In this article we’ll discuss one of the most revolutionary payment systems to emerge in recent years – Bitcoin. It’s an option that’s become increasingly attractive to gamers worldwide due to its low transaction fees and speed of funds transfer.
We’ll examine Bitcoin in the context of its use at online casinos, covering everything you need to know to safely add it to your list of payment options.
Let’s start with some background.
Bitcoin is an online payment system and digital currency, often referred to as cryptocurrency. The US Treasury describes it as a virtual currency. It works through a software “wallet” which is stored on the owner’s computer and enables them to pay for goods and services worldwide. The software is entirely open source, not owned by a single entity, and is available for all to use.
Bitcoins can be exchanged for your normal currency – and vice-versa at Bitcoin exchanges. It’s even possible to earn Bitcoins through a process called mining which involves using your own computer to crunch through calculations in order to generate new Bitcoins. This option has become too computationally expensive to make it worthwhile for most people these days so the simpler option is going to an exchange and buying them with your own money.
People can use Bitcoin to make payments to others – both individuals and businesses – from their wallets. One of the attractions of this is the low transaction fees compared to credit cards or payment systems like PayPal. Bitcoins can be spent directly from a computer, tablet or smartphone, and the system uses the highest levels of security to ensure safety for users.
As we can see, Bitcoin has a lot going for it. It’s simple to use and very secure, ideal for transactions with online businesses such as casinos. As it’s also easy to convert back into your normal currency, it’s one of the easiest methods of online payment once you have it set up.
Companies particularly appreciate the low fees which in some cases can actually be zero. Bitcoin is also a great fit for casino sites if you just want to deposit a small amount to take advantage of bonus offers when trying out a new service.
The other benefit to Bitcoin is its relative anonymity. While this may not be a concern for many, being able to pay into a casino account without it connecting back to your banks account or credit/debit cards in any way can be a positive for some people.
Having seen the benefits of Bitcoin, it’s no surprise that many people decide to look for casinos that accept the payment method. Let’s consider the casinos themselves now. What should you be looking for when choosing your next casino?
- Security: This should be an important factor however you fund your casino account. While Bitcoin offers very secure payments in itself, ensuring the casino keeps your details safe from other risks such as identity theft is something you need to be certain of. Legitimate sites will display and relevant gaming licenses or other regulations clearly on their site. The sites themselves should be fully secured to ensure your details are always safe.
- Software: By “software” here we mean the technology used to deliver an online casino experience to your machine or mobile device and how it performs in use. The solution used will affect the range of games available to you and how enjoyable they are to play. All casinos should include the staples such as roulette, blackjack and so on but extra games and options will often by dictated by which underlying platform the casino is using – this is particularly the case with slots. There are various software suppliers – you can find reviews of casino software here on the site – but the important thing is to find a game you enjoy playing. That’s the whole point after all!That is, after all, the point of signing up!
- Bonuses and Offers: All other things being equal, you would look for the casino that offers you the best sign-up offers. We steer clear of recommending going after the best bonuses above all else however. Safety and being able to play the games you want to play should always be your first priorities. Getting bonuses is just a nice way to get off to a good start with a particular casino. Also, remember that bonuses come with restrictions and stipulations and are not really “free money”. That said, it’s always nice to have a bit more cash to play with. You can find much more information about casino bonusesright here on the site.
- Good Reviews: You’re obviously looking for a casino site that provides a good user experience but how can you go about finding these? The only sure way is to check available reviews for casino sites and make sure the ones you have narrowed it down to have overall positive feedback. Don’t be fooled by 100% satisfaction ratings, they can often be a sign of review manipulation. You’re looking for an overall positive consensus so don’t get distracted by individual negative reviews.
- Account funding options: You’re probably looking at Bitcoin as your primary payment method but it’s always worth checking the other deposit and withdrawal methods available to you. Look out for particular restrictions so you’re sure you can access your money when and how you want. Also be on the lookout for excessive fees for withdrawals, delays and other factors that could be dealbreakers over time.
As we can see there are several factors to consider when choosing an online casino. You can find more info on this subject in this handy guide to online gambling.
Let’s have a quick look now at some good reasons for selecting online casinos that accept Bitcoin:
- Anonymity: Bitcoins allow you to move money around the internet without revealing who you are and as such you can play casino games without revealing your true identity. This is especially true of casinos that exclusively use Bitcoin.
- Security: Bitcoin is a highly secure payment system in its own right beyond any measures taken by the casino itself. It’s a very safe way of depositing and receiving funds in any situation, not just with online casinos.
- Low Fees: Transaction fees are pretty much non-existent with Bitcoin, or to be more precise, they are largely voluntary. Any fees paid tend to be minimal and substantially lower than other payment systems. they are used to get your transactions processed more quickly, you can use Bitcoin and incur no fees at all if you don’t mind waiting a little. This is a byproduct of how the system works and its decentralized model.
- Choice: Perhaps the biggest issue with using Bitcoin with your online casino payment method is simply that the number of casinos which accept Bitcoin is still relatively small. This can restrict your choices somewhat and you’ll occasionally find that your favorite games are simply not available from any Bitcoin friendly casino.
- Complexity: Bitcoin isn’t necessarily a simple payment method, you need to install specialist software on your device for your Bitcoin wallet. You’ll need to visit exchanges to buy Bitcoins to put in that wallet, all of which takes time, before you can then use those Bitcoins in your casino.
- Legality: One of the biggest issues with Bitcoin is also one of its major advantages, it is unregulated by government. This brings many positives – we mentioned the anonymity and low fees previously – but also some negatives. If a casino shuts down and takes your Bitcoins with it, there are few avenues of redress available to you as a user. Payments are irreversible once the transaction is completed.
Once you’ve weighed up all the pros and cons, choosing your online casino provider should be substantially simpler. No matter what solution you go for, ensuring the payment and withdrawal process is transparent is vital, as is checking that the games on offer are the ones you actually wish to play.
Assessing bonuses is also important, not just the size of the bonus itself but the restrictions that come with it. Play-through levels – the value of games you have to play before you can withdraw anything, usually a multiple of the bonus amount itself – and which games you can use bonuses on, are also important to check.
For Bitcoin in particular there are some additional considerations to bear in mind. As we mentioned before, there is the issue of Bitcoin payments being irreversible for starters. To mitigate against this, several of the more reputable Bitcoin casinos publish their own operational guides – known as provably fair gambling – to instill trust with potential customers. You should look out for this with Bitcoin casinos and also look for an outfit with a good track record and reputation for paying its customers. Reviews, in this case, are even more important than with standard online casinos.
Payment wallets are not new, although Bitcoin itself is a very different type of product to the majority of the established payment systems. For casino sites in general, PayPal, Skrill and Neteller are the most commonly accepted payment systems, and using one of these will give you the widest choice of casinos.
PayPal is perhaps the most ubiquitous, and operates slightly differently to other wallet systems in that a PayPal account doesn’t have to be directly funded before making payments. Funds can be taken directly from a card or even bank account and transferred straight to the recipient.
Skrill and Neteller operate as more traditional online ‘wallets’ where the account is funded using your credit/debit card, and then you can spend the money in the wallet as you wish, and top it back up if you need more.