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Although this article has been penned for a New Zealand readership, much of the information featured about Bitcoin casinos and as a currency more generally will be applicable to any reader. This is because Bitcoin doesn’t care for imaginary lines drawn on maps. It’s quite literally borderless.
In this article, we’ll be briefly discussing what Bitcoin is and what makes it ideal for use as a payment method at an online casino. We’ll then tell you New Zealand casino fans just how to get hold of Bitcoin for yourself! Let’s begin.
Bitcoin is the first viable digital currency. It was created in 2008 by an unknown computer scientist or group of computer scientists calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto. This completely anonymous creation is what separates Bitcoin from the mass of copycat digital currencies that have emerged since.
Although it can be used to transfer value, Bitcoin is entirely different to any national currency. National currencies are issued by banks. Contrary to popular belief, they are not backed by any hard assets. Central banks control the issuance (and therefore value) of national currencies. They can print more whenever they like.
Bitcoin is a much harder form of money than any national currency. There will only be 21 million units ever created. This is a network rule that is supported by the most powerful network of computers (known as miners) the world has ever known. To increase the total supply would require consensus amongst these miners and given that each miner has a vested interest in keeping the supply limited, achieving this consensus is all but impossible.
Since it doesn’t require any central authority, Bitcoin acts without borders. The network can just as easily transfer value from Hong Kong to the USA as it can between friends at the opposite side of a dinner table. This is a very powerful quality and one that casino operators particularly like.
Another potentially world-changing quality of Bitcoin is that it is entirely permissionless. With every other financial network in existence today, a third party can stop you making a transaction. In Bitcoin, no one can stop you.
Critics of cryptocurrency used to argue that a malevolent government could shut down the internet in response to Bitcoin. However, since you can connect to the network via a satellite these days, even that wouldn’t stop people from using the cryptocurrency should they really want to.
Clearly, Bitcoin sounds like an excellent tool to take a stand against draconian governments or malevolent governments of the world with, but it’s also good for just regular old value transfers. Bitcoin allows cheap, fast, and impossible-to-censor transactions around the world. This could shake up the way many industries do things, including the online casino industry.
A Bitcoin casino, simply put, is a casino that accepts Bitcoin as a payment method. Most of them will appear almost identical to a regular online casino. The only real difference will be when it comes to depositing and withdrawing.
There are, however, a few different types of Bitcoin or Bitcoin-friendly casinos to introduce you to.
Some casinos only accept Bitcoin and nothing else. You won’t find them offering deposits in either fiat (national) currency or other digital currencies.
Some digital currency-friendly casinos will accept a range of digital currencies. Common are Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), XRP, Monero (XMR), and Dash. Some users prefer to use one of these faster cryptocurrencies to make transactions between themselves and the casino even more convenient. Others might prefer to use the privacy features of the likes of Monero, Zcash, or Dash. These three currencies can be used much more anonymously than Bitcoin.
Finally, there are Bitcoin-friendly casinos. These are iGaming venues that accept a range of fiat deposit options as well as Bitcoin and/or other digital assets. Some big names from the traditional online casino industry are amongst those casinos experimenting with such deposit options.
However, it’s important to realise that just because a casino appears to be supporting Bitcoin deposits doesn’t mean that it actually is. There exist payment processing services, like BitPay for example, that allow companies to offer Bitcoin deposits. These companies do not really accept Bitcoin. They accept dollars, euros, pounds, or whatever other national currency. The payment processor exchanges the Bitcoin to the currency the casino wants and makes the payment on your behalf.
This won’t matter to everyone. However, you should be aware that if you want to support Bitcoin use, you would be better off hanging onto your Bitcoins for an opportunity to use them in a peer-to-peer way, like at a Bitcoin-only casino, than to use them with a payment processor.
There are all kinds of reasons why Bitcoin makes an ideal payment method at an online casino. We’ve detailed some of the most common below:
Bitcoin payments are settled with absolute finality much quicker than those made using traditional payment networks. This makes it great for use at an online casino.
When you pay your regular online casino with a card payment, via Visa or Mastercard, what actually happens is your bank tells the casino that it’s initiated a transfer. It doesn’t magically send the money instantly. In fact, it will take a few days for the casino to finally receive the payment.
This waiting around doesn’t really work for the online casino model. The casino therefore trusts that the bank is good for the money and credits your account immediately. There’s a lot of trust that goes on here and to establish that trust, there’s an entire financial auditing industry. None of this is cheap and so the casino must pay Visa or Mastercard for use of their service.
With Bitcoin, the network confirms the transaction and the more times it’s confirmed, the less reversible the transaction becomes. After about 60 minutes (on average) the transaction is unfeasibly expensive to reverse (like billions of dollars). It’s probably not worth spending billions to reverse a few hundred- or even thousand-dollar transaction!
Unfortunately, whilst Bitcoin does settle with finality much quicker than a bank transfer, it does take a little bit longer to actually start playing. Deposits might take up to an hour, rather than the seemingly instant deposits with Visa or Mastercard.
