Betting Bitcoins on U.S. Presidential Elections Entirely Lawful

Do you know you will become an outlaw if you bet money on the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections? Sounds ridiculous? Well, there is a solution.

The thing is, the government doesn’t want you to do it, as they consider it a kind of political rope-pulling. But it’s actually only the case with real-money bets, while you would have no problems at all with the state if your bet was made in Bitcoins. At one point, you can use the so-called ‘off-shore’ betting portals to retain absolute anonymity while wagering with real money, but, at the same time, IRS (the Internal Revenue Service) does not deem Bitcoins money, rather property, meaning you can bet with them without any restraints. No one would be after you for gambling with sweetie papers, would they? It’s the same with BTC.

It was a couple of days ago that Brett Arends, a well-known American writer and journalist, tried betting Bitcoins on Rand Paul, one of the 2016 presidential candidates in now-notorious Iowa caucus. First, he purchased a BTC voucher from one of the stores of LibertyX, a popular network for buying Bitcoin, then, he sent the purchased amount of cryptocurrency to a BTC wallet, and, finally, transferred it to a bookmaker. The odds on Paul’s victory were 40 to 1.

Indeed, at the dawn of the Internet, various off-shore betting websites came in handy to people willing to make bets on all kinds of events, including elections. After a while, the U.S. Congress decided to exercise their legal power and successfully conducted a kind of a sweeping purge on bookmakers who, at that time, had no other payment option but dollars to offer to their customers.

With Bitcoins, it’s all a bit different now. Today, everyone can make bets on sports and various political events, like U.S. presidential elections, using Bitcoins with the help of and other advanced cryptocurrency gambling platforms, with full anonymity guaranteed to them. Actually, Bitcoins are not just for that, as you can do millions of other things too, including paying for services and buying various stuff on the Internet. The BTC prizes you received as a casino player or a sportsbook bettor do not necessarily have be spent on gambling again.

And the good news is that Bitcoin was initially meant as a decentralized P2P-payment system with no regulation entailed and no possibility for third parties, including state monetary authorities, to exert control over it. Essentially, the latter are powerless to challenge the cryptocurrency in the same manner they would deal with banks offering services to non-U.S. betting portals, despite the real legal status of Bitcoin being rather vague in the country, probably because of its relative novelty. Ironically, even if you’re caught in the act making bets with BTC, no harm will come to you. The IRS, in their attempt to disincline general public to use the virtual currency, proclaimed Bitcoins should not be viewed as money, but rather property. But if you say BTC is property, and not currency, then actually no such thing as ‘BTC gambling’ exists. Therefore, pursuant to the American taxation law, no Bitcoin wager on the U.S. presidential elections should be considered a fiat money bet.

Thus, those who say Bitcoin betting portals are bookmakers, are wrong. On the basis of BTC’s tax status, these portals are basically platforms where ‘user VS user’ bets are made, and, given that such websites are hosted abroad, there should be nothing to find fault with for the government.

Still, what is going to be the authorities’ next step in their fight with Bitcoin windmills?

Read more: