With many online casinos and sportsbooks realizing the benefits of accepting Bitcoin it appears that 2016 could open up the doors of online gambling to many new players. While the United States continues to fight the legalization of online casinos, the acceptance of Bitcoin as a legitimate currency is growing. Its relative anonymity makes it a perfect choice for online casinos that accept US players.
What can we expect in regards to online betting and Bitcoin in 2016? Here are five things that look promising.
More General Acceptance and Popularity for Bitcoin
As the first widespread crypto-currency, Bitcoin’s road to acceptance has been a little bit rocky. The problems have been well documented. It can be unstable and the fluctuations in value are scary at times. In September of 2014 one Bitcoin was valued at more than $500 US. In January of 2015 it sank below $200 US before rebounding to a relatively stable range of $375 to $400. A lot of the volatility with Bitcoin can be attributed to two factors: the demise of the Silk Road black market and the 2014 bankruptcy of Mt. Gox, a Toyko-based Bitcoin exchange that handled as much as 70% of all Bitcoin transactions.
These things didn’t do much for Bitcoin’s reputation, but the emergence of new Bitcoin exchanges and the willingness of reputable online businesses such as popular domain name registrar Namecheap to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment have gone a long way toward legitimizing the crypto-currency.
Although it is very difficult to state with accuracy, some estimates suggest that 500,000 people worldwide actually own Bitcoins. This number can reasonably be expected to increase in 2016 as trust in the platform continues to grow.
More Bitcoin-only casinos
The number of Bitcoin-only casinos grew exponentially in 2015. In 2016 one can expect that many more online casinos will appear that only accept Bitcoin. In addition, it is likely that many existing online casinos will incorporate Bitcoin into their existing deposit options.
Why is Bitcoin an attractive option for online gambling? There are a few reasons:
- Relative anonymity. We say “relative” because Bitcoin itself is not an anonymous currency. In fact, it is very transparent. Every Bitcoin transaction ever conducted is a matter of record and viewable to anyone. It is possible, however, to create a Bitcoin address anonymously and Bitcoin-only casinos offer anonymous sign-up. In some cases you don’t even need to provide an email address.
- Easier processing of deposits. An online casino can have many different players from many different countries using different currencies. Accepting Bitcoin unifies everything and makes it easier for the online casino to process deposits and cash-outs. Easier transactions mean more profits for the online casino and that is a powerful motivation for more Bitcoin-only casinos to appear.
- Accessibility to US players. In theory at least it is possible for US-based players to avoid the restrictions on online gambling at a Bitcoin-only casino. It is entirely possible to have a Bitcoin wallet without revealing one’s location. People in the United States like to gamble and experience has shown that they will find a way to do it online. A casino that accepts Bitcoin makes it so much easier for US players to bet.
More Mobile Casinos Accepting Bitcoin
Online casinos are already popular on mobile platforms like Android and the iPhone. When you couple that with apps that allow individuals to create and use Bitcoin wallets from their smartphone or tablet, it is only a matter of time before mobile casinos find a way to integrate the acceptance of Bitcoin into their platforms.
This may take a little time because some people will have concerns over linking their identity and phone number with a Bitcoin wallet address and online casino but already the presence of “tumblers” or Bitcoin cleaners is making it possible to send Bitcoins more anonymously via a third-party. What we know for sure is that online casino operators are always working to solve any challenges of depositing with Bitcoin. It is just a matter of time before they figure it out.