Bitcoin casinos thrive in 2018 – Bitcoin is in the news daily for both its ambiguity and its continual explosive growth. In the words of Winston Churchill “……It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma….”. Although made during a broadcast in 1939 and referring to Russia, this quote perfectly describes the mystery surrounding Bitcoin.
Under the guise of Crypto or Virtual currency, Bitcoin has become a trailblazer in the world of Blockchain and alternative payment methods, for sites such as online casinos and brick and mortar stores. On the flipside it has also crept into the world of drug dealing and terrorism, which puts it in the crosshairs of many financial institutions and governments. This should be kept in mind when making a decision on Bitcoin’s use.
For the sake of brevity, I will not go on to define in detail why Bitcoin was created and how it works but will address its relationship with online payments and online casinos.
What is the relationship between Bitcoin and Online Casinos?
Online gamblers have witnessed a significant decline in accepted payment options. Once there were a number of payment and withdrawal methods that were readily available to players around the world. Everything from Credit Cards to eChecks were accepted by the major casinos in all markets. As the only constant is “change”, this golden era is slowing becoming something of the past as governments and lobbyists begin a clampdown on all forms of gambling.
As a “Vice” gambling, both online and land-based, has become a target for those who look to tax it, regulate it and to get rid of it altogether. Countries such as Australia, who have the biggest gambling losses per capita, have started to feel the pinch from government regulators. Online payment companies, whether credit cards, eChecks and all others, would rather pull out of the market, then face the ire of the government regulators and anti-gambling lobbyists. With this in mind, online casinos needed another method of payment for there players as they were slowly losing business. For an online casino to lose revenue because of a player’s inability to make deposits and withdraw money, would be certain death for the casino and industry at large.
Australian facing online casinos such as Fair Go, Uptown Pokies and Playamo are just 3 casinos who have adopted Bitcoin as an alternate form of payment. After several companies were no longer available for payment use, Fair Go, Uptown Pokies and Playamo decided to give Bitcoin a try. There are many other online casinos in the same situation, especially those in highly regulated markets, which are trying alternative forms of payment and withdrawal.
Although online casinos are slowly adopting Bitcoin to fill a void, there is also the case to be made that Bitcoin is here to stay and will become a standard form of payment along with Credit Cards, Debit Cards, e-money/e-wallet and other traditional forms of online payments. Its not too much of a stretch to believe that Bitcoin will be used at Brick and Mortar stores and will become as ubiquitous as cash and cards. This is certainly the hope of those that own Bitcoin and have “invested” in its success.
Is Bitcoin safe for online gambling payments in Australia?
I guess the first query should address the issue of whether to own Bitcoin in the first place. In various corners of the world, the legitimacy and future of Bitcoin is what concerns those looking to buy it. For every article making the case for Bitcoin’s future, there is the argument that Bitcoin is just a flash in the pan and will collapse and become worthless. As of January 14, 2018, Bitcoin is worth $13,508.00 with a 52-week high of $19,843.00 and a low of $817.00. Looking at these statistics should give everyone pause who might decide to trade their dollars for Bitcoin.
Countries such as South Korea are in the process of banning the trade of the cryptocurrency to stop speculation, with China trying to close the operations that produce (mining) Bitcoin. These decisions have had a negative affect on the currency which has seen a sharp decline from its 52-week high. Does this portend the crash of Bitcoin or signify the influence and future domination of this new era of payments and currency?
Now to the question of Bitcoin’s usability and security for online gambling. Bitcoin is a great way to anonymously and without fees, or very minimal fees, to transfer and withdraw money for online gambling play. Credit Cards, Bank Transfers and others seem to always create problems when being used for online gambling and are many times acting on behest of certain government rules and regulations. Online casinos are also demanding more and more financial and personal information from their players, which to some could be a potential for identity fraud.
Bitcoin also provides quick transactions which enable the player to receive money and move the money from one destination to the other. Also, there are other crypto-currencies which are becoming popular, and will hopefully “persuade” online casinos to offer many crypto-currency forms of payment.
What is the downside to Bitcoin for online gambling?
We address this somewhat in the above passages, but I would like to expand on some issues, more specifically price fluctuation. In the past 52-weeks the increase from its low of $817.00 to its high was a 2,400% increase! For any normal currency, stock or asset, this increase would be a red flag signifying its volatility. No doubt this is a boon for those who bought Bitcoin prior to its record high, but if you decide to use Bitcoin as a payment method for online gambling, you are now becoming a speculator. In other words, with the traditional forms of payment, you are using the US$, A$, NZ$, €, £, ¥, and other currencies which are quite stable, and their values remain constant.
When vested in Bitcoin, there are dramatic fluctuations and your gambling wins can turn into losses. There is even the chance of the cryptocurrency being banned outright in one’s country or complete collapse. Winning is difficult enough without the added pressure of an unstable currency. Your best bet is to do your research on Bitcoin and decide if you are willing to take risk. Information is king, and there is plenty of research on the Internet to make your decision and informed one.
Will Bitcoin become as popular as traditional forms of payment?
Unless something dramatic happens to Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry, these types of payments will continually become more ubiquitous in both online gambling and as a global payment option for all goods and services. There is no doubt that there is still a lot of questions over the long-term viability of Bitcoin, but as it stands, online casinos are embracing cryptocurrency in all its forms, and will most likely have a future with the online gambling industry.