The gaming industry is known for its ready approach when it comes to new technologies. Once upon a time, land-based casinos and bookmakers were all there was. But soon after, operators started thinking how they could get ahead of the curve. In their urge to bring unparalleled experience, the online gambling industry came.
And soon after, more innovation followed in the form of mobile gaming, in-play features, bonuses and even gaming arenas, where the house’s rake disappeared, and people could play against each other instead. The latest technological whimsy is known as Bitcoin, and it’s changing the landscape in tangible ways.
Bitcoin & Gambling – Origins
Bitcoin’s origins are no longer shrouded in a veil. Officially, the digital chunk of gold was launched back in 2008 by an individual, or organization, going by the name of Satoshi Nakamato. An open source client was later released in 2009, and Bitcoin took its first tentative step in the realm of human life. Its driving engine, the blockchain, has been the pillar of many business solutions, whereas the cryptocurrency has been scrambling for purchase.
For better or for worse, people started mining the blocks in pursuit of precious yields. Based on a proof of work concept of ownership, mining Bitcoin was and still is a power-hungry process. One that nonetheless has made its way into the mainstream, including casinos.
Infographic: Rise of Bitcoin in the Online Gambling Industry
Why Bitcoin Is Rising
What drives Bitcoin, both in industries and gaming, is its significance as a reliable and safe method of exchanging money. Even though prices tend to ebb and flow, an increasing number of Bitcoin champions are opting for the shiny digital chunk when it comes to gambling. In 2017, the price reached an all-time-high at nearly $20,000 per piece. Although the value has slumped ever since, Bitcoin remains a useful and established way of exchange, especially in online gaming. Let’s find out why.
Rise of Bitcoin Gambling
Bitcoin gambling casinos have been gaining traction, regardless of the jurisdiction of the operators. Most cash casinos have been slow to embrace Bitcoin offers, including nearly all of the mainstream big names. Conversely, we have seen a great jump in the number of offshore casinos endorsing the currency. Admittedly, the offshore operators have found Bitcoin rather more useful than their country-specific counterparts. The rise of Bitcoin gambling has spawned a few types of operators out there.
Bitcoin Cash Only
The Bitcoin (BTC) only casinos are now a fact. They deal exclusively with BTC and may include other cryptocurrencies as part of their offer. However, they tend to shun FIAT money as a rule of thumb. Bitcoin serves as both the depositing and withdrawing method.
It’s important to note that you may struggle to find licensed Bitcoin-only casinos as the currency is still in a legal grey area. Despite that, the push to legalize the online gambling industry in places, such as the US, may give rise to more Bitcoin casinos that cater to US customers exclusively. Bitcoin for online gambling is not the zany idea it used to be.
Hybrid Casinos – Bitcoin and Fiat
The hybrid casinos shun neither penny nor coin. They have been successful in adopting an offer that will gladly allow you to cash in and out in any FIAT currency and Bitcoin. The versatility of the offer is what makes this type of operator particularly flexible and tantalizing. Apart from using local currencies, you will have the additional security provided by the digital chunks gamers have been growing so fond of. Why is a substantial group of players after Bitcoin, though?
Why Gamers Prefer Bitcoin
If we have so far only dropped a hint that Bitcoin could be helpful in areas where online gaming is debatable, now is the time to flesh out the reasons that make this digital asset such a valuable ally. Here is a quick list of the benefits of using bitcoin for online gaming:
· Anonymity – Mainstream casinos may tout their iron-clad offer that will guarantee the safety of your private data. With Bitcoin, however, you will hardly have to dispatch with any sensitive information to begin with.
· Transaction Speed – Undoubtedly, one of the main points of preoccupation for regular gamblers is that they may be slowed down in receiving money. Mainstream casinos have become particularly good. Still, they can’t beat Bitcoin speeds. And with Bitcoin, money never get stuck in a limbo.
· Gamble Globally – Bitcoin casinos enable you to participate from every corner of the world. In other words, you can indulge in a type of gaming that has not been known to you. Asian markets, for example, may be vastly different than what you are used to in the West.
This, in a way, sums up why gamblers prefer Bitcoin and are increasingly aware of the advantages it provides.
