A bitcoin casino is simply an online casino that accepts bitcoin as its primary form of payment. The traditional online casino... [expand title="Read the entire guide"] limited to only accepting fiat currency up until the invention and popularization of bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are largely anonymous and their digital nature makes them easily transferrable. They are mostly unhindered by red tape and sometimes lengthy settling periods. Bitcoin’s unrestricted movement and the instantaneous, concrete nature of its transaction make it a perfect source of funds for online gambling.
Unlike fiat currencies, there are no universal regulations in place that establish bitcoin as a form of money. Because the technology is still rather new, it manages to fly under the radar of many government jurisdictions. Though many bitcoin casinos are licensed to provide services within certain jurisdictions, this is not a requirement, and many federal governments (including the U.S.) do not treat bitcoin as legitimate money, but as an “asset” or “property” instead. For a long time after the invention of the internet, the world of online gambling was heavily regulated or made illegal through restrictions of local governments.
In the United States, laws pertaining to gambling and internet gambling vary from state to state, often changing course over time.
Conversely, the U.K. and majority of European countries tend to have relatively lax restrictions.
In Russia, online gambling was outright illegal for quite some time, but in 2015 laws were changed to make bitcoin gambling an exception to this rule.
In China, a country that has long banned all forms of online wagering, bitcoin gambling still falls under this general mandate, even if bitcoin itself is legal for certain usages and anti-online gambling laws are seldom enforced.
How Do I Get Started?
This article is for those who have already purchased bitcoin and are somewhat familiar with how it works. We recommend having some prior knowledge of the basics of bitcoin before attempting to send it to an online casino. In addition to making sure you’re ready to accept a casino’s terms and agreements, you’ll want to do a little bit of research for yourself. Google their name. What else comes up besides the website? Frequently adding “bitcoin” to the end of your search will help narrow your selection to what is relevant. Here’s a short list of things to consider before choosing a casino:
- What are the account restrictions for this casino?
- Are the withdrawal fees considerably lower or higher than other casinos?
- Does the casino have a positive or negative reputation?
- What are other users saying about this casino?
- Does the site offer provably fair games? If it does, can their claim be verified?
Casinos with credibility should be top choices. Those that have several positive user experiences documented on various public forums and review sites should rank higher on your list. Those that have questionable reviews or none at all should be avoided. Remember, there are literally hundreds of bitcoin casinos for you to choose from, so don’t feel stuck or tied down to a particular one if you feel cheated or ripped off.
The next step is to deposit your bitcoin from your personal wallet to the casino wallet. Most major sites will assign you a personal bitcoin address that represents your available funds for the site. Most casinos require 1 confirmation on the bitcoin network before crediting your account. Although most bitcoin deposits are completed in 10-20 minutes, some may require 2 or more confirmations, so be patient for your initial deposit to show up in your casino wallet.
Though the copy-and-paste method of address transfer (copy casino account address, paste to personal account address) will work for 95% of all casinos, some casinos have a bet-by-address system, in which a bitcoin address represents a certain bet with designated odds. With these sites, you will not be assigned a casino wallet address, and the winnings are sent directly back to you.
Using bitcoin wallet QR codes is another popular way of transferring bitcoin, especially if you are moving it from a phone to a computer, tablet, or other phone. To the left is an example of a bitcoin address QR code.
Usually it will have the title “Deposit Address” and will have your casino account address written below it. Become familiar with the first four or five characters on your bitcoin address. This will reduce the chance of error when transferring your bitcoin. Always remember: there are no “do-overs” in bitcoin, so if you accidentally send your bitcoin to the wrong address, it’s as good as gone.
Withdrawing bitcoin is as simple as reversing the above-mentioned copy/paste method, with the addition of a withdrawal fee and sometimes additional waiting period. Many bitcoin-based businesses wait for incremental time periods to distribute bitcoin to withdrawal addresses. They send them all in regularly-scheduled single transactions to reduce transaction fee costs. A service charge is often placed on top of the transaction fee, and that is what constitutes the withdrawal fee.
How are Bitcoin Casinos Different from Regular Online Casinos?
