Bitcoin has emerged as a global player in online gambling markets, but it is not limited to just poker or the more popular Bitcoin casino niche. Online sports betting, is one of the fastest growing areas of Bitcoin’s expansion.
While Bitcoin sports betting sites are much lower in number than their fiat-based counterparts, we have to keep in mind that Bitcoins were only introduced in 2009 and have only recently started to gather mainstream popularity. Considering this, online sports bettors have an emerging industry of sports betting options we have not had in previous years.
While many bettors have regulated sportsbooks they can use in their own jurisdictions, many in other countries are without that luxury. This makes Bitcoin sportsbooks a strong choice in those countries where sports betting online is more difficult. Even those in liberalized markets can benefit from the crypto-currency’s unique attributes.
Who are the Best Bitcoin Betting Sites?
Compared to Traditional Bookmakers
In previous years, it would not be fair to compare Bitcoin betting sites to their fiat-based counterparts, but things have changed drastically, especially over the past year. While Bitcoin sites still don’t have quite as many options as the regulated online bookmaking giants of Europe, the gap is getting closer. Depending on certain factors, sportsbooks that solely operate in Bitcoin have some clear advantages.
To those with a legal landscape in place, the regulated sportsbook market may not sway them to begin using Bitcoin. However, fans of crypto-currencies and sports bettors based in the United States, Asia, Russia and numerous other countries will find plenty to like.
The US government has had its sights set on the online sports betting industry for over a decade. They jailed founders of bookmaking sites, indicted others and overall do their best to disrupt their activities. This includes domain seizures and in some cases the freezing of foreign bank accounts, which are always vulnerable to government action no matter how safe the sportsbook claims to be.
While the government is not happy with the legions of unregulated online casinos and poker rooms offering their services to US citizens – they especially have it out for the sportsbooks. It is much harder to deposit and withdraw funds than it was even 5-6 years ago. There are plenty of excellent sportsbooks available for US players as of 2014, but there are also a host of “scam book” operators as well.
Bitcoin is not immune to scams or betting sites running away with players’ funds. However, it is essentially invulnerable to government seizure. Bitcoin’s lack of a connection to any worldwide banking system makes this impossible. In this sense, Bitcoin is the world’s safest currency for online sports betting.
No Red Tape, No Personal Information
Some online betting sites are notorious for taking their time processing withdrawal requests. This is not to say these sites are fraudulent, but it will often take over a month for a check or bank wire to be processed. Also, bettors are frequently asked for documentation before they can withdraw.
This can include copies of a player’s driver’s license, utility bills or even front and back scans of the credit card they used to deposit. This is a lot of personal information to be giving an offshore gambling site. Once again, most of these operators have integrity but every industry has some bad apples. At sign up, new accounts are required to enter their name, address, email, and phone number.
The whole process is a bit much, and though it is for security reasons, we can’t blame bettors who don’t want to deal with this type of scrutiny. Bitcoin bookmakers rarely ask bettors for any personal details. Some may require an email address, but this is just used for password resets. Others may ask for your date of birth, but this is just to assure them that you are not an underage gambler.
Faster Deposits and Withdrawals
Bitcoin transactions can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a few hours. Some sites such as Cloudbet process withdrawals almost instantly, though normally sites take a few hours to clear them. This is comparable to e-wallet withdrawals, such as Neteller or Skrill, and is significantly quicker than other methods, such as person-to-person transfer, money order, or bank wire. Best of all, there are no fees for deposits nor withdrawals.
This has been covered extensively in many Bitcoin focused gambling articles, but it’s still worth repeating because of the amount of money bettors lose from deposit and withdrawal fees. US players have it the worst, where they could potentially lose up to 10% of their profits by paying fees on cashouts.
There are rarely fees for deposits and withdrawals in regulated betting markets, but that does not mean these fees magically disappear into thin air. Bookies cover them instead of forcing the costs onto bettors, which cut into their bottom-line profits. Though they still offer plenty of promotions and giveaways, their payment processing costs are their biggest expense as a business. This in turn leads to tighter profit margins which means bookies will need to increase the VIG on their lines.
