Everybody is talking about Bitcoins. “Price is going up!”, “It’s been a bad year for Bitcoin; investors only made 730x their initial investment in the past 5 months”, “My grandmother got me 0.38 of a Bitcoin for Christmas”. You have heard some variation of this yourself in the past, but the question remains: What the hell is Bitcoin?
If you are looking for a full scale, well-articulated and in-depth explanation, you came to the right place. Here at iGamingCRM.com you can expect nothing but the best, most thorough research. As such, our professional answer is: Google “What is Bitcoin” and you will get this link. You’re welcome!
Decided to stay? Well, here’s the “Bitcoins for Dummies iGaming Executives” version:
It’s an internet community based currency. What’s its value? As much as people are willing to pay – much like any other traded commodity (e.g. gold, oil, diamonds, stocks or real-estate). As there is a market for Bitcoins, there is a “BUY” price, as well as “SELL” price. Which one is relevant to you? The one in which you lose more money during the transaction.
Bitcoins (or BTC) are constantly being produced by “miners” (don’t ask – it’s an IT process conducted by geeks who makes more money than you do), yet once the world’s pool reaches 21 million BTC, there won’t be an option to produce any more. The price people are willing to pay in order to purchase BTC is being driven up since we are talking about an economy based on a limited number of items (ask someone smart about supply and demand). Currently, a single BTC costs about $400 and, therefore, most of the transactions are by the fractions of a BTC (i.e. $100 is equal to ~0.25BTC).
Here is a short clip that sums up this Bitcoin 101 Introductory:
So, how do you buy a BTC? There is a (very) long answer, and a short one. Knowing you, I’ll give you the simpler one: Well, you can’t.
Seriously, if you have never done it before and want some BTC right now, you can’t do it. BTC can only be purchased using wire transfers (and these take a few days) or cash in hand (yeah, right).
The only instant way to do it is to call a friend who already has few BTC to spare, convince him/her to sell you a portion and then you log into your online BTC wallet, generate a code equivalent to the amount your friend is about to send you, share it and wait for the funds. So if you want to send me, say, half a BTC here’s what it will look like:
(PS: Feel free to actually use this link and send me 0.5BTC; I promise to return it with interest.)
Hey, how simple is that? No wonder the media attention is skyrocketing… If you ask me, much like “50 Shades of Grey”, no one ever bothered reading the entire book, nor have they gone through the entire process themselves, but they were afraid to admit that so they just claimed “this is so cool – you absolutely must try it!”
Still, there are in fact zillions of BC based online casinos, and who’s more qualified to rank them? No idea, so you are left with this post.
These are the reviewing parameters used –
- General Look & Feel: Is it appealing? Does it projects trustworthiness?
- Games Portfolio: How many slots, exclusive titles, variety of products, etc.
- Promotions: Are they being generous with us players after the agony we went through in order to own a Bitcoin?
- Summary: All in all, do I really want to play here?
NOTE: Many websites seem to be ranked very high, both on SEO and on many “objective” listings, yet they either can’t be downloaded (e.g. https://bc-casino.com/; on Google’s first page for “Bitcoin Casinos”) or are simply offline/inactive (like https://bitoomba.com/ or http://www.bitcoincasino24.com/). There are many other examples.
Also, Vera&John, a well-known and reputed brand, announced they accepted BTC on JAN 2014… and stopped less than 4 months later.
My question is WHY? If it’s such a hot, trendy and super sexy payment method, why would that be a phenomenon? Is it the platform’s (lack of) quality to be blamed, the (poor) operational brand management, or simply the fact that it’s soooo damn complicated to purchase these elusive Bitcoins?
More questions than answers, but all I can say is that these are the facts. As for the reasons, you are more than welcome to pitch your own thoughts down at comments area.
- General Look & Feel: Our journey begins with an actually very nice home page with a nice intro clip and the colors are decent (not subtle or classic but still, decent). Seems like an active brand, and I can see myself playing here.
- Games Portfolio: Platform is UltraPlay, so you can expect the regular 70+ titles, plus very polished table games. Me like!
- Promotions: Errr, none? At least I haven’t seen any, and got no instant email upon registration with their welcome offer.
- Summary: Still a very nice brand. The social chat is a nice touch.
- General Look & Feel: Very nice – on par with the modern regular casinos and that’s a huge compliment in this space.
- Games Portfolio: Seems like proprietary software, yet integrated with the excellent games of BetSoft, and their own Live Dealers studio. If that’s not enough, they also offer sports, etc..
- Promotions: Again, seems like nothing.