While traditional online casinos require bank account or credit card information from the user and often have lengthy verification processes, most bitcoin casinos do not require user verification or personal details. They simply require that your deposit to the casino have 1 or 2 confirmations on the bitcoin network before making funds available to you for play. This means it is usually much faster to begin playing at a bitcoin casino after registration than it is to begin playing at a regular online casino. Withdrawing funds from a bitcoin casino is also less costly than traditional online casinos, as taxes and surcharges tend to be non-existent with bitcoin, and withdrawal fees tend to be significantly lower than fiat currency withdrawals.
As mentioned earlier, bitcoin casinos are also largely anonymous. Many casinos require little-to-no personal information, with the most commonly asked for piece of information being the user’s email address. This means there is less of a possibility that site operators can steal your information or use it for less than honest reasons. On the other hand, the lack of regulatory requirements and/or licensing standards makes it easier for those running bitcoin casinos to disappear with your bitcoin without being caught or having to face legal repercussions. This means that trust is everything when dealing with bitcoin casinos. The unregulated nature of cryptocurrency is a double-edged sword. While offering more convenience, cryptocurrency casinos also require more faith from users that their operations will be honest.
Interesting Bitcoin Games
In addition to standard casino games like cards, slots and dice, bitcoin casinos offer an assortment of novel games, many of which are only made possible through validation on the blockchain. For instance, games that are advertised as “provably fair” can usually be validated as such through reading the blockchain.
The most common of such games is called “dice,” which in the bitcoin sense does not refer to classic, 6-sided dice, but instead a giant scale or wheel going from 0-1. A random number between 0.0000-0.9999 is generated according to designated information retrieved from the blockchain which guides the outcome of a bet. In a bitcoin “lottery” the player is rewarded for an exact guess of the random number, or a combination thereof.
Satoshi Mines, which has been offering its unique take on the game “Minesweeper” since 2013, allows users to verify the positions of preplaced mines after the end of each game via provably fair mathematics. Another popular game, BitKong lets users verify the results of their game by entering a combination of numbers from their bitcoin deposit transaction hash.
Other casinos that offer provably fair games and novel uses of the blockchain include:
What is Provably Fair?
In bitcoin casinos, provably fair means that the proof of fairness of a game is incorporated into a cryptographic record, such as the bitcoin blockchain, prior to the outcome of the game being revealed to the player. In short, cryptography creates proof of fairness. In a provably fair bitcoin casino game, the player can independently verify whether the outcome of the game was correct and in accordance with how the game is advertised. It is possible to do this independently through proof verification algorithms, frequently hosted on the casino site. A player matches a “key” provided by the website to a predefined outcome in a cryptographic record or hash function. Basically, provably fair casino games make it impossible for the player or the house to cheat.
Here’s an example of a provably fair dice game from FairProof.com, with the verification system below:
Traditional online casinos were never provided with the option of introducing provably fair results to their customers. It would stand to reason that since they were never forced to adhere to such a standard before, they’re not going to now. This mindset is slowly changing. While most online casinos advertise payout rates as high as 95 to 98%, it is hard to verify these claims without a published, publicly available record. When game outcomes are cast into the blockchain, they become part of an unalterable public record, and casinos are suddenly forced to become accountable for their words. In this regard, provably fair bitcoin casinos whose results have been verified provide some of the cleanest, most publicly transparent gameplay of the entire internet.
What Games Can You Play at Bitcoin Casinos?
