Online casinos were among some of the earliest adopters of cryptocurrency payments. At a time when the financial media was focusing on the volatility of bitcoin and other brand counterparts, the online casino industry was beginning to embrace digital currencies. The additional layers of security provided by cryptocurrency payments combined with anonymity has an appeal to online iGamers around the world.
The exact percentage of casinos accepting cryptocurrency payments is hard to quantify. However, some estimates suggest that as much as half of all online digital currency transactions are related to casino and online gaming. While this figure may be optimistic, there are certainly plenty of gamers across online casinos, poker sites and other transactions related to iGaming representing a significant proportion of transactions in bitcoin and other digital currencies.
The technology behind cryptocurrencies has multiple benefits for online casinos and other forms of casino operators like Virgin Games and their customers. Blockchain offers a more secure way to record and store transaction data and is virtually un-hackable, meaning deposits, withdrawals and winnings are stored and moved securely. Personal data is also encrypted and securely stored within the blockchain, removing apprehension about sharing bank account details online.
Another benefit for customers accessing crypto-casinos is increased transparency without compromising security. The blockchain technology maintains a clear record of every transaction that takes place within the system. This also tracks the code underpinning the games, which makes it almost impossible for gambling operators to rig the outcome of any game or wager. Customers can be assured that the system is operating fairly and that the outcomes of any games or wagers have not been manipulated in any way. This makes for an unbiased online system for placing bets and collecting winnings.
Many of the more unique games operated within online casinos are unregulated by major bodies such as the MFSA or the Gambling Commission. Players of games such as poker and blackjack who choose to access crypto-casinos can legally see all the details they need to be reassured that the game has been played fairly and see where money has exchanged hands. This includes being able to identify which other players’ losses have made part of any winning pot and exactly what percentage the casino or bookmaker is earning for each transaction. This information is provided transparently but in such as way that no player has access to any personal information about any other player.
Return on Investment
Cryptocurrencies are a relatively new phenomenon, whereas gambling has been around in one form or another since the dawn of civilisation. However, the advent of the internet means that many modern gamers are more clued up than ever before about the mathematics behind gambling. Younger gamers in particular are demanding more transparency about the house edge and expected rates of return for optimum play. Many see placing sports wagers or playing casino games for money as a form of trading, where they play the odds to try and generate a profitable strategy.
Reduced Transaction Fees
Another benefit to players of using cryptocurrencies for online gaming is a reduction in transaction fees. When using bitcoin or other digital currencies to play, gamers can have their deposits and withdrawals come directly via an electronic wallet instantly. Funds can then be used for other digital transactions or converted into cash easily with minimal fees and no bank charges. At present, bitcoin is one of the most versatile currencies in the arena for this type of transaction as it can be easily divided into smaller units, which can be used to play games for lower stakes.
As bitcoin and other digital currencies are still in their infancy, there are several countries worldwide that do not yet recognise this form of currency as legal tender. One potential benefit for gamers using cryptocurrencies to play online is that they can bet using cryptocurrencies and have their winnings converted to cash. Of course, this strategy is risky as it relies on players winning more than they lose. However, for a lucky few it can prove a good way to convert invalid cryptocurrencies into a valid stream of income.
Reduced Regulations for Operators
At present there are many regions where online casinos operating solely using cryptocurrency are exempt from gambling regulations. Loopholes in laws mean that some are not considered as gambling operators as they are not dealing in cash. In some cases, this can help people living in states where there are prohibitions or restrictions on online gambling. Websites that are barred from accepting cash payments via credit or debit cards may be able to accept payments made in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies from people in restricted areas.
Cryptocurrencies have been gaining traction in the mainstream for several years now. Fears about financial volatility have been somewhat assuaged and more businesses of all types are beginning to be open to accepting digital currencies as part of their online payment systems. Casinos were among the first sector to adopt the technology and it seems likely that it will only become more widespread across the online gambling industry as people come to trust in cryptocurrencies more.