Where Bitcoin really shines, however, is when it comes to withdrawals. The exact same trust relationship is required when you withdraw using a traditional payment method like Visa. However, this time, the bank doesn’t trust the casino by default. This means you have to wait days until you can spend your winnings. With Bitcoin, you will have your spendable winnings within an hour!
Many Bitcoin casinos have absolutely no restrictions on where they accept players from. This means that those living in nations where gambling is illegal can still play online casino games. We would never encourage anyone to flout their national laws. However, the fact that many Bitcoin casinos do advertise as being entirely global suggests that there are at least some people taking advantage of its truly international nature.
Bitcoin casinos are relatively new. They also have something of a reputation problem. Although horror stories of Bitcoin casinos stealing money from customers are very rare, there are no shortage of other scams involving Bitcoin investment platforms and other such companies. This, along with negative press coverage of Bitcoin’s association with drug dealers and money launderers, has made people wary of actually giving Bitcoin a try.
Since casino operators have to overcome the prejudices people might already have against Bitcoin, they have to work extra hard to attract new players. It’s not at all uncommon to see welcome bonuses of a whole Bitcoin ~$10,000 at the time of writing. Such welcome bonuses won’t be around forever and they can be highly lucrative!
There are a couple of potential issues with using Bitcoin casinos. Again, we’ve detailed them below.
Being a fixed supply asset that is so new, Bitcoin price can swing wildly in both directions. This might make it less convenient to use as a payment method at online casinos. Although you might wake up one day to find that your bankroll has swelled in value by 10 percent, you might also suffer the effects of one of Bitcoin’s spectacular 20 percent or more crashes.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t a lot you can do about these swings. However, as the market matures and grows, they will become much less dramatic.
Not many licencing agencies are working with Bitcoin casinos yet. This means that the Bitcoin casino sector is akin to the wild west. There are potential scams and fraudulent companies everywhere.
That’s not to say that every Bitcoin casino wants to rob you. Quite the opposite in fact. Many are setup as a legitimate and honest way to promote Bitcoin adoption (as well as to make money for the operator). Casinos are profitable enough even when you offer a completely fair service. It makes little sense for scams to be the norm rather than the exception.
Fortunately, you’re in the right place for honest Bitcoin casinos. Each of our recommendations on this page has been tested by our experienced team.
Buying Bitcoin in New Zealand is easy. There are a few different options available and we’ve detailed them below:
The easiest way to get some Bitcoin is to buy it or receive it as a gift from a friend. The best part about doing it this way is you might get a discount of the Bitcoin (or at least not have to pay any fees). Of course, not everyone knows someone that can sell them Bitcoin. Fortunately, there are other ways to buy it.
You can buy Bitcoin from a brokerage, like Coinbase, or an exchange, such as CEX.io. Many of the leading exchange platforms support users from New Zealand. These services charge a small premium for Bitcoin. However, they do support a wide range of deposit options.
Also popular are peer-to-peer market places, such as LocalBitcoins or Paxful. These often require much less documentation be submitted by the user and for some this is very important. However, you will likely need to pay a larger premium on Bitcoin bought via a peer-to-peer market place.
New Zealand also has a small number of Bitcoin ATMs. These machines allow users to buy Bitcoin using fiat currency at a physical location. For small payments, they often don’t require KYC checks. This makes them ideal for those wanting to use Bitcoin casinos without anyone else knowing. However, they usually charge the largest premium of all the methods we’ve detailed above.
Are Bitcoin casinos legal in New Zealand?
Yes! Bitcoin is legal in New Zealand and there is no legislation to state that citizens cannot gamble.
Is Bitcoin a good investment?
Bitcoin is an extremely high-risk investment. There are many people who say that it’s price will one day reach $100,000 or even $1 million. However, there are also those that believe it will go to zero. If you decide to invest in Bitcoin, you should do so only with a small percentage of your net worth and after you have researched the subject extensively.
Do Bitcoin Casinos Have Bonuses?
Yes! See the above section on advantages of Bitcoin casinos. Bitcoin casinos often have some of the most impressive bonuses in the industry.
Can I use any cryptocurrency at a Bitcoin casino?
No. You can only use the digital currencies specified by a Bitcoin or cryptocurrency casino. There are more than 2,000 different coins and tokens out there today. To accept them all would be a serious headache for a casino!
Is Bitcoin private/anonymous?
No. Bitcoin can be used with a reasonable degree of privacy. However, most users will leave clues to their identity all over the internet and transactions are easily linked to an individual. For those seeking greater privacy, try Zcash or Monero.
Are Bitcoin casinos legit?
Yes and no. Being unregulated, some Bitcoin casinos will be riskier than others. All the ones we recommend have been thoroughly tested by an experienced team, however.
Are transactions reversible?
No. Bitcoin transactions are absolutely final. You must ensure you send your BTC to the correct deposit address. Sending to the wrong address can lose your deposit forever. Bitcoin transactions CANNOT be reversed by anyone!