In addition to blockchain-based games, you can play just about every online casino game imaginable. In 2018, the graphics experience of the best bitcoin casinos rivals that of the best traditional online gambling sites. Though bitcoin casinos lagged industry standards in this department for several years, this is no longer the case. Bitcoin casino games are divided up into 4 main groups, and we’ve made a listing of some of the more popular subcategories for your reference:
- Slot Machines
- 3 Reel Slots
- 5 Reel Slots
- 7 Reel Slots
- Bonus Slots
- Progressive Slots
- Table Games
- Blackjack: Classic Blackjack, Multideck Blackjack, Progressive Blackjack, Video Blackjack
- Poker: No limit and fixed limit Texas Hold'em, 5 Card Draw, Omaha, Razz, Pai Gow, Stud Poker, Video Poker
- Sports and Event Betting
- Major League Sports (NFL, MLB and NBA)
- International League Competitions (FIFA)
- World Championship Competitions (Olympics)
- Politics (elections, political events)
- Television (Oscars, Miss Universe pageant)
- E-Sports (StarCraft, CounterStrike)
- Blockchain-based Games
Looking for a special type of slot machine game, like progressive slots? No problem. There are several dozen sites with hundreds upon hundreds of slot machines to choose from. Some of the most trusted and popular slot machine providers include Endorphina, Betsoft, Microgaming and SoftSwiss. Looking for a Blackjack game with 2 or less decks? How about Texas Hold’em or Roulette? Our easily-filterable selection of bitcoin casinos has got you covered.
The current options in bitcoin sportsbooks also allow you to place wagers on just about every professional sporting event in the world. In addition, they frequently include the Olympics, the Oscars, beauty pageants, as well as political events such as elections and the passing of legislation. Multiple styles of card games like Blackjack, Poker and Baccarat abound, giving the player an extraordinary list of options from which to choose.
One of the biggest, longest standing and most reputable bitcoin casinos/sportsbooks still in existence is Nitrogensports. They have been faithfully executing wagers without major incident since 2012. In this time, their sportsbook has grown exponentially to include eSports, award ceremonies and political outcomes. They also host one of the best and most trusted Texas Hold’em systems, with reliable versions of both tournament and sit-and-go style play options.
Best Bitcoin Casinos
In addition to the criteria we’ve covered so far:
- Community-trusted with positive feedback
- Relatively low or average withdrawal fees and requirements
- Hosts provably fair games
- Has stood the test of time
… what other criteria makes a truly good casino? Also important to the overall gaming experience are:
- Ease of deposit process and site navigability
- Graphically pleasant format and games
- Diverse selection of games or sporting events
- Prompt customer service and/or issue resolution
While everybody’s definition of a good casino is different, a few casinos recommended multiple times by independent sources include:
- Cloudbet (slots)
- Betphoenix (sportsbook)
- Bitcasino.io (slots, cards and videopoker)
- mBitCasino (slots, all other casino games)
- Fortune Jack (live dealers, provably fair games)
- Nitrogensports (sportsbook, other event wagering)
These sites fit all or most of our criteria for being a good bitcoin casino. Other signs of a dependable casino include:
- A large assortment of games
- A widely accepted gambling operations license
- No deposit fees
- Quick withdraw process
- Reliable customer service
- No confusing bonus structures
Remember, you can always go outside these rules of thumb, but we are emphasizing security and reasonableness over graphics and expectations of high rewards.
In addition to making sure that you are compliant with your country’s internet gambling laws and have trust in your bitcoin casino of choice, we offer the following tidbits for keeping your bitcoin and account information safe:
- Do a test withdrawal from a casino to your wallet to make sure that it works. See if the withdrawal takes significantly longer than advertised, or is more expensive than advertised. The last thing anybody wants is to win a bunch of bitcoin only to have it stuck indefinitely in a casino.
- Remember to always keep your wallet and casino account information private. Never upload bitcoin-related information to a cloud service that is subject to being hacked. Though copying and pasting casino account credentials avoids capture of this information by keystroke logging malware, your best bet for privacy is to keep your login ID and password on paper and not stored in document files on your computer. Even better is to memorize this information.
- Never give out your bitcoin private key to anyone, as this may be used to sweep the balance of your bitcoin from your wallet. If a casino - or any other bitcoin business - asks for the private keys to one of your personal addresses, run the other direction, as any legitimate business will never ask for this info (it’s the equivalent of being asked for your Social Security Number).
- Don’t leave large amounts of bitcoin on casinos. You may be using an extremely trustworthy casino, run by an honest staff, but they are still high-profile targets for hackers. The only way to have true peace of mind is by storing the majority of your bitcoin in a wallet of which you are the only person that has access to your private keys.
