Bitcoin Casinos: The Ultimate Guide
Most of these crypto-specific casinos host the very same games that you would expect to find at a traditional online operator. Whether its classic table games such as blackjack and roulette, progressive slots that offer six-figure jackpots or even live dealers – Bitcoin casinos have it all.
It was only a matter of time before Bitcoin made the transition into the online casino space. In what originally started as a clandestine ‘Bitcoin Dice’ platform in 2012 has now turned into an industry in its own right. In fact, there are now dozens of UK online casinos that specialize purely in Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals.
In our Ultimate Guide to Bitcoin Casinos, we’ll start by briefly explaining what Bitcoin actually is, followed by how a Bitcoin casino works. We’ll then discuss some of the advantages of playing at a Bitcoin casino, as well as whether or not any disadvantages exist.
What is Bitcoin?
In its most basic form, Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows people to send and receive funds from anywhere in the world. The technology was first launched in 2009 by an anonymous developer known only by their pseudonym ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’.
The key characteristic that makes Bitcoin unique it its underlying technology – the blockchain. In a nutshell, the blockchain allows transactions to be processed without a third party, subsequently creating a decentralized eco-system.
This also means that the technology is not owned or controlled by any single authority, nor is it backed by a nation-state, central bank or government.
Although Bitcoin has many use-cases, one of its overarching benefits is that users can send funds in a borderless manner with ease. Regardless of where the sender or receive is based, transactions take just 10 minutes, at a cost of less than a Dollar.
This makes the digital currency an ideal conduit for online gambling.
Finally, Bitcoin transactions are pseudonymous, meaning that in the vast majority of cases, users are able to transact in an anonymous manner.
How Does a Bitcoin Casino Work?
Effectively, Bitcoin casinos operate in virtually the same manner as conventional online casinos. The only key difference is the manner in which players deposit and withdraw funds. Instead of using a traditional debit/credit card or e-wallet, users deposit and withdraw funds using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
In terms of consumer protections, Bitcoin casinos usually offer two key safeguards. Firstly, the vast majority of platforms hold a gaming license. In the world of Bitcoin casinos, this is most commonly issued by the Curacao Gaming Control Board.
Although it must be noted that the gaming authority in Curacao is nowhere near as stringent as the likes of the UK’s Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority, the organization must still ensure that the platforms they license operate legitimately.
The second key safeguard that Bitcoin casinos implement is something called ‘Provably Fair’. For those unaware, Provably Fair is similar to RNG (Random Number Generator) technology, insofar that is guarantees the fairness, randomness, and integrity of online casino games.
However, Provably Fair technology takes things one step further than RNG, as each and every gaming outcome can be audited in the public domain. As such, Bitcoin casinos are not only true and fair, but they’re also completely transparent.
When it comes to the gaming suite, Bitcoin casinos offer the vast bulk of games that you would find at a traditional fiat casino. In fact, you’ll likely find games developed by leading software providers such as Evolution and NetEnt at a Bitcoin casino.
The reason for this is that effectively, the only difference between a Bitcoin casino and that of a traditional gambling platform is the funding currency.
However, as we will explain further down, because most Bitcoin casinos have no relationship with fiat currencies such as the Dollar, Pound or Euro, and instead focus exclusively on cryptocurrencies, players are accustomed to some notable advantages
Bitcoin Casinos: Deposits and Withdrawals
When it comes to funding your account at a Bitcoin casino, things are done in a slightly different way to a traditional casino. Firstly, you’ll need to ensure that you are in possession of some Bitcoin. If you don’t, you can easily purchase some using a debit or credit card at leading cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase or Kraken.
Once you’ve obtained the necessary Bitcoin, you’ll then need to log in to your Bitcoin casino account to find out what your unique Bitcoin deposit address is.
If you’ve never come across a Bitcoin address before, they’ll contain between 26 and 35 alphanumeric characters, and no two addresses can ever be the same.
Take a look at the example below:
Once you’ve found your unique Bitcoin casino deposit address from within your account, you’ll then need to head over to your private Bitcoin wallet. Next, paste the Bitcoin address into your wallet, enter the number of funds you want to transfer into your casino account, and press send.