- Summary: Excellent experience, even if not as rewarding as others.
- General Look & Feel: Sleazy, and not the right kind of sleazy either. It reminds me of the US facing online casinos, with all the sparkling background and stock images. Not my type.
- Games Portfolio: Although developed in-house, they still have managed to have 4 slot machines (wow!), 4 arcade games (wait, we have had 4 already, no?) and 3 table games + 1 video poker (3+1 = you got it, 4!!). BTW: Roulette has the scariest dealer audio in history. Mocking aside, the games are quite okay, especially considering the fact that they are not a major powerhouse in the industry.
- Promotions: Finally! 100% bonus on your first deposit, plus a 30% on-going bonus on every follow-up transaction. Not too bad, my friends, not too bad at all.
- Summary: I would easily recommend it. Perhaps it will take a Mord-Sith to convince me to do so, but I honestly would.
- General Look & Feel: Clean design, on the verge of normal. Nice.
- Games Portfolio: CoinGaming platform. That means there are 130 games from Novomatic and others, Ezugi Live Dealers and Live Lotto, in case you are dead. That’s at least OK, although they have only American Roulette – now why would someone do that?
- Promotions: 100% welcome bonus, up to 10BTC – very generous. Reloads up to 50%.
- Summary: No complaints. I mean, sure I have complaints, but would you care, or even listen? Thought so.
- General Look & Feel: Well, it’s purple. Not saying it’s bad, but the overall look is somewhat broken.
- Games Portfolio: Based on SoftSwiss, and that equates to 30+ games. Slots are okay, and Roulette isn’t too bad either.
- Promotions: 0.01BTC upfront, no-deposit required bonus, plus 100% welcome bonus up to 0.5BTC – although being geared towards the smaller players, you can still consider this specific checkbox ticked. Next!
- Summary: Meh. But in a good way.
- General Look & Feel: Now here is a classy brand name. Oh god…
- Games Portfolio: One single game, and not even the best of breed in its area.
- Promotions: Out of nowhere they offer a welcome offer of 25% bonus if you deposit as little as 0.01BTC, 100% if it’s between 0.1BTC-0.5BTC and 200%(!) if your first deposit is above half a Bitcoin. Reloads are at 20% constantly.
- Summary: Now all we need in order to enjoy these promos is a reason to actually deposit and play on this website. Leave it with me and I will keep an eye out for something – maybe they donate money to panda bears or something.
Not even sure it’s the same group that owns all these brands, but they’re all named after the guy who invented Bitcoins. Much like the true identity of this honored “genius” – who knows? Or more importantly – who cares?
The nice thing (as in single, not plural) about these sites is anonymous play – you don’t even need to register, as deposits are anyway unique due to the nature of the currency. Cool.
What’s not so cool is the gaming experience:
SatoshiBet offers a few of the ugliest casino games ever, SatoshiSlot is a single weird machine and SatoshiDice is a game that… you know what, strike that, as I am not even sure you can call that a game.
Which brings me to the next topic – these three websites are ranked amongst the most popular brands within the BTC funded online gaming sphere. This makes me seriously doubt that there is any hope for mankind.
If you google “Bitcoin Casinos”, #8 is an inactive brand, and on #5 you can find the infamous SatoshiBet. These are two of the only four brands within the top 10 (or, first Google page). Other results are either listings (say ‘hi’ to our beloved affiliates) or a Forbes article (#6).
So listen carefully now: Out of these four, one is inactive and one is nothing more than a bad casino (and that’s if you are being generous and also having a very good day and in the middle of happy hour at a pub and you are in Cancun and it’s spring break).
What about the other two? On #2 you will find https://coinroyale.com, and on #7 you will find https://bitzino.com/. My verdict?
OM(F)G. They are so ugly. The only way I could make myself actually look at one of them is after looking at the other one first, and judging it to be the worst looking brand ever – and vice versa. Are they making any money for their operators? No idea, but if so, my wife would really like to find their players and shake their hands, as she could finally speak with people who have lower standards than her.
That’s it. Had fun? Tell me all about it in person next week at the EiG event in Berlin. Haven’t registered yet? CLICK HERE for discounted tickets. But be quick, or else we will charge you with Bitcoins…
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Thanks Randy for correcting me on the Bitcoin cost – I have used Israeli Shekels instead of USD and forgot to switch back – it’s all sorted out now within the text.
That said, I still back up all my other claims, and if you have ever played at a single NORMAL online casino brand, your immediate response to some of the mentioned games would be a sheer disgust.
Nice overview, I had been meaning to do a similar deep-dive myself, thanks for the time-saver!
