This page takes a look at how and where you can place a bet with Bitcoin. The focus is on those betting operators who already will accept Bitcoin deposits for betting purposes - mainly for sportsbetting, poker, and casino gaming at this stage - but we'll also be posting news here of any new sportsbooks or bookies who announce news that they're joining the ranks. If you need a Bitcoin gambling directory or guide the intention is that this will be the only page on the subject you'll need.
For the lucky punters among us who live in regions where betting is legal or regulated, depositing money to place a bet is not even considered as a problem (until of course our bet goes down and we lose it). But not everyone is lucky enough to be able to deposit and freely, and that's where some of the virtual currencies such as Bitcoin are making a name for themselves - it's the biggest of these virtual currencies.
Betting with Bitcoin deposits is a growing area of the industry, and as the currency grows in popularity and the places it's accepted grow still further we'll find it increasingly used to carry out betting related transactions.
Bitcoin betting is here to stay (well at least as long as the currency exists). It'll help our money winning search by knowing exactly where we can use it.
What Is Bitcoin?Since this page is more focused on betting with Bitcoins I'm not going to cover what they actually are in too much depth here. I'll assume that as you're probably arrived here by searching for betting information then you probably already know what Bitcoin is anyway.
But just in case, we can summarise by saying...
''Bitcoin is a virtual peer to peer digital currency. There are a limited number of Bitcoins in circulation, and a limited number which can actually be created. Their use is unregulated and not controlled by any central authorities or banks, and their inherent value can fluctuate wildly''
For more info see this Bitcoin description which will give you plenty of info.
Trust and security are big concerns in gambling, though the truth is that only a very small percentage of issues ever occur. Normally those are where bets or deposits are placed with unscrupulous operators where you're asking for trouble. They can be avoided with good due diligence.
How Can I Trust Bitcoin Betting?
In the case of Bitcoin it's no different. You'll need to be sure that whoever you're depositing and betting with has a history and good reviews. Those betting operators listed on this page should all present no problems, but you can also carry out searches on the internet if you're ever unsure.
It might help to understand the sheer scale of Bitcoin betting and this will give you some comfort I'm sure.
The original Bitcoin gambling site Satshodice started up in 2012 and was sold a year later for the equivalent of around 12 million dollars. Doesn't sound like a failed or shady business does it? Unsubstantiated estimates suggest that out of all Bitcoin transactions made, almost half of them are gambling related. We're talking about billions of dollars worth of wagers and wins.
Another strong trust factor is illustrated in the way that Bitcoin transactions for betting actually work:
How Does Bitcoin Betting Work?
All Bitcoin transactions are made anonymously, although the transactions themselves are public and can be seen or monitored in the Bitcoin ledger known as the Blockchain. This transparency offers at the same time protection for those concerned and clear evidence of the transaction itself.
How To Bet With Bitcoin
Once you've made a deposit to a Bitcoin betting account the steps to place a bet are the same as with any other form of wagering. So if we want to answer the question 'how do I make a bet using Bitcoin' we really only need to look at the depositing process.
To understand the deposit process all you'll need to do is follow the instructions on any of the betting sites.
What Are The Benefits?
There are some big benefits in betting with Bitcoin from both a punter and an operator perspective.
For the operators they're of course gaining lots of new Customers. Some of these are migrating from traditional operators, some will be new because they now have a way of making gambling deposits where they did not before.
Costs of making transactions are low which benefits both sides (avoid those ever increasing payment processing charges levied by the likes of Mastercard, Visa, Neteller, Paypal etc) , and with any transactions made being irreversible there are less chances of fraud (though making a mistake could be costly!)
Purely from a punters perspective, the key benefits of betting using Bitcoins for placing bets are numerous. They include security, anonymity, instantly completed transactions (deposits and withdrawals - no waiting around for bank processing times here), and competitive odds (we're talking about significantly lower house edge percentages than normal here of between 1 and 2%, made possible because of the reduced costs of running the operations).
Bets can of course be placed in fractions of a unit and there are no boundaries - this is a global currency used in the same way wherever you are in the world.
When you make a deposit you're effectively making a transaction that's as close to using real cash online as you can get without the paper actually getting transmitted over a network
Added to all of this is the fact that depositing and withdrawing is simple and entails no form filling or sending in of documents, plus of course with many of the Bitcoin gambling operators you'll also be getting the same type bonus and promotions offers that you get from depositing using any of the traditional methods too, and it all adds up to a compelling list of reasons to go down the Bitcoin betting route.
..And The Drawbacks?
