WHAT KIND OF GAMES CAN I PLAY AT LEGIT BTC SITES?
You can play all gambling games with bitcoins: casino, sports betting, poker, Roulette, Blackjack… Anything!
When the first bitcoin-accepting gambling sites appeared, gamblers were suspicious for a reason. The first batch of BTC-sites was hardly legit, often running self-made games and operating without any supervision.
Things are different now in 2018. Even some of the best known online gambling sites, like Bodog, are starting to accept bitcoins. For us gamblers, this is great news, as we now have access to biggest and the best online games.
You can play the best online slots in bitcoins. These games are not made by the casino where you play at, but by the biggest names in online gambling: Microgaming, Netent, SoftSwiss and other big-name game developers. These are multi-billion dollar companies that wouldn’t let low-quality or blacklisted casinos feature their games. You’ll find both Microgaming and Netent slots in bitcoins at Bitcasino.io.
The same goes for betting and casino games like roulette and blackjack. New bitcoin casinos run the biggest game providers versions of these games, which keeps things legit and fair.
So there you go: BTC casinos and gambling sites have reached maturity. No more terrible “one guy coding the whole thing in the corner of his bedroom” sites (thank God), but instead reliable new casinos running on multi-billion dollar software.
IS IT LEGAL IN CANADA TO PLAY REAL-MONEY GAMES WITH BITCOINS?
Yes, you can play with bitcoins legally.
The Canadian government has a sensible, relaxed attitude when it comes to real-money online gambling and bitcoins. Simply put, they have better things to care about than if you like to play slots with bitcoins in the privacy of your own home.
Canada has always had a relaxed attitude to online gambling, which has made our country the home of some major online gambling companies like Bodog.
Basically, Canadian law ignores the whole online gambling issue, which makes it legal to gamble online; as in any democracy, anything that’s not specifically illegal is legal.
The situation is pretty much the same with bitcoins. For a long-winded but accurate description of the current law, see here. My short version is simply that you can do whatever you like with bitcoins in Canada: buy them, sell them or play with them.
WHAT IS THE BEST BITCOIN CASINO?
It’s a close call, but we have to go with Bitcasino.io.
There are two major candidates here: Bitcasino.io and BitStarz. Both of them offer a fine selection of games to play with bitcoin, but Bitcasino’s modern layout is easier to navigate, and you can find the games you want more comfortably than at BitStarz. However, as you get used to BitStarz’s layout and notice the magnifying glass to search for games in the upper left-hand corner, you’ll find yourself at home at BitStarz as well.
Slots players will find themselves at home at Bitcasino.io. You’ll find plenty of familiar titles such as Mega Moolah, Immortal Romance and Fruit Zen. The main competitor BitStarz’s BTC games selection is quite obscure, quite frankly. At BitStarz, though, you’ll find plenty of slots you likely haven’t come across before.
For Bitcoin table games such as roulette and blackjack, you should head over to Bitcasino.io. Bitcasino offers Satoshi Roulette, Satoshi Blackjack as the standard roulette and blackjack versions, while BitStarz only has the table game variants as live dealer games. To play these games, you need to fill out your personal information first, and then you can sit down at the table. This is due to licensing issues, as some countries restrict Evolution Gaming games. Evolution Gaming offers the vast majority of the live dealer games, and for us Canadians, Evolution Gaming is allowed.
If you’re into sports betting, the best Bitcoin sportsbook is Sportsbet.io.
BITCOIN PLAYERS GET THE BEST BONUSES
Use bitcoins to receive the best bonuses available at online casinos.
When you play in bitcoins instead of Canadian dollars, you’ll always get the best possible bonus out of every casino you play at.
The reason for the high real-money bonuses is long winded, but it comes down to money-transfer costs.
Running an online casino is an expensive endeavor. The most costly thing for a gambling operator is not personnel costs or acquiring slots and other games or anything like that. It’s money-transfer fees!
Imagine that you use your bank card to deposit $100 at an online casino. For you this is straight forward: fill in the details, click “deposit” and you’re ready to play – you have $100 on your account.
For the casino, this is much more complex.
Accepting credit (or debit) card deposits is technically challenging, so the gambling operators need to outsource their payment services to companies that are capable of handling the intricacies of over-the-internet card payments. Add to this the fees going to MasterCard or Visa, potential fraud losses (somebody playing with a stolen credit card) and assorted other fees and the casino is lucky to get $80 out of your $100 deposit.
Using many of the other payment methods isn’t that much better for the casino operator. For example using a deposit method that for you, the player, is instant could be much more risky for the casino. Many online wallets are instantaneous for you, but not for the casino: you deposit and see your funds immediately in your account. But the casino gets paid maybe once or twice a month by the online wallet. Now, if the company behind the payment service happened to go out of business, the casino would make a loss to the tune of all the deposits made with that payment method.
