In our industry there are some terms you would not know without being familiar with online gambling. One of those terms is 'Bitcoin casino'.
Regular visitors to our website have probably read numerous articles about these sorts of casinos. We appreciate Bitcoin casinos for many reasons.
Just as there are Bitcoin casinos, there are non-Bitcoin casinos. What's the difference? Well, there isn't just a single thing that separates them. There are multiple differences, each of which will be discussed here. If you want to play online AND you own bitcoins (BTC), playing at a Bitcoin casino is a good way to go.
Introduction to online casinos
Online casinos are similar to land-based casinos in some ways but different in others. The biggest difference is that an online casino is not a physical place with actual floor space and physical machines. It is an online property that exists somewhere on a computer server. With the exception of live games, that also means the games you play at an online casino are computer simulations.
What does that mean in terms of slots? It means that online casinos offering the game are not actually hooking you up with a physical game cabinet over the internet. Rather, they license use of the game from its creator. Some casinos host the software on their own sites while others just link to it. It is seamless for you either way.
Definition of a Bitcoin Casino
Moving on to the Bitcoin casino, it is an online casino that accepts Bitcoin deposits. It may or may not offer the same video slots as the non-Bitcoin Casino does but we know that Bitcoin casinos have improved greatly over the last year or two.
The non-Bitcoin casino doesn't accept Bitcoin deposits. At least not directly. This is an important distinction that will be discussed momentarily. The main point for now is that you cannot make direct BTC deposits at a non-Bitcoin casino. This is the fundamental difference between Bitcoin and non-Bitcoin casinos. But there are other differences as well. Let us get into those now.
Direct deposits and payment processors
We have established that a Bitcoin casino is one that accepts Bitcoin deposits. Now let us talk about how those deposits are arranged. There are several ways this can be done. The first is making a direct deposit that pushes BTC from your wallet to the casino's wallet. Any casino that accepts BTC in this way would be considered a Bitcoin casino.
Another method of accepting BTC is to go through a cryptocurrency payment processor. This method gives online casino properties a bit more security because it limits their risk. A casino accepting deposits through this method may or may not deal with Bitcoin themselves.
For example, one Bitcoin casino may have its own BTC holdings. As such, payments are processed and the coin is deposited into the casino's wallet. But another casino may not have BTC holdings. How do they get paid? The payment processor takes your BTC and converts it to fiat that is subsequently transferred to the casino's bank account.
This is sort of casino would still be considered a Bitcoin casino as long as the transaction is seamless for you. In fact, the Bitcoin casinos that operate this way do not let on how they do business. They don't have to. For your purposes, they accept Bitcoin deposits. It doesn't matter whether they go through a payment processor or not.
Deposits with BTC Debit Cards
You can also make a BTC deposit at a Bitcoin casino using what is known as a BTC debit card. A BTC debit card is a debit card that acts just like a bank-issued or prepaid debit card. If it acts like a bank-issued card, you would already have BTC holdings that are simply transferred from your wallet to the casino's wallet via the card provider.
If your card acts like a prepaid debit card, you would load it the same way you would any other prepaid card. The card issuer makes payments on your behalf - in BTC. It is pretty straightforward.
Once again, a Bitcoin casino would take a BTC debit card transaction straight up. The end result would be your BTC being pushed to the casino's wallet via the debit card transaction. A non-Bitcoin casino would not receive BTC. Instead, your coin would be converted on-the-fly by the card issuer. You would pay in BTC, but the online casino would receive fiat.
This may seem like an insignificant distinction to you as the gambler. For your purposes, it doesn't matter how the casino gets paid as long as you get to play. But from the casino's point of view, it makes all the difference in the world. A non-Bitcoin casino can still attract Bitcoin players who make deposits with their BTC debit cards.
Online payment providers
Yet another way to deposit BTC at an online casino is through a payment provider that offers both fiat and cryptocurrency payments. Our favorite two examples are Skrill and Neteller (unfortunately not available to U.S. residents). Depositing this way has very little bearing on whether or not your favorite casino is a Bitcoin casino.
A Bitcoin casino is not one that excludes all other payment forms. It is simply a casino that accepts BTC deposits. So whether you pay with a direct deposit or a provider like Skrill doesn't really make a difference in determining a Bitcoin casino from a non-Bitcoin casino.
When it comes to casino bonuses, there are big differences between Bitcoin and non-Bitcoin casinos. For starters, welcome bonuses at Bitcoin casinos are almost always paid in BTC. This could make an enormous difference to an investor who pays close attention to the daily price of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin casinos do not allow you to withdraw welcome bonus money. In other words, you might have a casino that offers you the equivalent of $1,000 in BTC. You can use that money to play slots all day long. Even if you hit a jackpot, you will not be able to withdraw that $1,000 in bonus money. It stays with the casino.
Other Bitcoin casinos will let you withdraw bonus money after you reach a certain threshold in terms of the number of games played and the amount you have bet. This is advantageous in that you risk losing less of your own money because you are combining it with the bonus money paid by the casino.
It is advantageous another way: if you won enough to withdraw the total amount of bonus money paid by the casino, you could take that money out and simply hold it as a BTC investment. It can grow right along with the price of Bitcoin, effectively making you a winner for a second time.
More bonus money opportunities
It has been our experience that Bitcoin casinos tend to offer more bonus money opportunities. This is not always the case, but it is most of the time. Bitcoin casinos tend to use the welcome bonus as a starting point. They then add extra bonuses that could be anything from a daily bonus on a particular game to a bonus tied to a tournament.
The advantage to you is that more bonus opportunities gives you more opportunities to play and win. Every time a Bitcoin casino puts bonus money in your account, you have more to gamble with. It is as simple as that.
Withdrawing from Bitcoin Casinos
One last difference between Bitcoin and non-Bitcoin casinos is observed when it's time to withdraw. Almost no online casinos offer as many withdrawal options as they do deposit options, but Bitcoin casinos tend to offer the fewest options of all.
Your typical non-Bitcoin casino allows you to withdraw the same way you deposited, with the exception of credit and debit card deposits. So if you deposited with a wire transfer from your bank, you can probably withdraw the same way. You can make a withdrawal to your online payment provider account. Most non-Bitcoin casinos even offer paper check withdrawals.
Bitcoin casinos are different. A small number of them allow you to withdraw using the same method you chose for deposit. They also allow you to take your withdrawal in BTC. This is the best possible scenario for keeping both deposits and withdrawals confined to the Bitcoin network. You deposit BTC, you withdraw BTC.
However, a large number of Bitcoin casinos will not allow you to withdraw BTC. You can deposit, but your withdrawal must be made in some fiat currency. Assuming you are playing slots as a U.S. resident, your withdrawal would be made in USD.
Why do they do this? To protect themselves against loss. The casinos are more than willing to accept BTC deposits if that will get you to play. But they immediately convert your BTC to fiat so as not to risk their own financials. Rather than converting fiat back to BTC to facilitate your withdrawal, they require fiat withdrawals.
Now you know the fundamental differences between Bitcoin and non-Bitcoin casinos. Needless to say that the two types of casinos are distinctly different. It is not just a matter of semantics.