There is one big (potential) problem (or opportunity, depending on how you look at it) and that's with the inherent stability of Bitcoin itself. The price or value of each Bitcoin can fluctuate - sometimes wildly - which means that theoretically you could place a bet, win, and not collect as much as you thought you would because the actual value dropped during the event or game you bet on. Equally, if the price of Bitcoin went higher before the event, you might end up with more risk (in dollars) in play that you'd normally be comfortable with.
This has big implications for anyone who bets with bankroll management in mind, which (unless you're just plain lucky) is one of the key ways of trying to obtain profit from your betting activities over a period of time.
It's worth noting that there is a potential solution to this, and that's for the operators to guarantee a specific return when the bet is placed. Of course that means they'd be taking the risks of value fluctuations. We'll see if any take up this option - if enough punters begin to notice this as an issue it could force some attention on to it.
Another risk to be aware of is one we all may have encountered at some point, the risk of digital fraud or hacking. Bitcoin is a virtual digital currency, in theory if a crook could hack in to a betting operators site they could transfer or re-appropriate Bitcoins successfully. I guess this is pretty much the same as potential problems with any types of accounts or currencies, but still one to be aware of. Another way of looking at this is that because betting accounts with Bitcoin processing operators are anonymous, a hacker won't actually be able to get such useful items as name, address, bank details etc.
What Types Of Betting With Bitcoin Are Available?
As of now (August 2014) none of the 'regular' bookmakers or casino operators allow Bitcoin deposits for gambling purposes. By 'regular' I mean the names we all know - 888, Bet365, William Hill, or any of the leading online casinos. Which means that anyone wanting to bet with Bitcoin is going to need to be working with one of the operators listed below.
These operators offer betting services in different fields - poker, casino games, sportsbetting, dice games etc.
Within each of these forms of betting, the usual types of bets apply. But there will be some restrictions.
In poker of casino games for example, betting will 'work' exactly the same on a Bitcoin gambling site as it would on any other. In sportsbetting you may find that while placing bets works in the same way, there may not be the range of markets you might be used to with bigger/well known sites.
Is It Legal?
Ah, now this is where we get into a grey area. Of course gambling is illegal in some jurisdictions and legal in others - and theoretically that means gambling or betting with any form of currency. For more info see the dedicated page here on winmoney101.
Those of us in the US and other restricted countries will be well aware of this fact, although there is still some question in many punters minds. In the US in particular, gambling is now definitely legal in some states because of laws made at the state level. These arguably conflict though with federal level law. It does of course get even more complicated in the US with the question marks over different interpretations of what constitutes a game of skill or a game of chance.
Almost irrelevant of all of this, the term gambling implies the exchange of money for more money if the event you bet on occurs in the way you think it will....and if it's not money (as in the case of a virtual currency) then it's not gambling, right?
Although none of the regulations in place even mention gambling or betting with virtual currencies, it's still easy to see how the question marks remain though. The reality is that at this point in time it would appear that Bitcoin betting is off the radar to a certain extent, and no one has a clue how they could monitor it.
Some of the Bitcoin betting firms have paid heed to these grey areas and taken their own measures to avoid working with Customers living in restricted countries. They'd normally do this by blocking the relevant IP addresses. Where this step has been taken, there's no known evidence that it was caused by any form of official investigation. Rather the operators have taken a proactive step to avoid any potential issues.
The Bitcoin processing firm Coinbase recently made their own moves to stop BTC transactions made for gambling purposes, though at this point they seem to be the only one who have made that move.
The bottom line for now is that placing betting transactions with Bitcoin seems set to continue and grow, irrelevant of the perceived legality or not.
Could The Use Of Bitcoin For Betting Get Regulated?
At the same time one of the allures and one of the concerns that punters will have around Bitcoin gambling in general is the lack of regulation.
Almost anyone can set up a business using Bitcoin transactions for payment processing. That means extra caution is needed, but while there is no regulation the anonymity that betting with Bitcoin provides will remain and punters who love that aspect (or need it) will continue to use it.
But we are right now on the cusp of regulation - and it could have far reaching consequences for the gambling industry and others. New York is the culprit, with moves afoot to introduce regulation via it's 'BitLicense' proposal.
If introduced, this set of regulations proposed by the NYDFS (New York Department of Financial Services) would ensure that all businesses handling transactions in virtual currencies would need to be licensed to operate in New York.
You may think that if this is regarding New York then it may not have consequences globally, but almost certainly you'd be wrong. It will most likely be seen as a precedent if successfully introduced. There is understandably a lot of opposition to the plans, with some of that coming across in such a heated way as to force the NY financial authorities to take a step back and think deeper.
This series of regulation articles published on Coindesk explain further. Keep your eyes open for more news on this and any other Bitcoin or general virtual currency developments, it could surely affect the ways we might bet with Bitcoin and more importantly perhaps, who can bet with Bitcoin and who we bet with.
