What is a ‘Bitcoin’, and how can it be used at casinos?

Bitcoin has been around for more than 10 years, and it’s without a doubt the most commonly used cryptocurrency in the world. What makes a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin so unique in comparison with other currencies is that it’s not connected to any country, and even though it can be highly volatile in its value, it’s not controlled or affected by politics or other outside factors. The only thing that determines the value of a Bitcoin is supply and demand on a worldwide basis.

As Bitcoin gains more popularity each year there are also more and more merchants and service providers that have started accepting this as a valid payment method. This also goes for online casinos, but not all casinos that want to offer Bitcoin can, as not all gambling licences allow this just yet.

Casinos with a licence to offer Bitcoin

Even though Bitcoin is not controlled by any country or jurisdiction it can be controlled to some degree by some regulatory authorities, at least when it comes to the usage of it. This is the case for the casino industry, as some gambling authorities allow Bitcoin as a currency, and some don’t. For us Canadian players who want to use this currency when gambling online, it’s casinos operating under the Curacao licence we have to aim for, as Curacao eGaming allows their casinos to offer several different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. This has quickly made the Curacao licence more attractive to players than it has ever been before, and it’s without a doubt the greatest benefit you might get from choosing this casino licence.

However, even though right now Curacao is the best option we have for Bitcoin casinos, this might not last long. Also the Malta Gaming Authority – MGA – has started to play around with the idea of supporting this as a payment method. As we write this they are still in the sandbox stage of it all, so we still don’t know if and when this will become a reality. As of now MGA licenced casinos do not offer Bitcoin, so this currency is not supported by any casinos operating under the Maltese licence, which is a shame, as the licence from MGA is the most common one among Canadian online casinos.

Two types of Bitcoin casinos

There are two different kinds of Bitcoin casinos, and the thing that is common for both of them is that Bitcoin can be used for both deposits and withdrawals. Also, the games they offer might be the same, so the difference is how the Bitcoins are being used.

There are some pure Bitcoin casinos which don’t only support Bitcoin as a currency, but where Bitcoin is the only currency. That means that you don’t only use it as a form of currency for deposits and withdrawals, but your bets are also placed in Bitcoin.

The other option is what is often referred to as a Hybrid Bitcoin casino. This is a type of casino where Bitcoin can be used for both deposits and withdrawals, but not as a currency in itself while playing at the casino. This means your Bitcoins will be exchanged for whichever currency your account is in, such as CAD or EUR, before you start playing. The same way it gets exchanged back whenever you request a withdrawal.

Depositing with Bitcoin

When you are using your cryptocurrency for deposits you either have to add the amount you want to fund your account within Bitcoin or in your “normal” currency, depending on if it’s a pure Bitcoin casino or a Hybrid Bitcoin casino. After that is done you’ll complete the transaction the same way as when you are using Bitcoin on any other website which supports it. This means you’ll have to approve the transaction through your device, by either using a code or simply by scanning the QR code provided.

Once you have authorized the transaction it might take up to 10 minutes before your casino account is credited with your funds. So it’s not completely instant, but as close as it gets. There are fees connected to a Bitcoin transfer, but these are lower than what is normal for a transaction using other more traditional payment methods, like credit cards. Using Bitcoin can, therefore, be beneficial if your casino charges fees for both deposits and withdrawals.

Withdrawals only to Bitcoin

When you choose to use Bitcoin as the deposit method you also limit your withdrawal options to Bitcoin. This means you can not withdraw back to your bank account, a card or any other e-wallet. The winnings from a Bitcoin deposit must always go back to Bitcoin, and this means you can’t use an online casino as the go-between to sell your cryptocurrency.

The winnings from a deposit using Bitcoin need to be paid out as it doesn’t mean that the value is stable while playing. As you may already know, the Bitcoin value is highly volatile, and that means that the value can have both increased and decreased while you’ve been playing, especially if you leave the funds in your casino account for a while. This volatility is nothing the casino will take into account. If it’s a pure Bitcoin casino they will never exchange the cryptocurrency, so what you get has no connection to the value of the Bitcoin. If it’s a Hybrid casino you will receive the value as it is when the withdrawal is processed, and no alterations are made to account for the volatility of the value. This means you can both come out on the winning end, and the losing end, just like when gambling at a casino.

An anonymous payment method

All traditional payment methods that can be used for deposits at online casinos are connected to a name, and that means your name. There are only two exceptions to this, and that is prepaid options like PaysafeCard and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. The casinos can still see your name of course on the account the payment is used for, but there is no way for them to verify that the actual payment is done by you, which is making the whole thing a bit tricky when it comes to AML compliance (Anti Money Laundering).

As the payment isn’t connected to a name this is kind of like using cash online, as there is no money trail in the same way as when you use a payment card, an e-wallet or a bank transfer. This is also why you always have to withdraw back to the same method as the deposit came from, to minimize the risk of fraudulent or otherwise illegal transactions.

The fact that Bitcoin is anonymous is also why a lot of players choose to use it. They might not want their bank to know that they are spending money on online gambling, as this in some countries might affect one's credit score. They also might want to hide the transactions from someone they have a joint account with. Whatever the reason may be, this can indeed be considered a benefit to this deposit method.

Audrey Molly Photo Audrey Molly

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