UKGC’s Andrew Rhodes: Crypto and NFT boundaries are becoming ‘increasingly blurred’

During UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) CEO Andrew Rhodes’ speech at the Gambling Regulation Conference, Rhodes highlighted the prevalence of cryptocurrencies and NFTs when it pertains to gambling. 

Speaking at the Westminster Media Forum, on Rhodes’ agenda was the upcoming Gambling Act Review White Paper as he  shared data on online gambling and affordability check updates.

But the UKGC CEO also mentioned the rise of cryptocurrencies, NFTs and ‘synthetic shares’. Rhodes acknowledged their surging presence albeit ‘concerned’ about their widespread reach which are blurring the boundaries between regulated products and gambling. 

He stated: “Whilst gambling operators looking to make their profit from lower spending recreational consumers may well be a good thing, at the Gambling Commission we have been warning against the risks that come from the gamification of products that currently aren’t covered by gambling legislation and regulations for some time.

“Loot boxes in video games is one that gets plenty of attention but as those of you who have heard me speak will know, we are also concerned about where NFTs, crypto and ‘synthetic shares’ are becoming increasingly widespread and the boundaries between products which can be defined and regulated as gambling are becoming increasingly blurred.”

Despite Rhodes’ concerns, the British Treasury last month confirmed it was still proceeding with plans to regulate stablecoins as a part of its financial legislation. 

Concerns over the crypto market are reaching fever point again, after a new crash occurred within the market this past weekend. The total crypto market cap fell from $1.10 trillion to $1.02 trillion and continues to decline. 

“The Government has been clear that certain stablecoins are not suitable for payment purposes as they share characteristics with unbacked crypto assets. We will continue to monitor the wider crypto asset market and stand ready to take further regulatory action if required,” disclosed the Treasury spokesman. 

Rhodes added: “When we look at today’s gambling market, we see an incredibly energetic and innovative industry, one that is still grappling with the effects of the pandemic, which is still looking for areas to grow. 

“But one that still has the potential to cause great harm. And in the unregulated spaces around it, we see too many hangers-on, trying to make a quick buck from the harm they cause.”