|Deposit Time||Withdraw Time|
|1 min||2-6 days||0%|
A Bit of Fun – How Bitcoins Can Be Used To Fund Online Gambling
When a shadowy, anonymous figure known only as Satoshi Nakamoto published a research paper in 2008, his findings would go on to change the world of finance – possibly forever. Now worth over $1.1 billion (and still, without a confirmed identity), he was responsible for creating bitcoin – and with it, a whole new genre of currency.
Eschewing the fiat currency systems that still continue to underpin the global economy, Nakamoto saw the potential in the distributed ledger, known as blockchain technology, for creating a new type of currency – one that was not dependent on banks, governments and centralised institutions.
It afforded an online mechanism for determining value, and led to the establishment of what continues to the be the world’s foremost cryptocurrency – bitcoin. By using data strings to record transactional information on a decentralised ledger, the technology relies on the stability of the Internet, rather than on financial or government institutions.
As well as being a whole new type of currency, bitcoin brings with it some serious advantages for online gambling. While the market for bitcoin gambling is still in its infancy, it is developing quickly, and you can expect to hear much more about bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, in the years to come.
Bitcoin has a unique structure when compared with regular payment methods. A currency in its own right, it’s a whole different ball game to paying by VISA or PayPal. While it’s not accepted by anything like a majority of online casinos, it does have a number of particularly advantages for online gambling as compared to other payment methods.
- Low Transaction Costs: Bitcoin transactions are virtually cost-free, and certainly attract much lower transaction costs than even VISA transactions. Because of the distributed nature of the technology underpinning bitcoin transactions, there are minimal costs involved in transacting over the blockchain.
- Quick Transaction Speeds: Transactions are processed quickly, and verified in seconds to ensure there is no delay in topping up your funds. Whether it’s a deposit or withdrawal, you’re looking at a matter of minutes in the worst case scenario for funds to be reflected in your relevant account.
- Complete Anonymity: Transactions on the blockchain are completely anonymous and unattributable, which is of particular benefit for some gamblers who wish to keep their online gambling discreet. No-one can trace transactions back to you, and there is no paper trail on bank statements. In fact, not even your bank will know you’re gambling online – it’s all completely anonymous, and significantly more anonymous than playing with any other payment method.
- Low Risk of Collapse: If the financial crisis of 2008 taught us anything, it would be that even the biggest of banks are vulnerable to collapse. As a currency in its own right that is supported by a network of miners and other market participants, this is a risk that simply doesn’t present in the world of bitcoin. So when you’re holding money in bitcoin, or using bitcoin for your gambling transactions, you can do so with the peace of mind that there’s no risk of a network collapse.
The Bitcoin Story
We’ve already seen that the bitcoin story began back in 2008, with a research paper published by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. If you’re so inclined, there are dozens of possible theories about the true identity of Nakamoto.
While he claims to be a Japanese man, there is absolutely no firm evidence of the gender or identity of Nakamoto, who prefers to keep a low profile. With his founding holding of personal bitcoins, Nakamoto is thought to be worth over $1 billion – so if he’s managing to keep that quiet from the world, he must be doing a pretty good job.
The bitcoin network came on-stream in 2009, as a peer-to-peer payment system that circumvented the issue of trust – trust in transactional partners, in banks and in the broader fiat financial system, to be precise.
One of the earliest transactions conducted on the network was indirectly purchasing two pizzas, delivered by Papa John’s. The price paid at the time was a mere 10,000 BTC – worth over $14,000 at today’s valuations. That’s some expensive pizza…
Today, bitcoin is becoming an increasingly prominent part of the global financial picture, especially as far as online transactions are concerned. As it prepares to ultimately move closer into the financial mainstream, with investors clamouring for new products and greater price transparency in the market, it now looks to be only a matter of time before bitcoin is much more widely accepted as a payment method online.
Bitcoin vs Other Payment Methods
Bitcoin is radically different from all other payment methods you’ll come across. Firstly, bitcoin is a currency, like the pound or the dollar, in its own right. It’s value in your local currency is determined by trading exchange rates in the same as any other currency, so it’s not like a regular payment method at all.
