Bitcoin Gambling Sites Guide

Bitcoin Gambling Sites

Gamblers (especially in the United States) and gambling sites have become enamored of Bitcoin as a banking method recently.

In fact, we'd go so far as to say that Bitcoin is the best banking option available to players in the United States. But players from other countries shouldn't discount Bitcoin, either.

This guide is written for newcomers to the currency. It works differently from most other currencies, and this page explains the ins and outs.

But this page also caters to people who are already familiar with the currency and how it works.

For those users, we look at the best sites available to Bitcoin users, and we offer an analysis of the pros and cons of using it as an option.

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How to Get Started Using Bitcoin for Gambling Deposits and Withdrawals

The best place to start is almost always at the beginning.

When discussing Bitcoin with newcomers, the first question we hear is:

What is Bitcoin, and how does it work?

Think of Bitcoin as an independent currency that's not associated with a country or a government. It's a "peer-to-peer" currency. It's also a digital currency, which means you don't ever actually handle cash. And as a "cryptocurrency", it's encoded.

It's used to send payments from one digital user to another. It's relatively new, too-Bitcoin emerged on the Internet scene in 2009.

Like gold, silver, or any other precious metal, Bitcoin is "mined".

But their version of mining doesn't involve picks, shovels, axes, or wheelbarrows.

There's a public ledger which tracks processed payments and rewards them with newly-created Bitcoins. The transaction fees generated using this digital ledger pay for the Bitcoins, and that entire process is the "mining" that generates additional coins.

Bitcoins are created in blocks at a rate of one block every 10 minutes. Originally there were 25 Bitcoins in a single block, but that's been cut in half (as of last year) to 12.5 Bitcoins in a block. The number of Bitcoins in a block are going to continue to be cut in half periodically until a total of 21 million Bitcoins have been mined. This process should be complete by 2040.

As with any currency, supply and demand determines the value of each Bitcoin. As we write this guide, a single Bitcoin is worth $824, but they've been valued at over $1000 in the past. They've also been worth considerably less-you could buy 5000 Bitcoins in 2009 for just $27.

In fact, as an investment vehicle, Bitcoins are more volatile than just about anything else. As such, it's not an ideal investment vehicle. If you're speculating, you should put only a small percentage of your overall bankroll into the currency as an investment.

What do we mean by volatile?

We mean that its value can go up and down dramatically and seemingly randomly.

How volatile?

Consider this. In 2009, the price of a Bitcoin fell 50%--overnight.

When using Bitcoins to make deposits and withdrawals at online gambling sites, the fluctuations in price can provide an additional layer of action to your gambling.

Deciding when to convert Bitcoins into another currency is a gamble all by itself.

How (and Where) to Buy and Sell Bitcoins

Bitcoins, like other investments, are bought and sold on exchanges. (An exchange is just a marketplace for an investment vehicle.) You can find a list of exchanges on Bitcoin.com.

If you've ever used an online stockbroker like E*TRADE, you'll be familiar with this process. It's mostly just a matter of setting up an account and a payment method (like a credit card or checking account). Then you can buy and sell Bitcoins just like you would stock in a company.

But that's not the only way to buy and sell Bitcoin.

Remember that it's a currency, like a dollar bill. If you have a dollar in your pocket, you can use it to buy a soft drink. Or you can exchange a dollar for 4 quarters.

You can do the same thing with Bitcoins, but since they're a digital currency, you need an online wallet (like PayPal, only Bitcoin-specific), and so does the person you're buying and/or selling from. Many Bitcoin exchanges also offer wallets, but not all of them.

In fact, this is how payments from online casinos work. They send you your winnings in Bitcoins via an online wallet. That's also what's happening when you make a deposit using Bitcoin-you're exchanging this currency from your online wallet to the casino's.

When you're deciding on a wallet, look for something user-friendly that offers backups. Bitcoins are just complicated pieces of code. If you lose that code or fail to back it up, you lose access to that Bitcoin forever. Having a wallet that creates a backup for you is a hugely helpful insurance policy to help you avoid losing your Bitcoins based on that.