The sun will die in 50 billion years! Archie's Bundle will win the 3.30 at Nottingham! Oh, you mean the future of Bitcoin betting.
That's a big question and to my mind the answer rests heavily on whether the currency will maintain its forward momentum, or some unforeseen issue will wipe it out, or as we've just seen it may get regulated.
The middle one of these seems unlikely. More and more businesses are using it, more and more are making announcements that they will use it. And not just in the gambling industry.
If the currency does keep on its upward curve, it's surely only a matter of time before the big names in the betting world - the likes of Ladbrokes, William Hill, 888, and all the dozens of other big bookies, bookmakers, and sportsbooks - start to make moves to offer punters the chance to bet with Bitcoin too.
Regulation could well be the catalyst that makes that happen. If and when it does, the options for betting with Bitcoin will explode for some, and possibly disappear for others. There's a huge story waiting to be played out.
OK. I Want To Bet - How Do I Get Bitcoins?
Obviously before you contemplate a bet on a Bitcoin gambling site you'll need a few of those virtual coins. There are a whole host of ways to getr them and start building a betting bankroll.
This resource on buying Bitcoins is the most comprehensive I've been able to find.
Great News. I know All I Need To Know. Now Where Do I Get To Place A Bitcoin Bet?So we're at the point where we can forget all the introductions and explanations, and get down to the business of actual betting.
The following is a list of some of the better known and well established Bitcoin betting operators. Most are well know to punters already using the virtual currency for placing bets, and you can trust them to provide an honest and trustworthy service:
Best Sites For Bitcoin Sports Betting/Gambling
AnoniBet - Casino, Sports
Fast becoming one of the leaders in Botcoin betting, Anonibet have used a name which is synonymous with the idea of anonymous betting - one of the main reasons for the growing popularity of the currency. If you're looking for anonymity in your sports betting it may be that Anonibet are the best choice.
They're a long running operation having been online since December 2011. They boast ''one of the largest selection of sporting events, and the best odds that can be found on the internet''
To register an Anonibet account it's as simple as providing an email address and choosing a password. No identification information is ever required.
In addition to sportbetting options, they also run a fully fledged online casino. Make sure you check Anonibet's website for current promotions and offer - they do run some valuable ones such as rebates on losses.
Betcoin Sports - Casino, Sports
One of a rare group of Bitcong gambling sites that offer casino games in addition to sports betting. Sports betting options include Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, and Rugby
Nitrogen offer great odds and good live sports betting opportunities over dozens of sports and leagues including Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, Soccer, MMA, tennis, Rugby, and video games. You'll be betting on a fast and impressive looking interface with instant deposits and fast withdrawals. Nitrogen take maximum bets of up to $1000, with a minimum bet of 0.001BTC
With Nitrogen you'll be able to make not just single Bitcoin bets, but also full parlay bets.
Cloudbet - Casino Games, Sports
Up there with the leaders in the field, Cloudbet offer a very straightforward registration process with which you can be betting with your Bitcoins in minutes.
They offer a vast range of betting types and different markets within each type of sport - in excess of 40 options at the last count. In general they offer excellent odds and a 100% first deposit bonus offer of up to 5 Bitcoins make Cloudbet one Bitcoin betting operator that needs to go on your shortlist.
Live or in running betting fans are well catered for too, and that's not just limited to sports - popular casino games like roulette and blackjack can be played against live dealers as well.
Maximum bet accepted - 50 BTC
Seals With Clubs
Seals with Clubs is a name which you won't immediately associate with a poker site. But a poker site it is, and a Bitcoin poker site to boot. Over 70,000 players already have opened accounts with the option of playing poker at any time of the day.
Formed by former poker players after they were prevented from playing on Black Friday, Seals with clubs offers full anonymity for anyone wanting to play poker in either tournaments or ring games. Once a week on Sundays there's a chance to play in a guaranteed big prize event that's known as 'Big BTC Sunday' - with a low buy in of 0.25 BTC there's a chance of winning at least 10BTC.
Pretty much anyone can get a game, with the obvious age restrictions of course.
With a low rake of 2.5% (compared to some of the big poker operators that work in 'normal' currencies) Seals will suit almost any type of poker player.
More Info & Valuable Resources
The video below offers a useful introductory view of the Bitcoin betting opportunity. It's one of a series published on Youtube on a channel run by BitconBettingGuide. For further reading on developments affecting the virtual currency in genera, and specifically those that might affect anyone whishing to bet with it, this forum at Bitcointalk.org will come in exceptionally useful.
Bet With Bitcoin
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