You can now see why bitcoins are so attractive to gambling operators: bitcoin transfers are instant (most casinos don’t wait for blockchain confirmations), free, and non-reversible thanks to the block chain technology. This is exactly the type of payment all online casinos want to use both for deposits and paying out winners (which is even more expensive than taking deposits).
To you, all this means that the casinos want you to play in bitcoins. They give us players a gentle nudge to play in bitcoins by offering higher bonuses for bitcoin-using players (excluding sports betting, for some reason BTC gambling sites don’t have betting bonuses).
As an example of how much better bitcoin players’ bonuses are, consider this: BitStarz casino offers a $500 deposit bonus for new players, while bitcoin players get a bonus of 5 BTC. At the time of writing this 2018 1 BTC is about 19,000 Canadian dollars. The bonus bitcoin players get is nearly twenty(!) times higher than the dollar one.
HOW WELL ARE BITCOIN CASINOS MONITORED – IS IT SAFE TO PLAY AT THEM?
Bitcoin casinos are not licensed by the most reliable jurisdictions, but in the end, it makes very little difference.
When it comes to using bitcoins, online casinos are where they were with Canadian dollars and other “normal” currencies 10 years ago: some jurisdictions do license bitcoin-based casinos, but the most reputable ones don’t.
Licensing problems have mostly to do with bitcoin’s legal status which goes from “completely legal” (like in most European countries and Canada) to “completely illegal” (many Asian countries). Many well-established gambling jurisdictions like Malta or the UK don’t want to take part in this complicated situation, so bitcoin-based casinos seek licenses from less reputable jurisdictions.
For you, this means very little. Online casinos run games that are not operated by the casinos themselves but the game manufacturers. Microgaming games, for example, are found on hundreds of casinos. Every year more than 20 billion spins are played on Microgaming slots.
If we assume that an average spin is played with a $1 stake and the game has a 98% payout, each spin nets two cents for the casinos and Microgaming. 20 billion spins = $40,000,000.
If you were Microgaming, would you let a shoddy casino risk business that makes you 40 million dollars per year? Of course not. When you play with your bonus at a bitcoin casino, the games are not operated by that casino but by the game developer. And it’s in their best interest to keep gaming fair and the games running smoothly.
Sometimes, but rarely, you might come across a gambling site that has games built by the casino itself. In these cases, most bitcoin site’s use a technique called “verifiably fair”, which is in use at many dice sites especially (Prime Dice, 999 Dice). This technology allows you to check that the game results are random and fair, just as they should be. If you can’t find a verifiably fair game OR a game by a well-known game developer, it’s time to head to the next casino!
Just like at any other casino, when it comes to bonuses the most important thing you need to do is be aware of the terms and conditions attached to the bonus you want. These terms and conditions (and most specifically the wagering/play through requirements) are the most usual point of friction between players and casinos, and that has nothing to do with if the bonus was handed out in Canadian dollars, bitcoins or another currency.
So to sum it up: the games are fair, and for the most part so are the bonus terms and conditions, but you need to be aware that the latter exist and may affect what you need to do before your bitcoin bonus, free spins or other benefit is paid out. Not-so-coincidentally the easiest way to do this is to read bonus.ca: we list the most important rules of every single bonus you find on our site)
What about apps and mobile BTC gaming?
Google Play and the App Store don’t want to have anything to do with BTC but you can still play with your phone.
When it comes to playing real-money BTC games on your mobile, you need to play them directly at the casino. Downloading an app is not an option because they’re not available.
There are no real-money crypto gambling apps because Google (Android) and Apple (iPhone, iPad, etc) aren’t yet ready for crypto gambling.
The fact that Android and iOS don’t have real-money gambling apps is not a problem for you though. Online casinos are bright enough to work around this. They have optimized their websites for mobile gaming, so all you need to do is to head on over to the site, log in, transfer money from your favorite BTC wallet and start wagering.
January 2018 update
The hype around crypto casinos continues, and we’ve kept our eyes open scouting for another quality cryptocurrency casino. FortuneJack caught our eye, and after a longer look, it was clear FortuneJack deserves its place at Bonus.ca.
FortuneJack offers great selection of games, and to go along with them, they support multiple cryptocurrencies. Nowadays Bitcoin is still the biggest kid at the playground, but others are catching up fast. FortuneJack offers Ethereum, Monero, Zcash, Dash and Litecoin gambling for those who’ve dipped their toes to the deeper end of the crypto pool. Especially Monero and Zcash are interesting coins, as they add another layer of anonymity into your gambling.
We’re still keeping an eye out for other crypto operators, and especially we’re looking for operators who would offer sports betting and poker for our bettors and poker players out there. Please contact [email protected] if you feel like there’s an operator who could fill out criteria, and we’ll look into it.