When dealing with individuals, buying and selling Bitcoins can cause problems because of chargebacks. A chargeback is when someone makes a claim to a credit card company that they bought something but didn't get what they bought. The credit card company often reverses this transaction.

So if some individual sends you PayPal funds in exchange for Bitcoins, you might face a situation where the other person files a chargeback with PayPal. If you decide to exchange funds in this way with another individual, be sure it's someone you know and trust.

Bitcoin.org offers a detailed guide to various wallet services and provides a list of the good and bad for each of them. Many of these wallets have cool names, too, like:

  • MultiBit HD
  • Armory
  • Electrum
  • Bither
  • BitGo

Most online casinos and gambling sites which offer this currency as a deposit and withdrawal method have information about specific wallet services, too. Bovada, for example, recommends a couple of options on their site.

The Pros and Cons of Using Bitcoin

Like any other banking method you can use to fund your online gambling account, Bitcoin has its perks and its drawbacks. We try to provide an even-handed look at the good, the bad, and the ugly below:

Here are some of the positives:

  • Bitcoin is possibly the most United States friendly option available. UIGEA is a law that prohibits transferring funds for purposes of online gambling. Since Bitcoin is largely anonymous, it's an easy way to get around the law. (Note that we're not saying it's a legal alternative.)
  • Bitcoin is the fastest way to get money to and from an online gambling site. Most other options measure turnaround times in days, but Bitcoin measures turnaround time in hours-sometimes less.
  • Bitcoin has low payment processing costs when compared to other deposit and withdrawal options.
  • Bitcoin's minimum and maximum deposits are more flexible than any other option. Most sites accept deposits of as low as 0.01 Bitcoins. Most sites have no withdrawal max for Bitcoins, either.
  • Bitcoin users usually have lower and/or higher betting limits than other users.
  • Bitcoin gamblers aren't limited to Bitcoin only sites. Most online gambling sites which accept Bitcoin also accept other deposit and withdrawal methods, too. (Although you can find Bitcoin-exclusive sites.)
  • Bitcoin is safe. You can look up the transactions on the block chain at Bitcoin. Even though it's anonymous, the possibility of getting cheated is minimal because of this transparency.

But it's not all sunshine and unicorns. Here are some of the downsides to using Bitcoin as your deposit method:

  • The volatility of the currency is possibly the biggest downside. If you buy a Bitcoin using dollars when the price is $1000, and the price drops to $500, you've lost half your money. Using Bitcoin is itself a gamble on top of a gamble. (On the other hand, if the price goes up, your winnings improve.)
  • There's a learning curve involved in using Bitcoin. It's not a steep learning curve, and you can probably figure out everything you need to from this page (and from the 2 or 3 pages we've linked to from here), but it's a learning curve nonetheless.
  • Some online gambling sites, especially those which are Bitcoin-exclusive, are un-licensed. Stick with the sites we recommend, and you won't have this problem. (The bad guys and hustlers use the anonymity of Bitcoin to their advantage, but not every site using Bitcoin is a bad buy or a hustler.)
  • Not all online gambling sites accept Bitcoin. It's becoming more common all the time, but you still need to find casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks that accept the currency. The sites listed on this page are all Bitcoin-friendly, of course.

The Best Bitcoin Friendly Gambling Sites

If you read the pros and cons section carefully, you'll have noticed that we mention sites that are Bitcoin-exclusive and sites that aren't. This is one way to categorize all Bitcoin gambling sites into 2 buckets.

Our preference, for obvious reasons, is to go with a gambling website that accepts Bitcoin as one of several deposit and withdrawal methods. This helps avoid some of the rogue operations which have no licensing or oversight.

Some examples of sites that fall into this category include:

  • 5Dimes
  • Bodog
  • Bovada
  • Ignition Casino

When you're dealing with a site like this, they convert your deposit from Bitcoin into a standard currency. You might deposit one Bitcoin, but you'll have $824 to play with. All your action is then conducted in dollars. When it's time to cash out, your money is converted back into Bitcoin at the current market price.