The Counterpoints of the Boons
Of course, no account of Bitcoin gaming would be full unless we offer a few counterpoints. Anonymity is a great thing when it comes to transactions but consider that a reputable casino is bound by regulations. As such, it needs to confirm your identity so that it may protect customers from reckless gaming or underage gambling.
Transaction speeds are a great thing with Bitcoin, but if a casino doesn’t know where the money goes or where it comes from, it may struggle to answer legal queries. Moreover, you will not be able to restore your account by flashing your ID if your private key gets stolen.
What is the Importance of Bitcoin Licensed Casinos
Thankfully, licensing is not the gut-wrenching affair as the name may suggest. However, we can think of a few useful tips that you may need to know. First, licensing is inherent to the best FIAT casinos, especially in Europe.
While the oversight elsewhere may have lagged, the United Kingdom and Europe, in particular, remain the bastions of both online operators and successful monitoring. There is an entire agency known as eCORGA that busies itself with mediating conflicts between customers and operators.
When it comes to Bitcoin, there aren’t as many licensed casinos. In fact, most Bitcoin dens operate offshore and provide services to customers who are located in jurisdictions that may have a rather sterner approach to online gaming.
The Benefits of Licensing
Admittedly, legislation cuts both ways. Having a licensed casino signifies, to some extent, at least, government oversight. However, and more importantly here, it also means that you have some basic common denominator that can tell you how reliable the place is. When licenses are missing, that immediately makes it difficult for you as a gamer to make up an immediate opinion.
It may be a while before Bitcoin casinos get licenses, though. And yet, there’s a silver lining to all of this. You can do your own due diligence. Community forums would not miss to spot fraudsters and bury them under a mountain of criticism. You may want to steer clear from the novice Bitcoin casinos, though. What you will almost demand from a casino in the absence of a license is a a long track-record, and proof that past deal issues have been dealt with accordingly.
A Quick Guide to Bitcoin Gambling
The cashier of a Bitcoin casino is not much different than what you may be used to in a regular casino. You will be able to make contributions towards your account’s balance and then utilize the funds in any standard play. Just like with normal casinos, you ought to be mindful of how much you commit and how much you wager. Cashing out is always a tad more complicated than depositing funds.
We advise that you pick the titles that strike home with you. Understanding of the product you are wagering on is instrumental to your success. Because Bitcoin enables quicker transactions you will claim your winnings sooner, but also burst through any given amount of money if you don’t pay attention.
Just like regular gambling, Bitcoin gaming has its pitfalls and you will do well to avoid those by exercising caution and prescience.
The Gaming Software at Bitcoin Casinos
A number of credited software providers out there develops the staple titles of the online gambling industry. Any Bitcoin casino that seeks to make a splash will definitely want to sign up a contract with one of the numerous flagship providers. Playtech, Microgaming and NETENT are among the few developers who deliver the industry’s top titles.
A Bitcoin casino that is serious about its future will have made a substantial investment in securing the products of any of the said operators. Furthermore, the fact that these reputable developers have partnered up with a new Bitcoin casino is indicative that the casino should be trustworthy, as the developers would not risk tarnishing their reputation by providing games for casinos who may be up to no good.
Apart from that, you may want to check if the casino has invested across the board, meaning downloadable product, mobile iteration, and online software. If so, the investment behind the project is substantial enough to at least disperse some of your qualms that this operator may try foul play. Meanwhile, one of the handiest ways to game is still on the go.
Mobile Bitcoin Gaming – A Staple
It’s been established that casinos tend to be early adopters, especially where mass consumer tech is concerned. For this reason, Bitcoin’s popularity in gambling has not been restricted to the desktop segment alone, albeit the choice of mobile Bitcoin gaming is still in its infancy.
The relative scarcity of Bitcoin mobile casinos at this point makes them a sort of a rare breed and with this in mind, you may expect that a few of the features normal casinos have to be missing. For instance, iOS and Android apps will in all likelihood not be found on the website. Instead, you will have to opt for browser play. This is not all too bad, and you can still create a desktop shortcut to jump right into gaming action without tangling too much with typing URLs.
