May 23, 2019
With the ever increasing rise in the popularity and use of cryptocurrency, it’s no surprise that we have seen a number of online casinos and betting sites accept Bitcoin as a transaction method.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at Bitcoin betting and covering the following subjects:
- What is Bitcoin?
- Bitcoin Betting – How does it work?
- The pros and cons of using Bitcoin for betting
- Bitcoin betting sites
- Bitcoin Matched Betting
Bitcoin is a digital currency, or ‘cryptocurrency’, which was developed in 2006 by Satoshi Nakamoto. The whereabouts of Nakamoto is unknown and no one actually knows who he, or she, is.
Bitcoin was developed to allow one person to send money to another person without the need for a middleman, who is the current world, are banks. This is known as a ‘peer-to-peer’ transaction.
There is a finite number of Bitcoin that can ever exist. 21 million in fact. Which is an advantage over regular fiat currency which can be printed as and when it’s needed.
We won’t dig too deep into how Bitcoin works as it can get quite complicated but the main advantage of this cryptocurrency is a middleman, such as banks or e-wallet providers, are not required to make transactions and no one, such as governments, actually controls it. The fact that it can’t be controled and isn’t currently regulated means that many major organisations have been hesitant to accept Bitcoin as a payment method. However, as cryptocurrency grows, regulations will be put in place and we’re already starting to see an increasing number of major companies, including betting sites, adopt Bitcoin.
Bitcoin can be purchased by anyone using regular fiat on sites such as Coinbase or BitPanda. The price of Bitcoin currently fluctuates a lot as cryptocurrency is still in its early stages but should stabilise once it is widely used.
Some online casinos and bookmakers allow players to bet with Bitcoin. As Bitcoin has many advantages over using regular fiat, holders of Bitcoin see it as a logical option for their betting transactions.
The Bitcoin betting market is growing rapidly with around £4 billion having been wagered on betting sites since 2014.
As the crypto industry expands, we’re seeing more and more digital currencies emerge and more of these are being accepted by online betting sites. Some alternatives to Bitcoin which some betting sites have started to accept are Ethereum, Litecoin, XRP, EOS, Stellar, Cardana, NEO, IOTA and Bitcoin Cash.
To gamble with Bitcoin, first, you need to purchase some. As mentioned, you can do this via various sites such as Coinbase, Coinmamma, Bitpanda and numerous others. Once you have purchased Bitcoin, it will be stored in your account. You also have the ability to store your Bitcoin offline on a hard drive.
Once you have purchased Bitcoin, you can send it to any other Bitcoin wallet you wish, including to online betting sites. Not all betting sites accept Bitcoin and so you’ll have to do your research into which ones accept the cryptocurrency and which ones are reputable. We’ve listed a few to consider at the bottom of this article.
There are two ways to use Bitcoin for betting. The options available will depend on whether the betting site is a conventional bookmaker or a dedicated Bitcoin betting site.
1. Standard bookmakers which accept Bitcoin – When you deposit Bitcoin to a regular bookmaker, your Bitcoin will be converted into fiat currency. This allows you to wager in a normal way with GBP or whatever your currency is. When you go to withdraw your funds, the fiat will be converted back into Bitcoin.
2. Dedicated Bitcoin betting site – If you deposit into a betting site which is exclusively for Bitcoin, your Bitcoin deposit will remain as Bitcoin. All of your wagers will be as Bitcoin and will remain that way when you come to withdraw.
There are many advantages of using Bitcoin for online betting but as cryptocurrency is still relatively new to the online betting world, it doesn’t come without concerns.
Bitcoin Betting Pros
- Speed – Withdrawals from your betting account usually take 3-5 working days to reach your bank account which isn’t ideal as those funds could be better used elsewhere instead of being AWOL for days at a time. The use of e-wallets for betting speeds up this process and reduces the time to under 24 hours. However, Bitcoin withdrawals are a lot quicker and can reach your Bitcoin wallet in minutes, allowing you to use these funds elsewhere if you need to.
- Personal Information Security – Depositing using Bitcoin doesn’t require you to enter any personal information such as credit card numbers or bank account details and so you can have peace of mind that your information isn’t being used by anyone else.
- Cost – Some bookmakers and casinos apply a charge for deposits & withdrawals via certain methods and these charges can eat into your profits when matched betting. Bitcoin transactions are free of charge which solves this issue.
- Reliability – Bitcoin can be used anywhere in the world. As your transactions are not being handled by a bank, there is no risk of your transactions being declined.
- Privacy – Many punters and matched bettors do not like endless betting-related transactions showing up on their bank statements. This is especially the case should you be applying for a mortgage or loan. Bitcoin transactions do not pass through your bank and so your privacy is guaranteed.
Bitcoin Betting Cons
- Price Volatility – The price of Bitcoin is currently very volatile. Every day there are price movements which can be substantial. As Bitcoin isn’t yet widely used for every day transactions, we’re likely to see this volatility for some time which leaves players using Bitcoin for gambling at risk. For example, you may buy £100 worth of Bitcoin to wager at a betting site but when you come to convert your Bitcoin back into fiat, it may only be worth 70% of what you bought it at. Of course, the price of Bitcoin could rise during this time which would give you extra profits, but holding Bitcoin is a gamble in itself.
- Privacy – We listed privacy as a pro of using Bitcoin but it can also be seen as a negative. As Bitcoin transactions do not pass through a bank or credit card company, you are not protected should there be issues. For example, if you deposit Bitcoin into a rogue betting site, there is no protection. Bitcoin isn’t currently regulated and assistance for cryptocurrency transaction issues is scarce. Always perform due diligence when choosing a Bitcoin betting site to ensure you are using a reputable company.
There are a number of Bitcoin casinos and Bitcoin betting sites but it’s essential that you do your research before signing up to any of them and depositing Bitcoin. Be aware that some betting sites accept Bitcoin as a deposit method but not as a withdrawal method. In a way, this defeats the point of using Bitcoin for betting. Popular bookmaker and casino NetBet are an example of this.
Note: We do not fully endorse any of the sites below as they are untested by us. Always do your own research prior to registering.
BetOnline.ag – BetOnline is a popular online sportsbook which also provides players with a casino, live casino, poker room and more. They have been in operation since 2004 and is currently licenced in Panama. BetOnline accepts Bitcoin for both deposits and withdrawals.
BitStarz – Bitstarz is an online casino which accepts Bitcoin for deposits and withdrawals. Reviews of the casino seem positive and new players can receive a welcome bonus of up to €500 or 5 Bitcoin.
FairLay – Fairlay is an online betting exchange which accepts Bitcoin. There are not many Bitcoin betting exchanges available which makes FairLay stand out and is an option for users wishing to lay bets and who do not have access to other exchanges due to location.
Matched betting with Bitcoin is possible as there are a number of different betting sites now accepting Bitcoin. Bitcoin can also be used for sports arbitrage which may be useful if you reside in a country where you are unable to use betting exchanges such as Betfair Exchange. Although it’s slim pickings when it comes to Bitcoin Betting Exchanges, they do exist which allows users from anywhere in the world to place both and lay bets and take advantage of matched betting and sports arbitrage opportunities.