In your review, you overlooked an extremely (the most) important part of bitcoin casinos and gambling in general. Is the casino/website provably fair and random? Is there a way of verifying that the site owner isn’t cheating the gamblers. Most bitcoin gamblers don’t care for flashy graphics and animations as long as the site can prove that the gamblers aren’t being cheated (I’d know, I hang out in these casinos a lot).
To be honest, I don’t deal with non honest casinos. The industry is grown enough to demand such basic terms as compulsory and foundemental – if your brand isn’t fair, then up yours.
So excuse me for neglecting this aspect, but that’s another reason why you shouldn’t play in Bitcoin casinos, if you need to wonder at all if they are screwing their players at all.
i think that’s what separates you from the standard bitcoin gambler. They have an inherent distrust for operators and regulators. Provably fairness gives them control over the verification of the fairness of the game. This control is what separates bitcoin casinos from other online casinos.
I’ll concede that provably fairness in no way helps you determine the risk of the operator running away with the bankroll, which seems to be the biggest risk in the land of unregulated operations.
the reason for the popularity of those 2 casinos is that they are “provably fair”. results can be independently verified that the casinos are not cheating players. This stems from the philosophy to disintermediate the need for trust between the player and the casino. This way, it doesn’t matter that you trust the casino, or a regulatory board, to provide a fair experience. The user can verify for themselves that they are getting a fair experience.
Being fair is a basic requirement nobody cares about anymore – with regulation spreading across more and more markets, you just can’t stay in the game if you are dishonest.
Bitcoins online casinos are still not at this stage, and brag about being honest, using this as an excuse to offer ridiculously ugly games instead of caring about user experience.
i think thats for the users to decide. Bitcoin users are, so far, ones that care far less about the design and user experience, than for the fundamental fairness of the game, especially because all of these are unlicensed, as there is no licensing process for bitcoin casinos.
As more and more people use bitcoins, we’ll start to see a shift towards better UX and design. For now, bitcoin gambling really is just a niche of a niche.
aaron, what are the dominant methods of demonstrating that these casinos are “provably fair” ? WIth legistation behind technology around Bitcoin specifically, what is the best way to offer transparency to users?
there is no regulation behind it as there is not ruling body that regulates Bitcoin casinos. The major mechanics of “provably fair” is detailed very well in Bitzino’s techblog here.
This is just one method out of many that can achieve the goals of provably fairness (basically making sure the results haven’t been tampered with). Of course, there are other ways operators can cheat such as running away with your deposits, which can’t be solved by math. But the biggest issue of fairness of gameplay, can be squared away by the math.
Aaron, I am opening a new thread here in order to reply all of your comments:
You say that “Bitcoin users are, so far, ones that care far less about the design and user experience, than for the fundamental fairness of the game”, and also that “the standard bitcoin gambler… [has] an inherent distrust for operators and regulators. “; OF COURSE! It’s a shady industry that tries to screw players all the time, both by offering ugly games and by not generating trust.
Also, if the games are rigged or not – that’s the least of your worry… I mean, if you as a player, in open minds, willing to try a bunch of brands yet since you know that you are most likely going to be ripped off, try to protect yourself by independently check if the games are mathematically correct or not – then this is pure STUPIDITY ! If you can’t trust an online casino with your money – DON’T PLAY THERE!!! Most of the non-Bitcoin casinos will never screw a player, as they know it’s bad for their business (any novice knows that you make most of the money on the long term). Exactly from the same reason, they also offer very nice games, because they would like to retain the players.
The conclusion of all of this is very simple: right now, this seems like quite a lot of risk, apart from few very rare established operations I would have no problem trusting them with my Bitcoins, assuming I would have managed to purchase any ;).
Thanks for the great article from a casino veteran.
I’ve been involved with Bitcoins for a few months now and had some very good and very bad experiences with different casino brands. I think it resembles the start of online gambling a lot and there are many unscrupulous operators. It will also be interesting to see how long it takes the US to take a stand as far Bitcoin gambling is concerned. You didn’t mention poker which I’ve actually had good experiences with. For me wherever possible I have tried to connect with a human being in management before working with a brand. This helps mitigate some of the risk. And 2 brands that I’ve had amazing experiences with but didn’t make your list are BetChain and BitCasino.io.
Looking forward to reading your next installment.
Hey Marc – any comment from someone with your experience is always welcomed here on this blog, and I am extremely happy to see that you have liked this post.
I have indeed missed Bitcoin based poker rooms, and maybe there is a need to do a followup article on this industry as well.
GL this weekend in Barcelona!