Competitive Odds and Extensive Markets
If you have been following Bitcoin sportsbooks since their inception, it is abundantly clear that the industry is growing at a rapid rate. The amount of Bitcoin betting sites has more than doubled over the past year, and there are now dozens of options for players to choose from.
The betting markets on offer are now comparable to the world’s top sportsbooks, and some actually have more expansive odds than many fiat-based books. The best Bitcoin sportsbooks have a nearly unlimited list of markets, from American sports such as Baseball and Football, to every soccer league on the planet. It doesn’t stop there either. Mixed martial arts (MMA), politics betting, auto racing, and more obscure sports such as volleyball and handball are on offer as well. A large percentage of them also offer live betting markets for the most popular leagues and competitions such as the NFL, NBA and top soccer leagues like the English Premier League or Spanish Primera division.
Parlays, accumulators, teasers and other types of bets are available for the appropriate sports. Future wagers on most major sports are also available for betting. After scouring the leading Bitcoin bookies, it is clear that their odds are some of the most competitive online.
While deposit bonuses were basically non-existent a year ago things have now changed. Many sites offer 100% deposit bonuses and for big money as well. Many will match players for several Bitcoins or more, making the bonus a much larger amount than most fiat-based bookmakers.
While the above no doubt sounds great, I don’t want this article to be biased so I would like to highlight the few disadvantages. Most recreational bettors will have no issue with the betting limits that Bitcoin sportsbooks offer to players, but professional type bettors may have trouble getting down bigger bets. This can also be said for those who are fans of proposition bets. There are few markets available for team and player props. These bets are favorites for some, so it is something worth noting.
I also have one golden rule when it comes to all my Bitcoin betting activities online. Only ever deposit the amount you plan to bet with. If you are betting on one game, then only deposit the amount you want to bet. If you win cash it back out to your wallet. While many bookies such as NitrogenSports and Anonibet have good track records, there is absolutely no reason to leave your BTC in somebody else’s hands. Withdrawals cost nothing, so I strongly recommend cashing out after every bet and redepositing when you want to make another. One simply needs to recall the BitcoinLiveBets debacle to realize that even seemingly reputable shops can turn bad overnight.
One extraordinary thing about Bitcoin is how it can be easily moved from one address to another. So, if there’s a bet available at another sportsbook, it’s a lot faster to get bitcoins from one BTC book to another, compared to fiat-based books. The cashout process is also a lot longer at the latter.
Most Bitcoin sports betting sites cash out in less than 10 hours and the majority are even faster; in fact many of the leading shops offer instant cash outs – as soon as you withdraw you will receive funds to your wallet in less than 60 seconds. This is especially gratifying for newer bettors who have a smaller bankroll. They will be able to transfer bitcoins from one sportsbook to another with little trouble and best of all without deposit and withdrawal fees.
Using Bitcoin Sportsbooks
From a practical standpoint, Bitcoin sportsbooks are no different from traditional ones when it comes to placing wagers. After they make an account, bettors simply fund their account by sending Bitcoins to the address that is assigned to their account. Some BTC bookies don’t even require bettors to make an account to bet. Instead, Bitcoin addresses will be assigned to different markets, and bettors can send the amount they wish to wager to the specified address. If the bet wins, the sportsbook will send the Bitcoins back (this may be automated) to the Bitcoin address that placed the wager.
From there, the process works in the same way as it would with fiat-currency, but it is obviously calculated in Bitcoins. Some sportsbooks will have the current price of Bitcoins available on screen to help bettors gauge the amount they are wagering. This number may be slightly delayed, but it is usually within a few dollars. For up to date price moves, it is best to check one of the larger Bitcoin exchanges/wallets or to simply look at the live price listed here on BitcoinSportsbooks.com.
Are Bitcoin Sportsbooks Trustworthy?
Yes, but it’s vital to remember that online sportsbooks fold regularly, whether they are based in Euros, Dollars, or Bitcoins. Traditional online sportsbooks have plenty of watchdog sites and forums, but all that information should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The Bitcoin community does a pretty admirable job of policing themselves, and fraudulent outfits are sought out quickly through the vibrant community surrounding the currency. Also, the sportsbooks we promote on this site will always be in excellent standing within the industry.