Following its introduction and rise in online gambling markets, Bitcoin has been adopted by casino players more than any other form of online wagering has. Fiat-based online casinos should probably be worried about some of the things the Bitcoin casino community has been able to bring to the table in just a few short years.
Bitcoin casinos dwarf the Bitcoin online sportsbook and poker room markets in value by a large margin. Many of the top casino sites are worth $10 million or more, including Satoshi Dice, which sold for 126,315BTC in July 2013. Simply put, Bitcoin casinos are the lifeblood of the Bitcoin gambling economy.
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While a $10-12 million dollar company is nothing to discount, this is a paltry amount compared to some of the world’s top online casino companies. These companies are worth billions of dollars, and just one of the larger casinos dwarfs the entire Bitcoin casinos industry in market cap.
One would think that, with this enormous financial advantage, traditional fiat-based casinos would be able to offer a much better product to online casino gamblers. But this is not the case. While traditional online casinos have their perks and advantages, the Bitcoin industry has already surpassed them in many areas. Betting limits cater for players of all bankroll levels, with mBTC and uBTC denominations allowed – much unlike fiat-based casinos, where table limits are generally $1-$5 minimum and slots start from 1 cent a spin. Likewise, cashout times are also faster than traditional casino sites, with instant cashouts on offer at many of the top Bitcoin casino sites.
Traditional online casinos still have more betting options and casino games than BTC casinos, but the gap is getting closer every day. Bitcoin casinos do not just have the standard casino games such as blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat; they offer much more. They have variations of all these games, plus a large assortment of other casino favourites – a selection that is comparable to those billion-dollar casino properties mentioned above.
Slot machines are the first choice of so many online casino gamblers, and the Bitcoin crop of casinos have taken notice. Most sites have dozens of slots on offer, making them an excellent option for the slots-only type of players. Video poker and other related gambling games are also available. Of course, the selection of games varies depending on the casino.
One of the drawbacks compared to fiat-based online casinos is the lack of deposit bonuses and VIP Programs. Some BTC casinos do offer these, but they are usually much smaller than the massive amount of bonuses players can get on established sites. The same goes for VIP Programs or rewards programmes – some of the bigger Bitcoin casinos offer these, but the industry has some work to do in this area.
A word of warning: Some online casino operators have started to offer hacked and unlicensed slot games to their customers. We recommend avoiding these games. While these casinos seem to be above board, there is no way of telling whether the slots have been tampered with. Make sure to check our casino ratings page regularly for up-to-date ratings of all the biggest BTC online casinos.
One key advantage that is true for all Bitcoin gambling is the anonymity factor. There is no personal information that needs to be entered when signing up. Casinos normally just require a username and password, and perhaps an email address for password reset. This is far superior to the litany of personal information required when signing up to fiat-based online casino sites. Also, there are no country restrictions for the vast major of BTC casinos, so players in unregulated or illegal markets will have no issue signing up.
Another challenge for those who are operating in illegal or grey-area jurisdictions with regard to online gambling is the cost of depositing and withdrawing.
There are no fees for transferring bitcoins to and from your Bitcoin wallet over to the online casino of your choosing. This can save players hundreds or even thousands of USD per year in deposit and withdrawal fees, which they would be paying at a fiat-based online casino. That may very well be the difference between a winning and a losing year at casino gambling. And that’s not all.
When it comes down to it, this is all that truly matters. It’s also where Bitcoin shines. Bitcoin casinos have much better odds than their fiat-based rivals on nearly every type of casino game available. Their slot payouts are especially generous, with some offering payout percentages as high as 99%.
Most impressively, it is all verifiable through the Bitcoin protocol. Using cryptographic hash technology, gamblers can verify that the outcome is random for both casino and player. This is achieved by entering the client seed and server seed of each individual bet to verify the randomness of the game.
This stands as one of the most definitive ways to prove an online casino’s integrity. With fiat-based casinos, an investigation of all games and casino software could take months. Even then, there would be no way of determining the randomness of each bet or transaction with 100% certainty. While it is of course highly unlikely that players are being cheated by large casinos, each transaction cannot be independently verified.
Since Bitcoin casino BitZino introduced provably fair gambling with their blackjack game in 2012, the vast majority of Bitcoin casinos have followed suit. Indeed, the provably fair system is one of the most innovative aspects of the Bitcoin casino movement.
In today’s market, it would be unwise to play at a casino that is not provably fair, and it’s therefore highly recommended that bettors avoid casinos that are not certified as such. It’s not that these casinos are necessarily cheating players, but there is no absolute way of verifying the integrity of their games. Always go with a provably fair operator to make sure you are getting an honest outcome.
Most of the casinos we recommend to players will be sites that deal exclusively in Bitcoin, but many fiat-based online casinos have begun to pick up in this regard over the past year. Bitcoin’s introduction into mainstream gambling sites is a positive one that’s allowing the cryptocurrency more legitimacy in regulated markets.
However, instead of sitting at the virtual blackjack table with bitcoins, the casino will exchange the BTCs for their current value in USD, EUR or GBP. Gamblers will then sit down at the table in the fiat currency of their choice. When it’s time to withdraw funds, these will be converted back into Bitcoin and sent to the player’s wallet.
As Bitcoin continues to rise in popularity (and hopefully in price), it will only be a matter of time before the world’s largest casinos begin to adopt it as a cashier option. Regardless, competition in any industry is a good thing as it leads to better deals for consumers – which should mean that those of us who enjoy casino games have a lot to look forward to.