Bitcoin casinos are online casinos where you can deposit and play using BTC, the most popular cryptocurrency in the world. Although Bitcoin is becoming more popular all the time, the gambling regulators haven't yet blessed its use on licensed casino markets such as the UK.
On this page, you'll find everything you need to know about Bitcoin casinos in the UK, ways to use crypto for gambling and basic info about the blockchain technology.
Getting around the Bitcoin casino restrictions in the UK
Unfortunately, you can't directly deposit bitcoin at regulated and licensed UK online casinos for now. However, if you're set on using your crypto for gambling, there are ways to get around this.
Several e-wallets, crypto exchanges and online banks have found ways to blur the line between cryptocurrencies and traditional banking solutions. In practice, you can spend crypto of your choice and the casino gets fiat, i.e. "normal money".
Here are some examples of payment providers that let you spend crypto using more conventional banking methods:
PayPal (bitcoin integration announced for 2021)
Each of these systems differs slightly from its competitors, and we won't provide detailed instructions here. However, the basic idea is this:
Sign up and get a traditional, widely accepted banking solution, e.g. bank account, debit card or e-wallet
Buy or receive digital currencies in a wallet linked to your account
You can choose whether to use crypto funds or fiat for purchases
When you pay with crypto, each purchase is converted into fiat at the going rate and deducted from your crypto balance
You pay with crypto; the merchant (the casino) gets fiat
We can't give you an exact list of casinos that accept alternative ways to deposit with BTC. Luckily, we don't have to. For example, if the casino accepts a Visa card issued by a regular bank, they're likely to accept one issued by Revolut or Crypto.com. Here are Bojoko-listed casinos with the widest range of banking methods:
Regulation surrounding cryptocurrency in the UK is particularly fragmented. Over the last few years, the UK government has had a general view that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not ‘real currencies'. This is because they are not perceived to perform the functions generally associated with the definition of currency. Therefore, they are not widely accepted as legal tender, though legal.
The main reason bitcoin casinos are not so prevalent in the UK lies within the inherent characteristics of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin was created to remove power from the central banks and the regulations associated with them and their fiat currency counterparts.
If you want to accept digital currency as a means of payment (either directly or through a payment processor which accepts digital currencies) you must satisfy yourself and us that you can meet your obligations in relation to anti-money laundering and that you are acting in a socially responsible way.
UK Gambling Commission
Currently, it is not illegal for UK-licensed casinos to accept cryptocurrency deposits. However, the UK Gambling Commission requires all casinos to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) regulations. This becomes extremely difficult for bitcoin casinos as arguably the most important characteristic of the cryptocurrency is its perceived anonymity. Overcoming this obstacle has clearly been quite difficult for bitcoin casinos who have decided to avoid establishing themselves in the UK.
What does the future look like?
The UK is one of a growing list of countries that are looking at ways to properly regulate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As regulations change and adapt and more people begin to adopt bitcoin, we will likely start to see bitcoin casinos start to pop up. For example, online payments powerhouse PayPal has stated that in 2021 they will give customers the ability to buy, sell and hold bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This would allow people to use their crypto at any of the millions of merchants PayPal works with. Advances such as this could promote big changes within crypto gambling.
Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely players will ever be able to play at a UK-licensed bitcoin casino and be anonymous due to the UKGC's strict guidelines. However, players in the UK may very soon have the choice to experience the benefits of bitcoin betting!
What is Bitcoin?
In 2008, a computer programmer going by the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto released Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology to the world. As stated by Satoshi in the famous white paper, Bitcoin is an "electronic cash system that's fully peer-to-peer".
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are made possible by a technology called the blockchain. This is a shared electronic ledger in which transactions in cryptocurrency (e.g. bitcoin) are instantly validated by a network of computers, thus creating a decentralised and transparent environment.
Essentially, Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be used as a transfer of value between people, without the interference of banks or other third parties. Bitcoin is the most popular of the available cryptocurrencies and can be used for a variety of things such as booking hotels, buying food and gambling.
What's so special about Bitcoin gambling sites?
Bitcoin casino (or BTC casino for short) brings plenty of new exciting features to the table. It's easy to understand why Bitcoin gambling is becoming ever more popular.
Bigger bonuses for players due to extremely low transaction costs for operators
Super fast withdrawal (usually 20 minutes)
Your winnings may increase in value as BTC gains momentum
Low fees are also a major plus. On Bitcoin gambling sites you can expect substantially lower transaction charges than at normal, fiat currency online casinos.
Benefits of Bitcoin casinos
Probably the most important aspect of Bitcoin and the blockchain is its decentralised nature, meaning it isn't controlled by one single entity or institution. The pros of this are primarily the anonymity and transparency of transactions.
The intrinsic benefits of decentralisation are experienced when playing at a cryptocurrency casino. These include:
No external control over the blockchain and free from banks
No need to enter card details or address during signup
Extremely low or no transaction fees
Another special feature of Bitcoin casinos is that they can be "provably fair". This concept is unique to casinos that support blockchain technology.
Provably fair casinos prove themselves to operate 100% fairly through mathematical verification. Provably fair casinos cannot corrupt the fairness of their games.
Here's how provably fair gaming works:
The casino creates a seed number for the bet.
