How to Deposit at Online Casinos using Bitcoin
Bitcoin is rapidly making the transition from being a speculative technology to being mainstream – and online casinos are catching on fast. A few years ago you would only be able to make Bitcoin deposits at specialist casinos which offered games in this currency (or rather Micro-Bitcoin which are 1/1000th of a Bitcoin each). Now the mainstream casinos have caught on and are offering deposits too. Your Bitcoin(s) are converted into dollars at the time you deposit.
This page takes you through the pros and cons of using Bitcoin for your online casino deposits. You will also see a practical step-by-step guide to getting set up and getting your money on board. If this seems too technical for you, I have noted some of the other popular methods of depositing at online casinos (with US players in mind) at the bottom of this page.
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Pros and Cons of making Casino Deposits with Bitcoin
Here are the key advantages:
- You can avoid the banking restrictions in place in the US following the UIGEA act of 2006. Bitcoin does not use any the financial networks which are restricted.
- Your Bitcoin wallet acts as an intermediary. This means you do not have to link your credit card or bank to any online gambling transactions. This is a positive for privacy purposes, as well as for security.
- Once you have your wallet set up, you can keep it funded and move money quickly to take advantage of bonus / promo offers at online casino sites.
You’ll need to balance these with some drawbacks:
- Setting up and funding your wallet does involve some effort. You will need to fund your wallet from a source where the charge can’t be reversed. Credit cards are not good for this, with bank wires the most common method.
- This currency can be volatile. The exchange rate can move quickly against the dollar. This can work in your favor (for example if you are holding Bitcoin and it moves positively against the dollar), though it can also work against you.
- Not all casinos accept this deposit option – though this number is growing.
How to use Bitcoin for Casino Deposits
The first setup is to set up your wallet. These are free and can be created using popular providers such as Coinbase. You’ll need to authenticate (via a phone) as part of the setup process. For smaller amounts a wallet within the shared Coinbase system will be fine. If you are using this for larger amounts you can consider downloading an encrypted wallet onto your own computer.
You then need to fund your wallet. Bank wires are the most common method, though this can take some time. If you know someone else with a wallet, you can have coins transferred that way, which will be much faster. These transfers involve a key (long string of characters) which are uniquely generated for each transaction.
I’ll make the assumption that you have already performed some ‘due diligence’ on your target casino, and ensured that they are tested, licensed and scandal free. Next you need to create an account and then head to the cashier.
When you choose the Bitcoin deposit option, a string will be generated which you will use in your own wallet. You copy / paste this in, along with the amount (in BTC) that you wish to transfer, and submit. This transfer happens instantly, and smaller amounts are ready to use right away. Larger amounts need to process through the blockchain 2 or 3 times – though this is relatively fast nowadays.
Your balance will be held in dollars, converted at the time you deposit. At this point fluctuations in the Bitcoin price do not affect you – with the conversion happening at whatever the current rate is when you come to withdraw. Bitcoin withdrawals are not available at all casinos. Where this is not offered, the most popular alternative is a paper check.
What are the Alternative Deposit Options for US Players?
If your casino does not accept Bitcoin, or you find the process to complex, then there are several other options available to you.
Credit cards are the most popular. Though these are subject to US banking restrictions, the casino sites get around this using international payment codes. Visa, MasterCard and AMEX are all accepted – though not all 3 at every online casino. If you do not have a card or your card gets declined, then prepaid Visa cards (available from gas stations) are a popular choice.
Money Transfer services are used for casino deposits from the US, though not directly to the casino site operators. You’ll go to your local branch office of Western Union or MoneyGram, and make the transfer to an individual instead. Your casino will give you the information for this.
As Bitcoin becomes more and more mainstream, more casinos are bound to introduce this as a deposit option. Once you have a wallet set up, this is a very fast and very secure payment option.