Gambling with Cryptocurrencies
One of the earliest adaptations for cryptos, namely BTC, was in online casinos. It’s easy to move and pseudonymous nature made it an ideal payment method for online casinos. Initially, the majority of sites that accepted BTC (and from roughly 2010-2014, only BTC was used), were exclusively Bitcoin casinos. Today, however, many legacy brands in the industry have added not only Bitcoin, but also Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin and even lesser market cap coins like Monero. As a result, the accessibility to cryptocurrency gambling sites is greater now than ever before.
Cryptocurrency Gambling Resources
History of Bitcoin Gambling
In the earlier days of online Bitcoin gambling, the primary options focused on dice and other simplified games. This made it easy for operators to function, players to participate, and for nimble movements if a site decided to, or was forced to, shut down. After dice, other basic online gambling portals began to develop. Many of these would operate only within a browser, offering basic games like blackjack and roulette. It didn’t take long, however, for these cryptocurrency sites to soon evolve into full fledged online gaming brands.
There are now hundreds of different online casino and gaming brands that focus exclusively on cryptocurrencies. The majority of these sites, with a few rare exceptions, do not except FIAT deposits of any sort, be it USD, Euros or otherwise. There are also many well known sites, like Bovada (an early adopter to cryptocurrencies as a payment method), that had previously only used real money for deposits and withdrawals, but today conduct much of their business in digital currencies like BTC.
Cryptocurrency vs. FIAT Currency in Online Gambling
Cryptocurrency provides a number of upsides to operators and players alike. The speed and security of transactions is significantly better when cryptos are used for banking. With that said, the security can often times be used for cheating players, accounts being hacked, and otherwise detrimental side effects.
If you felt that an online casino had cheated you in the past, you could dispute the payment with your bank, whether you played at a regulated casino or an offshore site. When you deposit funds with a crypto payment method, however, you are trusting the operator at hand to treat you fairly. Once crypto is sent, it is gone, and this should be the first and primary consideration for any online crypto gamblers.
While security has its downfalls for both players and operators, it also allows for quicker payments and significantly lower fees. Credit card processing can be very expensive, especially for offshore operators that need to circumvent banking rules and regulations. With cryptocurrencies, however, the fees are very minimal.
The speed and security of cryptos also make payouts much more timely. Instead of waiting weeks or months to be paid via paper check by mail, cashouts at online crypto casinos are often times paid out within hours. This is one of the most attractive benefits to prospective players. While speedy payments are a net positive for players and operators alike, the stealth nature of these payments can lead to trouble…
Be careful whenever you are creating or using your accounts at any online crypto casino. The levels of security vary wildly from property to property. If you leave your account prone to being accessed by a third party, you run the risk of your funds being withdrawn to the wrong wallet. Some casinos offer 2 Factor Authentication and/or other means of adding additional security to your account, and it is recommended that you take advantage of these options to help ensure that your funds are kept safe.
U.S. vs. U.K. vs. Rest of The World
Online gambling, since its inception, has been at odds with the United States as a whole. Innumerable attempts to either directly or indirectly eliminate online gambling have been made by the US Government. The UIGEA in 2004 was successful in fragmenting much of the industry, forcing many once prominent brands to either disallow US players or to close altogether. The advent of cryptos has made online gambling much more viable than it has been in years for US citizens, both when it comes to players and operators.
Despite the greater availability, many cryptocurrency gaming brands have already come and gone from the U.S. space. Sometimes it is an operator who does not want to run the risk of potentially battling the United States in the future, and in other instances it is a game provider who doesn’t want to jeopardize its standing in publicly traded UK markets. There is sizable precedent when it comes to the risk involved in offering online gambling to US players, whether real USD is used or not, and this has scared many away from participating.
If you are in the U.S. and attempt to join a site that does not accept U.S. residents, you will likely be notified before you get any further than the homepage. There is fairly minimal risk in a casino accepting U.S. players and then closing their operation without paying players out, unless they fail outright. However, the U.S. online gaming landscape remains fragile, and these risks should be understood by players.
In the UK, the acceptance of cryptos has been, and likely will continue to be, heavily influenced by the regulated nature of the industry. Unlike the US, where only a few states have segmented, intrastate online gambling, the entire UK is regulated. These companies must adhere to very explicit and strict guidelines which, in turn, limit their ability to use any payment methods (like cryptocurrencies) at their properties. UK players still have the option to play with cryptos, but they will generally be at offshore brands, thus losing the protections that a regulated industry would otherwise provide.
The majority of the world beyond the US and UK will have easy access to any number of online cryptocurrency casinos. Unless your particular country is banned by the operator or game providers, almost all cryptocurrency gambling sites will be at your disposal. The regulatory environment for cryptos as a whole is always changing, however, so this is unlikely to stay totally fluid for an indefinite amount of time.
Types of Cryptocurrency Gambling
The evolution of cryptocurrencies in online gambling has come nearly full circle. While sports betting, especially in the United States, is not as readily available as other forms of gambling, the majority of crypto casinos are indecipherable from other brands that have existed for over a decade. From classic casino staples like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and slots to more modern technology like Live Dealer betting, online casinos that accept crypto generally offer everything imaginable.
Casino games; meaning table games, slots, video poker and similar games, are the easiest to find. You would be hard pressed to discover an online cryptocurrency gambling site that doesn’t have a full selection of traditional casino games to choose from. While poker or sports may be tougher to play using cryptocurrencies, standard casino gaming is very easy to find, whether you live in the United States, the UK, or elsewhere.
Dice games, while considered the general pioneer in online gambling with cryptocurrencies, represents a small portion of the market as a whole. The advancement in offerings from full online casinos has significantly reduced the appeal of these ultra basic platforms.
Poker is one of the more interesting elements of online crypto casinos. Many sites now offer poker, but since it needs critical mass to be most successful, the options are not as strong as they are in markets like the UK, where PokerStars, Party Poker and so on dominate the industry. Poker has also been the subject of controversy in the US, which hasn’t helped it gain mainstream acceptance.
Sports are a touchy and wildly variable topic in online gambling. Offering sports betting to US citizens is especially risky, even when compared to offering normal casino games. As such, the options for online crypto sports betting have been relatively limited, at least outside of Bitcoin specifically. A number of sites have begun adding larger market cap alt coins, however, making crypto sports betting a bit more practical than it was in the early days of Bitcoin online gambling.
Cryptocurrencies Accepted by Online Gambling Sites
There is no doubt that Bitcoin is still the industry leader when it comes to cryptocurrencies in online gambling. Its mainstream brand recognition, usage, and general acceptance among players and operators alike is significantly higher than the closest competitors. Even if you deposit with a non-Bitcoin currency, it is likely that the operator will process your payouts in BTC.
Ethereum and Litecoin are gaining acceptance at a rapid pace. Interestingly, Dogecoin, which in the cryptocurrency space is a relatively small market cap coin, has always been fairly prominent in online gambling. Each of these coins, in addition to other miscellaneous coins like Monero, are accepted at a select number of brands.
These altcoins first became offered at casinos in around mid-2015 and have increased in presence since. As large cap coins hit the market, like BCH, they too have been added as payment methods. It is a certainty that these coins, along with any number of other alt coins, will increase in acceptance at crypto casinos.