This is hashed (turned into a secret code like a digital signature) and sent to the player.
The player then adds their own seed number and the bet takes place.
When the bet's over, the player receives the seed used in the bet.
If it matches the bet, it's verified automatically by the system.
If the casino tries to manipulate the bet outcome, the bet becomes invalid.
The accuracy and fairness of a bet's outcome can be verified by players in real-time. The provably fair mechanism is strongly tied to the random number generators. It may take a while before you can play at a live casino using the same verification method.
It is important to note that not all Bitcoin casinos are provably fair. You can check whether a crypto casino is provably fair on its website. The "provably fair" label is normally found and explained on the homepage or "About us" page.
Flexibility and versatility
Bitcoin opens up the world of online casinos and banking options to users who would otherwise have access to neither. At the same time, adding Bitcoin as a payment option to a casino has become easier.
PayPal casinos have to jump through many hoops to get approval. Instead, Bitcoin has quickly become more prevalent online as the popularity of cryptocurrencies continues to grow.
Bitcoin can be transferred amongst users anywhere in the world. Bitcoin is an international digital currency which:
Bitcoin offers unique layers of protection that aren't found in other banking options. Every single deposit and withdrawal made in a Bitcoin casino will use a unique, encrypted digital address. All your transactions are coded. Your personal and financial information can never be disclosed as transactions are processed.
Using Bitcoin doesn't make you completely anonymous. Exchanges and wallet providers usually require you to prove your identity. Additionally, some Bitcoin casinos may ask you to provide KYC documents in exceptional circumstances.
However, Bitcoin has been designed to make users pseudonymous. The network functions with a private key and a public key:
The private key is a secret number that allows Bitcoins to be spent and is saved in your Bitcoin wallet.
The public key is equivalent to your Bitcoin address, which changes for every transaction you make.
Private and public keys work together as a sophisticated two-way authentication system.
Bitcoin casino slots
In terms of general player experience, Bitcoin casinos are almost identical to traditional online casinos. There's the same wide collection of games available: typically slots, progressive jackpots, table games, and live dealer games.
Depending on the specific casino, players can enjoy slots and live tables from the biggest studios, such as Microgaming and Play'n Go, to smaller, more niche offerings. Players can select their wager amount (within defined limits) and can make a withdrawal whenever they want.
When playing slots at a Bitcoin casino, in-game balances and winnings may be shown in different ways depending on the casino. The main way players might see this are coins, BTC, mBTC, uBTC, $, € or £. To clear up any confusion, mBTC and uBTC are simply fractions of a Bitcoin (BTC), this helps when playing with smaller amounts.
Bitcoin casinos are online casinos that use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means to place wagers. Players purchase BTC from an exchange or transfer from a wallet to the casino and then gamble on games as normal. For withdrawals, players simply specify how many BTC (or similar) they want to withdraw, and send those funds back to their wallet.
Bitcoin still hasn't been properly accepted as a payment option on UK-licensed online casino sites. NetBet casino briefly added Bitcoin as a payment method but decided to remove it after a short period.
There are several indicators of a casino's high quality and Bitcoin casinos are no exception. The best online casinos with Bitcoin:
are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission
have plenty of games from well-known slot suppliers
offer other cryptocurrencies
feature fast, reliable, low-fee banking options
offer competitive bonuses
Unfortunately, there are currently no UK-licensed casinos that directly let you deposit with Bitcoin.
Online Bitcoin casinos work in exactly the same way as a regular fiat casinos in terms of how players interact with the site and play games. Aside from the benefits of gambling with Bitcoin, the primary difference is the process of purchasing Bitcoin or other crypto and depositing it into the Bitcoin casino.
Depositing at a Bitcoin casino follows a few relatively straightforward steps:
Open a Bitcoin wallet (if you don't already have one)
Purchase Bitcoin (e.g from an exchange)
Send the Bitcoins to your specific wallet address at your chosen casino
It is becoming more popular amongst Bitcoin casinos to give players the option to purchase Bitcoin from the casino via a third party. This means players can quickly purchase Bitcoin using their credit card and it will appear in their balance. A Bitcoin wallet would still be necessary for withdrawal.
Depending on the casino, you should be able to withdraw all of your Bitcoin balance instantly. However, some casinos may require the casino payments staff to authorise major transactions over a certain value.
Bitcoin provides its users nearly instant casino deposits and withdrawals. However, some Bitcoin transfers can take a couple of minutes to clear. Your transaction is recorded in the distributed ledger and becomes an immutable part of the blockchain history as links to the chain are forged upon the previous ones.
This depends on whether or not the online casino is handling Bitcoin transactions directly. If it is, you can withdraw Bitcoin directly to the address from where you made your deposit (e.g. your personal wallet). This may require authorisation from the casino payments department.
1 Bitcoin in an online casino is worth just as much as it is anywhere else. Online casinos have an exchange rate for btc that reflects the current market situation.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a volatile asset class, meaning their price fluctuates heavily.
For example, in 2019 the price of btc varied between £2,525 and £10,895. The change has not always been positive for Bitcoin holders.
Lauri has worked in online gambling for 4 years reviewing hundreds of online casinos, bonuses and games. Lauri has a masters degree in history from the University of Tampere. He is a live casino aficionado who has also created his very own roulette strategy.