Although Bitcoin transactions usually take 10 minutes before they are marked as valid, Bitcoin casinos usually credit your account on ‘0 confirmations’. In plain English, this means that your deposit is likely to be instant.
When it comes to withdrawals, this is where Bitcoin casinos really stand-out. Before we explain why, it is important to understand that traditional online casinos are really slow to process withdrawals.
If you’re using a debit or credit card, you’ll likely wait 3-5 days before the funds arrive in your account. Before that, you’ll also need to submit a copy of your ID and proof of address, if it’s the first time you’ve made a withdrawal request.
On the contrary, Bitcoin casinos not only processs withdrawals instantly – without any requirement for identification, but the funds will be back in your private wallet in no more than 10 minutes.
Advantages of Using a Bitcoin Casino
As noted above, Bitcoin casinos do not engage in KYC (Know-Your-Customer) controls, meaning that you can essentially gamble anonymously. This begins at the first start of the account opening process, whereby you’ll only be required to enter your email address and password.
The key mechanism that allows Bitcoin casinos to operate in this manner is that Bitcoin is not viewed by governments as real-world money. This means that Bitcoin transactions are not accustomed to the same anti-money laundering (AML) regulations that traditional casinos are obliged to follow.
The only time that ID is required is when you exchange Bitcoin to real-world money, or vice-versa. However, this wouldn’t be something that the Bitcoin casino would do for you anyway, as you’d need to do this at an exchange, or a Bitcoin ATM.
On top of anonymous gameplay and instant deposits, a further advantage to using a Bitcoin casino is that you’ll often find house-edges are slightly lower in comparison to traditional casinos. The underlying costs of operating a Bitcoin are significantly lower than main-stream operators, and as such, they are able to pass these savings on to their players.
We should also note that Bitcoin casinos offer some highly notable bonuses, some of which run into the cryptocurrency equivalent of thousands of Dollars. This is mainly due to the fact that Bitcoin casinos are still building a name for themselves, and thus, they need to entice new players that are yet to make the transition.
Disadvantages of Using a Bitcoin Casino
While Bitcoin casinos offer a substantial number of benefits in comparison to their traditional casino counterparts, there are some disadvantages too. Firstly, the actual process of exchanging real-world money to Bitcoin, and then exchange your Bitcoin winnings to real-world money, is not only inefficient, but it’s also costly.
If you wanted to play at a Bitcoin casino for the very first time, but you were not in receipt of Bitcoin, you would need to do the following:
- Buy Bitcoin at a cryptocurrency exchange using a debit/credit card (3.99% card transaction fee + 1.5% trading fee at Coinbase).
- Transfer your newly purchased Bitcoin over to your Bitcoin casino account.
- Upon withdrawing your winnings, you’d need to transfer your Bitcoin back to the cryptocurrency exchange.
- You’d then need to trade Bitcoin for real-world money (1.5% transaction fee at Coinbase).
- Finally, you’d then need to withdraw your real-world money back to your bank account.
As you can see from the above, there are a lot of steps involved to deposit and withdraw funds at a Bitcoin casino. Moreover, the transaction fees involved when attempting to exchange Bitcoin with real-world money can really start to add up – subsequently eating away at your gambling profits.
Finally, as Bitcoin is a highly volatile asset, you also stand the chance of Bitcoin losing value before you get a chance to exchange it back to fiat currency. Equally, this could also go the other way though.
Therefore, you’d need to weigh all of the advantages and disadvantages up.
Bitcoin Casinos – The Verdict?
In summary, Bitcoin casinos have very quickly risen to fame in the online gambling space – and for good reason. Not only are players accustomed to instant deposits and withdrawals, lower house-edges, guaranteed fairness, and anonymous gameplay, but welcome bonuses are of significant size.
However, the actual two-way process of exchanging Bitcoin with real-world cash is somewhat inconvenient. It is only hoped that as the technology continues to prosper, as will the ease at which users can enter and exit the market.