- Beware of phishing and scam sites. They usually look a lot like a popular site that you may be familiar with, but the URL is slightly different from that of the real page. Imitation sites like these are attempting to steal your login information by tricking you into giving it to them instead of the real site. You can avoid this by bookmarking the real casino site so you aren’t tempted to click other links to get there.
What Other Cryptocurrencies Can I Gamble With?
The list of other coins accepted by online gambling sites is long and constantly expanding. You may find cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin to be better suited for your tastes, such as those with shorter confirmation times or smaller transaction fees. Some popular “altcoins” used in cryptocurrency casinos include:
Betting with DOGE
Though probably not a direct intention by its founders, dogecoin is a terrific gaming currency. With a plentiful supply of over 100 billion coins in circulation, a transaction fee of less that $0.01 and an average network confirmation time of 1-2 minutes, DOGE is ideal for those looking to gamble with small amounts of money and/or put in a bet quickly. Quick bets are essential for those looking to get in on a sporting event right before it starts or to make live bets in the middle of an event, when odds can change rapidly -- sometimes within a matter of seconds.
Betting with ETH
The average Ethereum transaction fee of $0.30 to $0.50 is also quite small when compared to bitcoin’s $3-$5. Despite enjoying levels of global adoption not seen by any other cryptocurrency besides bitcoin, ETH transaction confirmation times remain much quicker, averaging between 1-2 minutes. Since Ethereum is firmly in 2nd place in terms of the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies, we expect casinos will be more likely to adopt it than others in the near future. Even though ETH remains just as volatile as any altcoin, its price trend remains in the upward direction, unlike that of DOGE.
There are some casinos that only accept their own digital currency, which is usually purchased for dollars at the casino or else through a cryptocurrency exchange or website. One of the oldest such coins is Casinocoin (CSC), created in 2013 with the sole purpose of being a universal betting currency. Another such example is Unikoin and their e-sports casino Unikrn, which has been in existence since 2015 and is getting a makeover by some high-profile investors in 2017. Other gambling-specific cryptocurrencies include PeerPlays (PPY), ChanceCoin (CHA) and Evolution (EVO).
Can I Invest in Bitcoin Casinos?
The quick answer is “yes,” and most of them will let you know about it on their home page, usually in the top menu section. Simply look for the menu option “Invest” or “Investors.” A common way which cryptocurrency-based companies are raising funds are through the ICO (Initial Coin Offering). An ICO is just like an IPO (Initial Public Offering), except instead of shares distributed to be traded on a stock exchange, they are coins or tokens distributed to be traded on a cryptocurrency exchange. Sometimes the tokens have some intrinsic functionality or use outside of acting like a stock or currency. Holder rewards programs or the ability to grant access to special features of a website are also means of incentivizing buyers to hold their token. Popular development platforms like Ethereum have given ICO investors and traders flexible options that allow for high degrees of customization and functionality. Though token sales are closed for some of them (meaning the investment period is now over), here is a list of some successful and ongoing casino-related ICO projects of 2017 and 2018:
Tips for Any New Investor
It doesn’t matter how avid or proficient of a gambler you are, if you don’t know the basic rules of cryptocurrency investing, you stand a chance of losing some or all of your money. Even though professional investors still suffer losses from time to time, it is important to minimize your exposure to unnecessary risk by heeding some pretty basic advice:
- Never invest in a project that offers fixed returns. This is one of the first signs of a Ponzi scheme, in which money taken in from new investors is used to pay old investors, until the new money stops coming in. ICOs that offer daily or even weekly returns are likely to be scams. Even Bernie Madoff, who ran the most successful Ponzi scheme ever, only offered his customers 2.5-4% on their investments, per year. Be on the lookout for excessively greedy projects, such as those offering huge dividends or attempting to raise unnecessarily large amounts of cash.
- Look for a public and previously-successful development team. In the Development Team section of any good whitepaper (which the ICO should also have), you can find the names of primary developers, executive officers, marketing and social media experts, under their pictures. Links to LinkedIn profiles and/or resumes are good ideas, but if the team members have previous successes in blockchain-related projects, that is definitely a positive sign for an ICO.
