Nevada Sanctions Casino Gambling, But Calls Bitcoin Risky with Ties to Criminals. Irony, Anybody?

Nevada Sanctions Casino Gambling, But Calls Bitcoin Risky with Ties to Criminals. Irony, Anybody? Nevada has added itself to the growing list of U.S. states and foreign countries detailing the risks behind investing or trading in bitcoins and so-called “altcoins”.
It is fully understandable for state officials to provide guidelines to consumers who could blindly jump into bitcoins without knowing all the risks. But for Nevada to do this smacks of irony in a big way.
Nevada, of course, sanctions casino gambling, where the odds are very good that a tourist visiting Las Vegas or other cities in that state will part with the money, even if they know they’re way around card tables, craps and slot machines.
Bitcoin and altcoins, meanwhile, are virtual currencies with many credible and legitimate online sources available for newbie traders and investors. Yes, they need to be careful about virtual wallet security and where they do their trading, with the Mt. Gox collapse still fresh.
But are bitcoin-related risks comparable to casino gambling? That’s the question that seems to resonate after reading Nevada’s position on bitcoin.
Here is Nevada’s overview of bitcoins and altcoins:
Virtual currencies are volatile in value. Virtual currencies are not backed by a central bank and are highly volatile with the potential for complete loss of value.
(Fair point. But casino chips are not backed by a Central Bank, either. They’re owned by the casino which sets the odds per game/machine with oversight from a gaming commission. I don’t know for sure, but I think taking your chances with the bitcoin community is an equal or better bet.)
Virtual currencies can be stolen or otherwise subject to loss. There is the potential for consumers to incur financial losses if an account is not maintained in a secure manner. Currently, most virtual accounts or “wallets” – unlike funds held in U.S. banks or credit unions – are not insured against loss.
(Again, fair point. However, casinos enjoy an advantage with every game. The casino takes no risk. In almost all cases, the “house” in the long run will always win. The games, the odds and the payoffs are all designed to ensure this outcome.)
Virtual currencies have been connected to criminal activities. Like other forms of payment, virtual currencies and virtual currency exchanges have been used to fund illicit activities.
(Point taken. Now, do we even need to say anything here about the long history linking casinos and criminal activities. Probably not. Maybe just this: Casinos have led to many social ills, including increased substance abuse, mental illness and suicide, violent crime, auto theft and larceny, and bankruptcy. In many communities that have allowed casinos, these activities have shot up as much as 10 percent.)
The Nevada Gaming Commission and the State Gaming Control Board govern Nevada’s gaming industry through strict regulation of all parties involved.
No U.S. state has come forward with similar regulations over virtual currencies, although New York’s financial regulator will likely be the first in coming months.
Meanwhile, here is the full news release on bitcoin and altcoins from the State of Nevada Department of Business & Industry. And you decide which is riskier, bitcoins or casino gambling.

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