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Published Friday, January 6th, 2017 in

Bitcoin Gambling Guide

For many players, gambling with bitcoin is a sensible alternative to gambling with traditional currency. Bitcoin, along with other altcoins, carry with them a number of advantages over their fiat counterparts, from speediness through to security, anonymity and ease of use. This article, coupled with our general guide on bitcoin, will provide you with all the knowledge you need to get started in this space.

Why do people use Bitcoin for gambling?

To kick off this bitcoin gambling guide, we’ll start with the most common question of all – why bother using bitcoin in the first place? Let’s cut to it – the reasons are clear:

  1. Anonymity

    Many traditional casino, poker and sportsbook operators will ask for a series of ID checks before allowing users to deposit or withdraw their funds. While some bitcoin gambling sites may still require ID checks, the vast majority will allow users to sign up, deposit and withdraw with nothing more than email address – and in some cases, they do not even require an email address!

    Those gambling sites that do not require any information simply generate all the information they need in the form of a browser cookie. When you arrive on the website, a unique ID along with a deposit address is provided, and that’s all there is to it.

    NOTE: By gambling in this way you will not be able to recover any funds should you lose access to the account i.e. by deleting your cookies. It’s advisable to register accounts with a username and email.

  2. Speediness

    The lack of ID checks makes gambling with bitcoin an extremely quick process. But beyond the speed of registration there is also the speed at which transactions can occur – typically a lot faster than a bank. A number of gambling sites allow for deposits with just 1 confirmation, this means that users can expect funds to arrive in their account in roughly 10 minutes.

    Some platforms will require more than 1 confirmation, the purpose of this is to mitigate the possibility that a depositor has double spent their bitcoin – something that rarely occurs but has happened in the past (particularly on gambling sites). Each confirmation requires a 10 minute wait time – depositing bitcoin in a platform requiring 6 confirmations will typically take an hour.

  3. Transparency

    It seems counter-intuitive to call something anonymous while at the same time stating that it is also transparent. But here lies one of the key properties of bitcoin, and why it is such a powerful tool not only for gambling.

    Should you send funds to a platform, you can prove without doubt that those funds were indeed sent. And likewise, should you withdraw funds from a platform, you will receive a transaction ID that shows bitcoins moving from your casino wallet address to your own personal wallet address. This level of transparency, and available to the public, holds all parties equally accountable.

    In the traditional gambling market, funds can be held without clear reason or effectively stolen from player accounts without any recourse – something which can still happen in the bitcoin space, but when dealing with bitcoin it is much easier to publicize and prove.

Are bitcoin gambling sites rigged?

Bitcoin has had a fairly troublesome history, not least with the scandal of Mt Gox and the many millions of dollars that were lost in its collapse. Events like these have caused a fair amount of skepticism amongst many who deal with the cryptocurrency. Due to a lack of regulation in the bitcoin gambling space, there is no certainty of a platform’s integrity – this integrity must be scrutinized and ultimately it is the player who bears the risk. However, there are a number of factors that will help you to decide on the best gambling site for you.

Provably Fair

You may have heard the phrase ‘provably fair’ thrown around from time to time. If a bitcoin gambling website is marked as provably fair, it means that the cryptography used to randomly deal cards, or show random dice results, was not meddled with during gameplay i.e. the casino did not see that you had split 9’s in a hand of Blackjack, and was not responsible for the subsequent bust that you ran into.

Provably fair can be a technically challenging concept to understand, however a casino that is provably fair will allow the player to use some simple 3rd party cryptography software to demonstrate that the input (a shuffled card deck) was not changed at all during the gameplay. For those interested in determining the fairness of a bitcoin casino game for themselves, read this guide to manual verification of provably fair systems.

Online Reviews and Ratings

While provably fair is without a doubt the best indicator of a non-rigged bitcoin gambling site, there are more rudimentary ways of checking the legitimacy of a platform. There are many review websites out there, including bigcoingambling.com, all of which will go to lengths to provide a good overview of a platform, and would never (at least in our case) publish a review of a platform known to be underhand. In fact, we actively blacklist bitcoin gambling sites which have been reported as scamming their players – should you find any issues with a website, please do contact us.

Bitcoin Gambling Licenses

There are many countries and jurisdictions where gambling is either frowned upon or has been made outright illegal. However there are also a number of countries that embrace gambling as a legitimate commercial and recreational activity, and those countries have stepped forward to provide many bitcoin gambling operators with a license.

Your chosen bitcoin gambling site should state somewhere in its footer or terms and conditions that it has a gambling license, and will cite the license number that was given to them. Licenses will differ from region to region, but typically they will be put in place to verify that the operator has a certain level of integrity and will place them under regulation of some sort. It is important to note that licenses will vary in what they contain, but typically a license will show that the operator has made some level of effort to comply with important gambling regulation. Should you wish to file a complaint, the license issuer is often a good place to start, and many openly accept complaints against their licensees.

