You’ve likely heard of Bitcoin at some point within the last year. This digital currency is constantly in the headlines for its quick price increases and decreases.
Many people look at Bitcoin (BTC) as an investment. After all, it’s gone from being worth $0.01 per coin when it was launched in 2009 up to $5,000 at the time of this post.
However, BTC has more utility beyond just investing. It can also be used as a currency for online services and products.
The currency aspect means that you can use this on Bitcoin gambling sites. It serves as a suitable alternative to fiat currencies like USD, EUR, and GBP.
Of course, Bitcoin’s relatively short existence means that many gamblers are still in the dark about using it. If you’re also in this boat, then keep reading as I cover everything you need to know about betting with BTC and other cryptocurrencies.
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer digital currency that’s based on blockchain technology. The peer-to-peer aspect means that transactions are made directly between two parties, with no middleman in between.
Blockchain refers to the platform that BTC runs on. The blockchain is a publicly available online ledger that shows all Bitcoin transactions. Open-source blockchain allows anybody to see various transactions that people make on a daily basis.
The Bitcoin Network requires nodes, which are server farms and terminals run by “miners.” The miners are extremely important with regard to producing new BTC units and authenticating each transaction.
They solve computational puzzles via their computers to accomplish these tasks. In exchange for their work, miners received small amounts of Bitcoin.
A miner should not be looked at as middleman. Instead, they merely help produce BTC units and record transactions.
Contrast this to companies like Visa, PayPal, and Bank of America. They all have some degree of control over their customers’ ability to purchase items.
These companies have the power to block any transaction at any time. Miners, on the other hand, don’t have the authority to determine which transactions can and can’t go through.
Why Should You Care about Gambling with Bitcoin
The decentralization of Bitcoin makes it a perfect choice for gambling in certain circumstances. Generally speaking, you get a lot of value out of BTC when your native country has restrictive online gaming laws.
The US is a great example, because they have a law in place called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The UIGEA doesn’t make it illegal to place online bets. It instead prevents financial institutions from legally processing unlawful gambling transactions.
Any bet that’s placed outside of a regulated market is considered illicit (although not automatically illegal).
Some states like New Jersey and Delaware have regulated online gambling markets. Therefore, banks and other financial institutions are able to serve residents of their states.
But the vast majority of America hasn’t made a decision on internet gaming one way or another. All of these states are still subject to the UIGEA.
Bitcoin offers a way to still gamble online in lieu of other options. Given that it’s not controlled by a bank or government, it can be used freely to place online bets as long as the activity isn’t explicitly deemed illegal.
If you live in a state like Washington, where it’s illegal to gamble online, then you’re breaking the law by betting with Bitcoin or any other currency. But if you’re in a state like Ohio, which hasn’t made any determination on internet gaming, then you’re within your right to enjoy gambling on online Bitcoin casinos.
Decentralization isn’t Bitcoin’s only advantage. It also offers other perks, such as low fees and fast transactions.
I’ll discuss the benefits towards the end of this post. But for now, I want to express how important Bitcoin’s decentralization is to its gambling utility.
Steps to Playing at a Bitcoin Casino
Playing at online Bitcoin casinos present some challenges in the beginning. However, none of these obstacles are overly difficult to overcome.
Everything starts with purchasing your Bitcoin at an exchange; the rest is downhill from here. The following steps will provide everything you need to know about buying this cryptocurrency and using it at Bitcoin casinos.
Before you can use Bitcoin, you need to acquire it in some manner or another. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a friend or relative who’ll send you a little BTC and get you started.
But the more-likely scenario is that you’ll have to purchase Bitcoin on your own. This process begins with finding an exchange that lets you buy cryptocurrency with fiat.
Coinbase and Gemini are two popular sites where you can purchase BTC. You need to register for an account and deposit at such exchanges.
The registration process is just as simple as signing up at an online casino. You merely need to provide the Bitcoin online casino simple details, such as your name, email, address, and desired password.
Signing into your account is a little trickier, because some banks and credit card companies block cryptocurrency transactions. You’ll have to selectively choose which banking method you wish to fund your account with.
The good news is that there are still plenty of financial institutions that let you purchase cryptocurrencies. Your chosen exchange will show you what options are available.
Once you have a valid banking method on file, you need to determine how much BTC you wish to purchase. Most sites require you to spend a minimum of $20.
When you enter the fiat value that you’re spending, the software will show you how much BTC it will provide. Keep in mind that exchanges take a small amount out of each transaction.
Once you verify the transaction, you simply need to wait for the miners to approve it. Depending upon the network congestion, this could take anywhere from a few minutes to hours. Luckily, you won’t be waiting very long in most cases.