Here's an example of how that might work:

You deposit a Bitcoin, and it's converted to $824 (the current price of a Bitcoin). You get a 100% deposit matching bonus, so you have $1648 to gamble with.

After you complete your wagering requirement, you're up by almost $400-you have $1200 in your account.

Meanwhile, the price of Bitcoin has gone up to $1000. When you cash out, you get 1.2 Bitoins.

You wait a week to convert your Bitcoin back into dollars. During that week, the price has gone down to $700. Your 1.2 Bitcoins are worth $840.

Any number of scenarios are possible, but the bottom line is that the volatility of Bitcoin's price adds another layer of gambling to your action.

Some of the other pros of using Bitcoin that we mentioned earlier don't apply at gambling sites that use both Bitcoin and other deposit options. For one thing, you're no longer able to be completely anonymous. You still have to create an account and verify your identity, even if you're using Bitcoin to fund your account.

The deposit and withdrawal limits are the same at these casinos regardless of the deposit and withdrawal method you're using. At a Bitcoin-exclusive casino, you usually don't have much in terms of betting limits either way.

We've seen some writers suggest that the availability of Bitcoins in the casino's coffers affects how quickly you can cash out. The idea is that a site might not have any Bitcoins available to process payouts with, so you'd have to wait until they get some. We've yet to experience this. If you stick with the recommended sites we suggest, you're unlikely to run into this problem.

On the other hand, if you're playing at a Bitcoin-exclusive site, you get to experience some of those perks we mentioned earlier-anonymity, flexible betting limits, and lightning-fast banking.

One example of a casino that offers Bitcoin-exclusive gambling is called (cleverly enough) Bitcoin Casino. We should point out that despite the name, that site isn't run by Bitcoin at all.

Bitcoin Gambling Games and Availability

The availability of gambling games and activities in Bitcoin are the same as for any other player. You don't have to worry about signing up for an account at Bovada using Bitcoin and having a limited menu of game options to choose from just because of your deposit method.

What this means is that no matter what kind of gambling activity you prefer, you can almost certainly find a site that will accept Bitcoin as a deposit method.

This means you can play online casino games like blackjack and slots using Bitcoin.

It means you can play Texas holdem, stud, and Omaha poker games against other players using Bitcoin.

It means you can bet on sporting events using Bitcoin.

You just need to review what activities are available at the site you're thinking about signing up with. For example, if you're from the United States and want to bet on sports and play blackjack, Bovada is probably a good option. But they don't offer Texas holdem games.

On the other hand, if you want to play Texas holdem and blackjack, Ignition Casino is probably a good fit. They don't offer sports betting, though.

You'll find an enormous amount of information about which games and gambling activities are available at each of the casinos on the site in the detailed reviews we provide.

Some Bitcoin-exclusive casinos offer additional games that aren't available at traditional casinos. Some of these offer better odds or break-even odds. Examples of these games include:

  • Heads or Tails
  • Minesweeper

Some Bitcoin-exclusive sites use a "provably fair" system to provide total transparency in terms of how your outcomes are determined.

We tend to prefer the reputable casinos and gambling sites that accept multiple payment methods, though. We're skeptical of the entire "provably fair" concept.

Conclusion

Bitcoin is a revolutionary new type of currency that's entirely digital in nature. Its volatility adds to the excitement of gambling. And its anonymity makes it ideal of United States players who want to get around UIGEA.

You can find gambling sites which accept Bitcoin as one of many deposit options. But you can also find sites which only operate in Bitcoin. We prefer the former for various reasons, but we've covered the pros and cons of both above.

If you take nothing else away from this page, remember this:

It's important to do business with sites you trust on the Internet-especially gambling sites accepting Bitcoin as a deposit and withdrawal method.

You can use the recommendations on this page to find sites you can trust and that also accept Bitcoin.

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