- Get a gauge of community interest and public opinion. Any ICO with a truly brilliant idea will stir sparks of interest in the cryptocurrency community. Do a Google search and look for public feedback about an ICO, especially from any of the following social media outlets:
- Assess the news coverage. How many news stories about an ICO, outside of the ICO home page, came up in your Google search? Were any of them negative? Negative press from any semi-reputable online publication is almost always an ICO killer, because no journalistic enterprise ever succeeded by reporting falsehoods or potentially libelous material. Positive stories of course can have the opposite effect, giving credence to genuinely useful ideas.
- Find an active and responsive development team. Some ICOs may sound brilliant on paper, but once the process is activated and investor funds are collected, their development teams become kind of lazy. A trail-off of activity can be detected in the frequency of communication with investors, whether it be on the project homepage or in social media they chose to engage. These are signs that the developers have either lost faith or interest in a project, and perhaps gone to work on other projects. These are not the qualities you want in a startup company.
In addition to these 5 basic rules for ICOs, you’ll want to make sure the project you are considering for investment has something unique to offer that is useful to society. How does the ICO intend to change or improve upon the classic business models of, in this case, the online casino industry? Clever marketing can only get a mediocre idea so far. Ultimately, it is innovation, ambition and honesty that drive real success.
Here is a link to our Casino ICO section for a list of previous and ongoing cryptocurrency casino and gambling related ICOs.
Disclaimers for Investing
In addition to beholding themselves to disclaimers found in the website or whitepaper of an ICO, it is important to remember that ICO investors have very few legal protections. Unlike stock IPOs, ICOs are largely unregulated and not bound to the same requirements as that of a company getting itself listed on a stock exchange. For instance, ICOs are not required to publish financial records, incorporate themselves as a company, or register with any official governmental body or agency. As such, they are not monitored by oversight agencies with any legal power, and victims of ICO fraud are not entitled to the same judicial processes they would be when investing in an IPO.
Also different from the IPO process is the fact that coins or tokens distributed to investors during an ICO are often not guaranteed to be eligible for trade on a cryptocurrency exchange. Unlike stock IPOs which must register for listing on a specific stock exchange prior to launch, ICOs have no such requirement and it is possible that their coin or token will not be placed on an exchange at all, leaving holders without a place to sell them. Remember that without an exchange to be traded on, there is no way for the public to determine the price of something, effectively making it zero.
Online BTC Faucets
For a couple of years after the launch of bitcoin, when the price struggled to get above $100 or even $10, bitcoin faucets were plentiful and offered small, free streams of bitcoin to anyone who wanted to experiment with the new technology. After the price of BTC touched $1000 for the first time in late 2013, faucets were somewhat relegated to the past, as 0.001 bitcoin was now worth a dollar instead of a tenth of one penny. Because the cheapest bitcoin transaction will now cost you $3 on a good day, there is no such thing as a bitcoin faucet anymore in the traditional sense, though some casinos offer small amounts of bitcoin to user accounts on an hourly or daily basis. Check out our list of casinos with free bitcoin faucets for examples of how a casino faucet works.
While bitcoin and cryptocurrency casinos still only make up a fraction of the multibillion-dollar industry of online gambling, they have exploded in popularity over the last year or two, capturing more of the mainstream on a daily basis. Casino players are becoming more comfortable with the idea of cryptocurrency and the blockchain, and now that bitcoin remains unhacked and as popular as ever almost 8 years into its existence, a steady stream of them are transitioning to cryptocurrency, ready to take advantage of its improved access, instantaneousness of transfer and accountability for game fairness.
For those interested in investing – a financial art which has been likened to gambling in certain respects over the years – there are plenty of opportunities to invest in technologies that have the ability to revolutionize online game and casino play. Whether you are playing for fun, wagering for real or investing for profit, the Wild West age of cryptocurrency adds an element of uncertainty and surprise to user gameplay. While those who risk big stand to gain the biggest rewards, they also stand to lose the biggest as well. Having said that, after explaining as much as we could about the basics and mentioning all the warnings we could think of, we hope you have fun out there.[/expand]
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