Last updated July 27th, 2016
If you are a regular bettor with one of the USA Sportsbooks or casinos then you can not have missed their incentives for you to start using Bitcoin. There was a time, not so long ago, when people had to look around to find Bitcoin sportsbooks, but now nearly all offshore US bookies accommodate the new currency.
So what is the fuss all about and why are the United States friendly betting companies adopting it so strongly? This post is one of a series that USAbetting.com will be on the subject of Bitcoin, a currency that has the potential to transform the offshore USA betting industry and make it far more accessible. But first, the players have to want to adopt it.
We investigate the pros and cons of using Bitcoin as your currency of choice for online gambling.
Pros of Bitcoin for Betting
All the US-friendly bookies want you to adopt Bitcoin, for their benefit and yours, and these are the reasons why:
- New Currency: Bitcoin is a new currency that was not developed by banks. Anyone can transfer Bitcoin from a bitcoin wallet on their PC or even phone.
- Avoids Banks: Bitcoin does not go anywhere near the formal banking system. That appeals greatly to USA-friendly sportsbooks because the American establishment has tried to deny online bookmakers and casinos access to the normal payment systems. As Bitcoin is not a normal payment system, it seems an ideal fit with this industry. If you are using Bitcoin then no more delays or worries waiting for your winnings by couriered check.
- Near Zero Fees: The fees to transact in Bitcoin are almost zero, literally a couple of cents per transaction. Using the banks and dealing with wires and checks costs the sportsbooks a fortune. It is also a mighty headache for them.
This also saves costs for the bettor, who will get payouts far quicker than by other methods. No more exorbitant $50 fees for payout by check.
- Speed & Ease: The speed and ease of transactions is also a big appeal. You can receive Bitcoin immediately they are sent. You will see it arrive immediately and the first ‘confirmation’ is within 10 minutes. Without going into the geeky detail, a confirmation means that a valid Bitcoin transaction has occurred. The more confirmations you get the longer the odds are that anything can possibly go wrong with your payment. Most firms like to see six confirmations to be extra sure the transaction has happened. That can take up to an hour. It varies by the sportsbook or casino but they will let you start betting on just one confirmation, but they will usually need six confirmations before you can request a payout.
- Security: It protects you from identity theft or theft of, say, personal or credit card information.
- No Currency Exchange: For the bookie there are no currency exchange issues. Bitcoin is a universal currency used across the globe. You dont need to convert your bitcoin into roubles to send it to Russia or Australian dollars to pay someone in that country.
Obviously if you want to convert it to your local currency (say into US Dollars or Euros) then that can be done via a Bitcoin exchange. Similarly, if you have Bitcoins you don’t then need to convert them to USD from say Euros in order to send it to your favorite sportsbook.
- No Comebacks: For the sportsbook there are no comebacks or chargebacks. Once you make a Bitcoin payment it is irreversible. There is no bank to complain to if you “didn’t mean to” make the payment. It eliminates chargebacks for the betting companies. That’s a costly headache gone for them.
It also means once you see they have sent you a payout then they can’t take the money back. There is no such thing as a bounced check with Bitcoin.
- Anonymity: Anonymity may suit some bettors as well as the gambling firms. Bitcoin allows sportsbooks to do less KYC (Know Your Customer) due diligence. There is less need to request personal details. That is because once the bettor has funded his or her betting account with Bitcoin then it can not be charged back. So there is no risk of a transaction being reversed. That will be reassuring for a lot of sports bettors, who understandably resent having to prove who they are before getting their winnings.
Many operators will allow anonymous betting accounts for Bitcoin-only users. That is one load of red tape that Bitcoin does away with for both the firm and the player.
Anonymity will also open up online betting to countries and US states that had previously been restricted. So if you live somewhere that makes it hard for you to open a betting account, this may be your solution.
Other player benefits are that if the sportsbooks dont know who you are, then how can they limit you from winning? Arguably you could open multiple accounts. The only thing they have to trace you is your IP address, which you can change at will.
Anonymity also means there are no personal details to be hacked, sold or generally abused. There are no credit card details to get into the wrong hands. You are a whole lot safer from the perils of modern-day money transactions.
- Personal Control: This is great for the gambler – to have your Bitcoin money under your own control in your own Bitcoin wallet on your PC (or at worst in an online Bitcoin wallet). You control your money, there are no middle-man banks to get involved with.
Now you can see the major benefits for the USA sportsbooks, but also in the list above I hope you have found some positives for you as well. No doubt the operators are all over it, but we reckon it does have real advantages for you as an American sports bettor as well.
Cons of Bitcoin for Gamblers
It surely can not be all good news? USAbetting.com has looked around for the negatives of using Bitcoin for your betting and this is what we have come up with:
- Price Instability: Probably the number one complaint is about the fact Bitcoin’s price can fluctuate fairly wildly compared to ‘fiat’ (ie: traditional) currencies. If you are always moving your Bitcoin back to USD then this is a hassle. Even if you are just using a debit card to spend your Bitcoin then you are at the mercy of the Bitcoin fluctuations. It is no good if you just made 10% on your bankroll only for Bitcoin to have dropped by that same margin against the USD.
- Uptake Low: It would be better if this currency were in more general usage. For instance, if you could win on an NFL game and then spend the winnings on household shopping in Bitcoin, then that would be great. Because it is not generally used there are, for the time being at least, few shops accepting it. So, for now, you need to convert it to USD to spend it at the outlets that do not take Bitcoin. This can be done easily enough via a Bitcoin debit card, but this is an inconvenience.
Our Verdict: Will Bitcoin Become No.1 US Gambling Currency?
There will always be the Luddites whose knee-jerk reaction is to pour cold water on anything new. They tend to be the late adopters, who only start using something when they have no other choice because it has become the norm. That is precisely what Bitcoin is promising to be in the USA offshore betting industry. So, however cynical you may be, Bitcoin deserves serious consideration and inspection before anyone starts dismissing its advantages.
You can tell that here at USAbetting we are converts to the advantages of Bitcoin. It really could and arguably should become the number one currency of choice for the American online gambler. We think the long list of advantages outlined in this post completely outweigh the negatives. If you are interested in the cryptocurrency then we also have posts in this series on how to buy bitcoin at an exchange and how to sell bitcoin as part of our BTC guide.
Bitcoin ought to become the brave new currency for the gambling world. We are believers, the USA sportsbooks are onside, but most importantly what do you think? Please share your views below.