What Are The Limits on Gambling With Bitcoin?

Due to the loose regulation amongst bitcoin gambling sites, the limits that are in place will vary between different sites, largely based on each site’s own risk tolerance.

Minimum Bitcoin Betting Limits

The minimum size of a bet is of course limited by the number zero. However some gambling sites will let you bet figures that are indeed, for all intents and purposes, zero. Bitcoin can be broken down into minute amounts, fractions of a cent even, and by doing so it is possible to transact amounts that simply would not be possible with traditional currencies.

For this reason, a number of platforms (particularly those operating dice games), will allow extremely small, objectively insignificant amounts, to be bet on their games. This minimum bet size makes bitcoin gambling extremely accessible, and will benefit those not willing to risk a lot of cash.

Maximum Bitcoin Betting Limits

The maximum bet size that you can bet with bitcoin will vary for platform to platform and game to game. For example, casinos don’t like their players being able to bet big on low house-edge games, as the variance can be too high and they could find themselves going broke if a few whales strike at the same time.

That’s not to say the maximum bet size for bitcoin gambling wouldn’t be large enough for most players. mBit Casino for example, will allow their players to bet up to 2BTC on Blackjack, while others may limit that bet size to just 0.5BTC. As it stands there are no ‘super high-stakes’ websites for betting with bitcoin, however the vast majority of players should be satisfied with limits reaching well over 1BTC across most games.

Betting With Bitcoin – Decimal Places

Decimal places are arguably one of the most frustrating and difficult-to-follow aspects of bitcoin. If bitcoin wallets and transactions weren’t enough of a barrier, then decimal places could well be!

For obvious reasons, bitcoin gambling sites will allow players to bet with fractions of a bitcoin, these fractions are often appended with BTC, mBTC or uBTC or possibly an entirely separate measurement that we haven’t seen before. These figures are quite simple, but they take some time getting used to, and a mistake could cost you dearly. To put this simply:

1BTC = 1000mBTC = 1,000,000uBTC

It is then the current dollar amount for every 1BTC that you need to be conscious of when considering how much ‘real world’ money you are putting at stake.

Can US Players Gamble With Bitcoin?

This is the age old question of bitcoin gambling, and when Black Friday (put simply – the day the US banned online gambling) hit the market on April 15th 2011, no one could predict how US gambling operators and players would react. As many saw, funds were frozen in poker rooms like Full Tilt Poker, and a number of casino operators shut down. In fact, the traditional gambling market as a whole took a giant slump in the years following Black Friday. As a result – bitcoin gambling has grown faster than anyone could expect.

This fast growth should not be taken to imply that bitcoin gambling in the United States is legal. While many American players will bet with bitcoin, it is possible that they are doing so illegally. The reality is that laws differ from one state to another, and while one state may have a very hard line when it comes to online gambling, another state may be far more flexible. Legal or not, the fact that many Americans bet with bitcoin shows that the US Government has struggled to stay on top of this form of betting. But who could blame them? From a practical point of view, it’s extremely difficult to monitor what users do with their bitcoin. Should a US player decide that they wanted to gamble with bitcoin through a VPN on a mobile network then so be it – a dedicated gambler will find a way to remain anonymous.

Of course this then becomes an issue for US players looking to convert gambling funds into USD or any other currency. There is a point at which banks will ask questions and funds may be frozen – ultimately it is your choice and your risk to take.

Gambling Site Icons Explained

Icon Explanation
Exclusive Bonus Exclusive Bonus – we have an exclusive bonus available at this gambling site.
Bitcoin Withdrawals Not Accepted – while all gambling sites listed on BigcoinGambling.com accept Bitcoin deposits; some do not accept withdrawals. Keep a look out for this symbol!
Provably Fair – a gambling site that has a provably fair random number generator (RNG) can demonstrate via a 3rd party application that their games are not rigged. As an analogy, it can be proven that a deck of cards had not been tampered with once it had been shuffled.

Note, a gambling site that does not show this icon should not cause alarm. Some websites do not consider it necessary while others would find it too costly to become provably fair.

Open Source – a gambling site that is open source means that it has its code available for the public to view and scrutinize. This level of transparency will provide peace of mind for any gambler looking to bet with bitcoin.
Anonymity – this icon will appear next to any bitcoin gambling site where no personal details are required to bet, not even an email address.
Confirmations – the number of bitcoin confirmations required to make a deposit in the corresponding gambling website. Each confirmation takes, on average, 10 minutes.

Note, many platforms that offer zero deposit confirmations, will require that the same deposit has several confirmations on the bitcoin network before the funds can be withdrawn.

Mobile Friendly – the gambling site offers a mobile/tablet friendly platform.

View all bitcoin gambling sites

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