Decide Where to Store Your Bitcoin
After buying BTC, you need to figure out where to store it.
The term Bitcoin wallet can be slightly misleading, because it doesn’t actually store your coins like a regular wallet. The blockchain is actually where your coins are stored.
The wallet instead gives you access to BTC. You need to know your public and private keys to gain this access.
A public key refers to the address that you use to receive Bitcoin, while the private key is used to send it. You need to be especially careful with the private key, because it protects your wallet’s security.
You can find various websites that’ll walk you through the process of creating and using your wallet. Blockchain.info and Bitcoin.org are two such examples.
A hardware wallet (a.k.a. cold storage) allows you to store your coins offline. Ledger and Trezor are two examples of such cold storage.
Hackers are unable to get to your Bitcoin when it’s offline. Online wallets also prevent hackers from getting to your coins as long as they never get a hold of your private key.
If you only have a small amount BTC or just don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a wallet, then you can simply keep your coins on an exchange. This method is quick and convenient, especially since you can buy Bitcoin and immediately send it to your chosen casino.
The downside, though, is that you don’t have complete control of your Bitcoin in this instance. Sure, you can choose when and where to send your funds. But the exchange also has some degree of control over your crypto.
Luckily, these problems aren’t common at some of the bigger exchanges. But you can never rule out the possibility.
These potential downfalls are why some cryptocurrency enthusiasts adamantly recommend that you have your own wallet. As long as you have access to your public and private keys, you control everything regarding your coins.
Deposit Your Bitcoin at the Casino
Regardless of where you store your Bitcoin, the next step is to send it to your preferred online Bitcoin casino. To do this, you’ll need a BTC wallet address from the gaming site.
You find this by visiting the online casino’s banking section and choosing Bitcoin from the available options. This is the area where you can generate a wallet address, which will serve as the recipient in this transaction.
The next step is to go wherever you’re storing your coins. Whether it be an exchange or a wallet, you need to choose how much BTC you wish to send to the casino.
Near the end, you’ll be prompted to enter the recipient’s address (casino). You then simply need to verify the transaction and wait for your funds to arrive.
As mentioned earlier, the process can take anywhere from a few moments to hours. You’re normally be dealing with the shorter end of this range.
The only time that you’ll have to wait hours is if BTC transactions are happening frequently. The biggest problems could be seen in December 2017, when Bitcoin was in the midst of a huge bull run.
Outside of these rare instances, though, the transaction speeds are relatively quick. BTC doesn’t move as fast as credit cards, but it can outdo eWallets and bank transfers.
Start Playing with BTC (Or Not)
The final step is to start playing casino games with your Bitcoin. Depending upon the chosen Bitcoin casino, your bets will either be listed in fiat value or BTC.
In the former case, you make a deposit on online Bitcoin casinos like normal. But your wagers will be measured in popular fiat currencies, including US dollar, British pound, or euro.
This situation is perfect if you’re unfamiliar with Bitcoin denominations and simply want to stick with what you know. But certain online casinos only offer betting in cryptocurrency denominations.
Luckily, you don’t need to know all of the denominations (there are eight). You simply need to know that a milliBitcoin (mBTC) equals a one-thousandth of a full Bitcoin. An mBTC relates most closely to smaller dollar figures.
One mBTC currently equals around $5 at the time of this writing.
Regardless of the situation, you shouldn’t have much difficulty using Bitcoin to play at online casinos. You merely need to know the value of mBTC at the point when you’re playing.
Pros of Gambling with Bitcoin
I’ve already touched on some advantages of playing online casino games with Bitcoin. But I’d like to go more in-depth on the multiple benefits that this cryptocurrency offers gamblers.
Play from Almost Anywhere with This Decentralized Currency
Again, BTC is a decentralized currency. No government, bank, or credit card company can freeze your transactions.
The government can potentially seize coins in criminal cases. For example, the US feds seized 140,000 Bitcoins after the Silk Road bust.
However, a central government can’t force Bitcoin to apply to financial laws like they can banks and other institutions. The BTC Network is autonomous and can’t be stopped by authority figures.
Pay Lower Fees Than with Credit Cards & EWallets
The only fees are those paid to the miners for their work. But these costs don’t typically amount to much.
You can actually choose how much you’re willing to spend per transaction for miners to do the work. The advantage of offering a higher amount is that they’ll take on your transaction faster. But you can also pay less and simply wait longer.
Even when you do offer more, you’ll generally pay less than 1% of the total transaction. In contrast, eWallets and credit cards can take up to 3% or more of your funds.
