over the past years. In most cases, these associations have been anything but positive. Italy’s policymaker is convinced bitcoin can be linked to casino operations controlled by the mafia. A very bold statement, to say the least. According to Lucrezia Ricchiuti, bitcoin provides mobsters with a legal way to enter the gambling industry.
It is evident Italy may need to reform their gambling industry regulation over the coming years. Ricchiuti advocates for a stricter approach to new entrants in the gaming industry. Doing so will be challenging, as taxation of gambling earnings is rather ubiquitous right now. Moreover, she wants to address corruption and bribery associated with online gambling.
Bitcoin Does Not Appeal To The Mafia
The policymaker feels Italy’s gambling industry can be used for tax evasion. Especially with the rise of new payment methods, such as bitcoin, seemingly makes it easier to avoid taxes. It is unclear if this is just a random statement, or based on reliable information, though. Casinos provide a valuable front to launder money, and it would not be a far stretch to think the Italian Mob is taking advantage of it. However, bitcoin’s daily transaction volume is far too low to make it appealing to the mafia in the first place.
Under the current legislation, it is possible to open a gaming site which only accepts bitcoin payments. There is no requirement for a specific license in Italy to do so right now. That situation will be addressed by the policymaker moving forward, as she feels it poses a “systemic risk”. Bitcoin providers complete anonymity, according to Ricchiuti, which benefits those looking to evade taxes.
Once again, it is unclear if there any correlation between the mafia, bitcoin, and online gambling platforms. It is certainly possible cryptocurrency has a role to play in this regard. Then again, bitcoin is far from anonymous. Currencies such as Monero are far better suited for anonymous activity. Cryptocurrency should never be used for money laundering, though, as everything can eventually be traced given enough time and resources.
It remains unclear what Ricchiuti plans to do about bitcoin in Italy. According to the EU law, there is nothing preventing people from using bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Then again, every member stated can make their own bylaws if needed. Assuming the plan is to regulate bitcoin for online gambling in Italy, very little will change moving forward.