Once you are logged in, all the casino’s features will be immediately available to you as if you are logging from the desktop version. If you spot that the casino version is not mobile friendly, it may certainly be the reason for some concern. The majority of websites in 2018 will be launched to cater exclusively to mobile users, as it’s one of the largest and fastest-growing segments presently.
Sifting Through the Bitcoin Casino Games
Bitcoin casino or otherwise, the staple titles will not be missing. Players can pick between a number of available games by genre. Everything is there, starting with everyone’s favorite video slots, supplemented by Baccarat, Blackjack, and Roulette.
Тhe most popular segment remains the video slot option, which is powered by NETENT Gaming. If you have been around long enough you will be familiar with the characters of Gonzo’s Quest, the Spanish conquistador who slogs through the jungles of South America in pursuit of Aztec riches.
Clearing a winning combination in Starburst is not really as challenging as you might expect it to be. Following several runs, you could unlock the Starburst wild cards and enter a bonus round for a few quick spins, amassing a solid profit on the way there. And the best part about Bitcoin video slots is that you can explore them in a demo mode and spare yourself some precious digital gold while learning the ropes.
Bitcoin Gambling and Promotions
Here comes a casino metric that you need to pay careful attention to. Most Bitcoin casinos are fairly new and they will have a rather rotten time of bringing you over-generous offers. However, reasonable incentives are well within the norm. Still, you may want to read carefully through the wagering requirements.
Bitcoin’s Welcome Offer
A barren of promotions or a bacchanalia of special treats – regardless. All casinos have their welcome offers. It’s usually a several-step depositing process that rewards you along the way of your gaming experience. You may want to mind the big sums, though. Remember that when you are first setting foot into Bitcoin gambling, you will need to learn the basics. Do not overindulge yourself with big sums and stay prudent.
Bit by Bit – The Entire Gambling Industry
Bitcoin and gambling have reached an interesting juncture. Starting with online operators, they may see increasingly lax rules in the US, allowing them to obtain licenses in the country and operate within. However, the IRS is still trying to sort out the cryptocurrency mess, and no solution seems imminent.
It would be rather important to note that gambling income is taxable income in specific legislation. If you are playing on an offshore Bitcoin casino, it may be prudent to seek legal counsel how to cash out your proceedings. On the plus side, as long as you pay your taxes from the Bitcoin you own, you may not be linked to gambling.
Again, it ultimately depends on where you play from. Wagering at online Bitcoin casinos from the US could potentially get you into hot water. Conversely, because Bitcoin is anonymous, as long as you manage to settle your taxes, you may not need to state the source of the transaction.
Gamers Love the Transparency
Gambling may immediately signal stuffy rooms and seedy characters to those uninitiated. And while there must be offline venues where this picturesque description is very much alive, Blockchain gambling brings more to the industry. Gamers love this type of casino because it brings much-desired transparency. Everything that transpires is ultimately recorded in the public ledger.
Not only that, but no transaction can happen without the unanimous nod of the entire ledger. Fouling the system would require an impossible amount of energy that cannot be produced simultaneously, and this is what makes the ecosystem impenetrable.
Suspect some foul play has been afoot? You can easily peruse the blocks for yourself and see where the currency has been circulating. Blockchain brings new meaning to transparency indeed.
The Importance of Bitcoin for Gambling
Bitcoin will open up new venues where casinos and customers can meet in a safe and risk-free environment to share a common interest. Transaction times and the inability to actually lose anyone’s funds is another great feature that FIAT casinos will have to work on. If anonymity in the gambling domains means a lot, then Bitcoin is the surest way to avoid inadvertently sharing or leaking important information.
A P2P-powered ecosystem, Blockchain casinos save you a lot of the trouble, offering to handle all your transactions. Finding a good casino to play early on may be a great idea, given that if the segment expands, you will be among the early adopters.
With its far-reaching offer, Bitcoin is well-poised to overcome divisive hurdles that hinder players from pooling their money and compete for larger prize pools. Decentralization is precisely what the gambling industry as a whole has been trying to do through the multi-channel experience. Bitcoin contributes much to that end.