The problem with having a bank or credit card company standing in the middle of your transactions is that they know exactly who’s sending money where. Bitcoin, in contrast, doesn’t have anybody overseeing your purchases.
Your Bitcoin online casino deposit will be anonymous in almost every case. The only time when this isn’t true is if you’re the subject of a federal case.
In this scenario, the government may put in a full-force effort to learn who’s behind a wallet address. But doing so is extremely hard when considering that wallet addresses give no personal information on the users.
In short, you can deposit at Bitcoin online casinos anytime without worrying about somebody seeing the transactions appear on a statement with your name.
Get a Bitcoin Casino Bonus
Some Bitcoin online casinos offer special bonuses to those who deposit with Bitcoin. These sites want to steer players towards BTC, because it means that they don’t get hit with big fees and have to deal with too many customers’ transactions being rejected.
Here’s an example of what one of these offers looks like:
- A casino is offering a 100% match bonus up to 0.1 BTC (currently $500).
- You deposit 0.05 Bitcoin.
- You’re now qualified to earn up to a 0.05 BTC bonus.
You need to meet terms and conditions on the offer before being able to withdraw the money. But you can see that these bonuses work just the same as those offered in fiat values.
Make Quick BTC Deposits at Online Casinos
One more big advantage to depositing with Bitcoin is that you can look forward to fast transactions. In many cases, your deposits will be completed in less than an hour.
BTC transaction speed will probably never compete with major credit cards, which can process over 20,000 transactions per second. But they at least outperform eWallets and bank transfers, which often take days to process transactions.
Cons of Gambling with Bitcoin
You can tell that I’m high on BTC when it comes to online gambling. However, I’d like to paint a complete picture by also covering some of the downsides associated with this digital currency.
Bitcoin Network Isn’t Built for Large Volume
The Bitcoin Network can be brought to its knees with too many transactions. I mentioned December 2017 earlier, because this bull run brought on numerous transactions.
Many people wanted to invest in this skyrocketing asset. The same people found themselves waiting for hours or even days to receive the BTC they purchased.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, transaction fees were at an all-time high. They peeked towards the end of 2017, hitting an average of $48 per transaction.
Luckily these fees and wait times have been drastically reduced. Furthermore, developers have released a Lightning Network that speeds up the amount of transactions per second.
BTC Experiences Lots of Volatility
Much is made about the volatile swings associated with Bitcoin. The market can see as much as 10% or 20% swings in a single day.
Such massive changes aren’t commonly seen. But the potential is always there for extreme volatility.
Sometimes you benefit from these moves, while other times your bankroll will take a hit. If you’d rather do your gambling in the casino, then BTC may not be for you.
You Must Learn How to Gamble with Bitcoin
Some online casinos don’t require you to play in Bitcoin denominations. In other situations, your bets will be measured in this cryptocurrency.
I discussed earlier that you shouldn’t have too difficult of a time learning how to place bets with crypto. The main thing you need to understand is how much an mBTC is worth.
Even still, you may find it slightly frustrating to have to constantly think about how much each mBTC is worth in your native currency.
Easier to Lose Track of Your Funds
You shouldn’t have trouble keeping track of your Bitcoin as long as you leave it on an exchange. But I covered earlier that keeping crypto on an exchange has some notable downsides, including that you don’t totally control your coins.
Of course, the difficulty with using an online or hardware wallet is that you could potentially lose your funds. All you need to do is forget your private key and your access to the online wallet is gone. You can also lose your cold storage wallet and have the same problem happen.
You won’t have to deal with the same problem with a bank. These institutions safeguard your deposits so that you don’t have to worry about the matter.
Gambling on online Bitcoin casinos can be an intimidating task if you’re used to playing with USD, EUR, or another accepted currency. But you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting adjusted to using BTC at gaming sites.
You can start playing in a few simple steps. The first matter is to buy Bitcoin with fiat.
You can buy Bitcoin at exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini.
Next, you need to figure out where to store your BTC until sending it to the casino. The simplest option is to keep it on the exchange. But you only have full control over coins when they’re in your online or hardware wallet.
Once you have BTC and figure out where to store it, you can proceed to making a deposit at the casino. Their banking section will generate a wallet address upon selecting the Bitcoin option. You use this address as your recipient when sending coins from either the exchange or wallet.
The final step is to begin enjoying casino games with BTC. Some Bitcoin online casinos have you bet in fiat values, while others show wagers in mBTC.
This cryptocurrency offers a perfect alternative to funding a casino account when credit cards, eWallets, or bank transfers aren’t an option. Bitcoin even has some advantages over these payment methods, with the most-notable being decentralization.
That said, you should seriously consider playing online casino games with this crypto if you’re looking for a reliable option.