Most people don’t pay much mind to crypto gambling, unless they are players themselves. However, crypto gambling is a significant part of the cryptocurrency market. For example, in 2018 Bitcoin casinos were responsible for approximately 50% of all BTC transactions. So let’s look past the surface and dive a little deeper. Here’s what you should know about Bitcoin gambling on the surface web and the deep web.
Simply put, crypto casinos are casinos where players can top up their wallets, hold accounts and pay out their winnings in some form of cryptocurrency. Casino Guru, which has the largest up-to-date database of online casinos, additionally defines two varieties of crypto casinos. The first variety could be considered a “standard” crypto casino, is basically the same as any other online casino, but allows players to make deposits, play, and/or cash out in cryptocurrencies.
It requires identity verification, a standard feature of the online gambling industry. But there are also so-called “anonymous” casinos, which require no identity confirmation at all, only an e-mail, username, password and a crypto wallet. The Casino Guru database contains 161 casinos that can be classified as crypto casinos, but only 32 anonymous casinos.
Why has crypto gambling gained so much traction? To understand the answer to that question, we need to have a quick look at some of the legislation concerned with online gambling in general. Online gambling is very strictly regulated or outright banned in many countries. For example, there are only three states in the entirety of the USA, where online casinos are allowed operation. The Unlawful Illegal Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 forbids online wagering. But it has a loophole. It only specifies wagering in fiat.
And it’s not just America, that has a hole in their legislation in terms of crypto gambling. In truth, there are only 7 countries in the entire world which have a semblance of crypto gambling regulation. Namely, these are: the UK, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, Poland, Belgium and Japan, which is currently considering legislative solutions.
Coming back to the two varieties of crypto casinos mentioned earlier, anonymous casinos actually can’t get a license anywhere at the moment, even if they wanted to. The way they operate just doesn’t match the requirements of any reputable online gambling licensing authority.
For the majority of the world, bitcoin and other crypto are casinos in a legal grey area – not technically legal, but not illegal either. So, players that couldn’t scratch their gambling itch otherwise suddenly found themselves with a solution. A solution that allows them play anonymously (in some cases), from the comfort of their home and offers them an incredibly wide variety of games to choose from.
Though it is true that countries can still bar their citizens’ access to certain sites, like these crypto gambling sites specifically, this has done nothing to stop determined players. In the past, gamblers needed to download the TOR browser (abbr. The Onion Router), which granted them access past the constraints of surface web browsers and into the deep net. There, Hidden Wikis, which are sites aggregating links to various parts of the deep net linked to a crypto casino of their choosing and their game began. The benefit of this being that the combination of TOR and cryptocurrencies made them virtually untraceable by their own governments.
But there is a reason to why there are so many horror stories about the deep web. The deep web harbors numerous fraudsters and scam artists, which we’ll get into in a second. But thankfully, the advent and popularization of VPNs (abbr. Virtual Private Networks) has enabled players to enjoy safer experiences on the surface web. Crypto casinos operating on the surface web often publicize parts of the code they run on to boost trust with their customer base and avoid the negative reputation deep web crypto casinos have garnered.
As you can imagine, there’s a big “BUT” to everything we’ve told you so far. Be honest, you saw it coming from a mile away. So, what’re the issues with crypto gambling?
1) Crypto gambling can be fraught with crime. Especially so on the deep web, but you can run into scams and unfair practices even on the surface web. As the Routine Activities Theory of crime states, crime occurs whenever a suitable victim, a lack of capable guardian and a motivated criminal come together in one place. And when you have people willing to risk their hard-earned crypto on gambling, in an environment with limited or no law enforcement, you’ll find plenty of people more than willing to rid these players of their BTC.
The most popular crypto gambling scams across the web are:
- Ponzi schemes
- Deposit scams
- Fixed games
- Deposit syndicates
On top of that, money laundering is also a quite common occurrence in the crypto gambling sphere. But it’s not just the players who are at risk. Even the casino itself can become a victim to hackers, which would love nothing more than to empty out the casino’s crypto wallet.
2) Crypto gambling can be even more addicting than traditional gambling. Problem gambling, also known as gambling addiction, is an issue that the entire gambling industry at large has to face. However, though traditional casinos and betting can be addictive, online gambling even more so, crypto gambling poses the biggest risk to unsuspecting gamblers.
Crypto casinos operating on the fringe of the law can titillate potential customers with very aggressive advertising and marketing tactics, making them offers on bonuses and benefits, which no other casino can. That’s due to the fact that unlicensed casinos do not have to pay the standard fees that come with gambling operations, like tax, licensing fees, etc.
Then, once the player is drawn in, they get hit with the promise of fast payouts, quick game results and nearly limitless bet heights. Some illegal BTC casinos take full advantage of their position and completely disregard the recommended responsible gambling practices. After all, the more players you hook, the more money you make.
Then, there’s the simultaneous benefit and downside of anonymity. Since anonymous crypto casinos don’t require any form of identity confirmation, they’re easily accessible even to people who have no business being there. That goes for self-excluded players, as well as underage gamblers, who are especially vulnerable to gambling addiction.
In closing, though the siren call of crypto casinos may be tempting, be aware of the dangers that you might face by choosing to chase those sweet crypto winnings. Though there always is a risk factor in gambling, but playing in unlicensed casinos may make the risk greater than it is worth.