Transactions are conducted through a bitcoin wallet, which bears some resemblance to a regular eWallet. You need to buy or have a balance in bitcoin first before you can use the currency to gamble, and this is conducted over a bitcoin exchange. Usually this is a pretty straightforward process, and most players will tend to hold some money in bitcoin anyway as an investment, as well as using it to fund their gambling activity.
When you receive your withdrawals, they too will be sent to your bitcoin wallet as bitcoin transactions. If you hold this money in bitcoin and the value of the market increases, your winnings could even be appreciate in value over time. Or, if you want to withdraw your bitcoin in local currency, you can sell it on an exchange and transfer the money back to your bank account, all without any papertrail of your time at the online casinos.
There are lower fees and transactional costs involved, increased security and anonymity of transactions over mainstream payment methods, and this potential for bitcoin investments to appreciate over time. All in, this makes bitcoin an interesting alternative avenue for gamblers who are looking to make best use of these new opportunities in online gambling.
So Can I Use Bitcoin At Any Casino?
In a word, no. In fact, it’s probably about as far from ‘any casino’ as you could possibly get. Bitcoin is still not supported as a mainstream currency for gambling across the board. Instead, you’re still restricted to specific bitcoin casinos, which tend to do the majority of their business via bitcoin only.
Luckily, there are still a number of different bitcoin casinos out there. Check out our recommendations as to which bitcoin casinos are best for you, and be sure to check out those that offer bonuses for bitcoin deposits.
USA Bitcoin Casino Sites
Bitcoin is the perfect option for getting around restrictions on US gamblers, thanks to the anonymity and lack of traceability of bitcoin transactions. A number of bitcoin casinos are open to US players, including the recommendations below:
- BetCoin Casino
- Vegas Casino
Microgaming Casinos Accepting Bitcoins
Arguably one of the most favoured online games developers in the world is Microgaming, famous for their top-tier slots games and huge progressive jackpots. Microgaming is also represented in the world of bitcoin casinos, with a number of Microgaming sites setup to handle bitcoin transactions, including:
- Freaky Aces
- Das Ist Casino
- Joe Fortune
- Mars Casino
- 7 Bit
- Betchain Casino
NetEnt Casinos Accepting Bitcoins
You’ll also find NetEnt casinos getting in on the act. Made famous for their slots titles including Gonzo’s Quest, Arabian Nights, and of course, Starburst, you’ll find a number of NetEnt casinos that accept bitcoins.
Live Casinos Accepting Bitcoins
Live casinos are all the rage, with games hooking players up to human dealers through a live stream link-up. A number of live casino games are available for bitcoin players, spanning a range of online casinos, including:
- Betchain Casino
Mobile Casinos Accepting Bitcoins
There are also mobile casinos that will accept bitcoin deposits and withdrawals. While this is a niche of a niche, you’ll still find some great casinos that are prepared to offer you access to real money games for your bitcoin deposits. Here’s our list of recommendations:
- BetCoin Casino
How To Use Bitcoins To Load A Casino Account
Loading your casino account with bitcoin is a slightly different process to that which you would normally use to make payments to your casino account. You firstly need to have bitcoin in your wallet – if you don’t, you’ll need to buy some in your local currency. Then, you’ll need to get your hands on the casino’s bitcoin wallet credentials, which you will use to send the money from your bitcoin wallet to theirs. There will also be an online form to complete detailing your payment in the usual way, where you’ll choose how much you want to send.
Once you’ve processed the transaction, it will be verified across the bitcoin blockchain as normal, before updating in the casino’s bitcoin wallet. Shortly thereafter, the funds will be credited to your online gambling account, and you can get started trying to win some money.
The process of funding your casino account via bitcoin is one of those things that is much more comfortable the second time around. The first time, it might feel more confusing than using other payment methods, but in reality, it’s just as simple to transact through bitcoin – even if it does require the additional step of converting local currency into bitcoins within your eWallet.
Can I withdraw my winnings with bitcoins?
Yes. There’s no problem withdraw your winnings in bitcoins, and in fact, this is often the only payment method for withdrawals supported by specific bitcoin casinos. The process is the same as depositing, only in reverse – you request your withdrawal to your bitcoin eWallet, wait out the processing time, then choose whether to hold, spend or convert your winnings into local currency.
You might be sensitive to exchange rates, and one of the main downsides of bitcoin remains the volatility in the market. One day, prices can shoot up, while the next, they can shed substantial percentages of their value. So exchange risk is one thing to be mindful of when you’re converting your bitcoin withdrawals back into your local currency – although over the medium term, most investors do expect the market to continue to rise.
Are there any casinos that offer bonuses when I deposit with bitcoins?
Yes. Casinos that offer bitcoin deposits often have bonuses, using them in the same way as other casinos to attract new players and encourage them to make that all-important initial deposit. The beauty with bitcoin bonuses is that, in most cases, the casino doesn’t have to go to the same lengths to verify your identity. This is most relevant when it’s time for you to withdraw your money, but is still a major benefit to bitcoin bonuses, over and above the regular casino bonuses you are used to.
Our list of recommended bitcoin casinos offer a range of bonus offers, from welcome bonuses designed to attract new players, through to ongoing bonuses and promotions for loyalty. Check out our recommendations if you’re looking to get the best bonus deal for your bitcoin deposits.
Do I have to pay any fees to deposit and withdraw at the casino?
In most cases, there will be no fees involved in depositing your bitcoin with your chosen casino. Most casinos will also allow free withdrawals, but some will charge fees – with 2% seeming to be around the average for those that do charge.
It’s up to you to research casinos that allow free deposits and withdrawals via bitcoin, or whether you’re able to accept these relatively small fees in the transactional process. Bearing in mind you’d often have to pay fees when playing through other payment methods, this should not be seen a massive problem – even if you do incur a small charge with your chosen bitcoin casino.
Disadvantages of Gambling with Bitcoin
So it’s obvious that bitcoin is something of a novel alternative to the mainstream, something different from what you might expect with other, more traditional payment methods. It’s not for everyone, and there are some notable downsides you should take into consideration when deciding whether to fund your account with bitcoin.
Experimental currency: Bitcoin isn’t a currency that has stood the test of time, and even establishing a consistent value for bitcoin is difficult. It’s still in its relatively early stages, and as a result, you can expect volatile swings in price, even within a single trading session. While the currency is perfectly stable enough to use, the experimental nature of bitcoin will still prove a barrier for some online gamblers, just as it does for some of those who would invest in bitcoin in a more predictable, time-tested market environment.
It is untraceable: Bitcoin is completely untraceable and anonymous. While for some this is an advantage, it can also be a disadvantage if your payment goes missing, for example, or isn’t reflected in your gambling account. Unfortunately this is still a small risk facing those who transact via bitcoin, which fundamentally lacks the paper trail that in some cases, can prove helpful to the player.
Strong possibility of hacking: Because bitcoin is a purely digital currency, that opens up the potential for hacking risks. Of course, these are also prevalent with eWallets and other forms of online payments, but are perhaps still more of an acute threat for those transacting through bitcoin.
Withdrawals processing: Some bitcoin casinos will take some time to process your withdrawal requests and to issue these via bitcoin. In some cases, this is due to the verification requirements of the casino, and their need to comply with anti-money laundering and fraud legislation. There may also be some who take advantage of fluctuations in exchange rates when dealing with withdrawals, in an attempt to reduce their own currency risk. Either way, it means you might have to wait a little longer than would usually be the case if you’re withdrawing in bitcoins.
Bitcoin Payment Summary
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like it could well change the face of finance in the future. Central banks across the world are already looking seriously into the possibility of going wholly digital with their currency, in moves that would no doubt follow bitcoin’s lead. At the same time, bitcoin itself is benefiting from a growing reputation, increased investor activity, and an increasing drive to regulate and embrace bitcoin markets within mainstream investment circles.
For online gambling, it represents one of the newest ways of funding your account and receiving withdrawals. Features like anonymity and decentralised verification make this a robust method for moving your money online, under the radar of banks and governments for maximum player discretion. And with the ability for withdrawals to appreciate in value, there’s another solid reason to choose bitcoin for funding your online gambling, over the usual credit cards, debit cards or eWallets.Bitcoin