Chief among the factors behind bitcoin’s surge over the past 12 months is its wider acceptance as a payment method by major companies and websites. One sector where bitcoin is on the rise is online gambling, with bettors, bookmakers and online casinos all embracing the digital currency. Faced with mores stringent regulations and higher taxes for operating in certain countries, gambling companies can offset these losses by offering bitcoin as a payment method while operating in an offshore gambling jurisdiction. As such, betting companies and offshore jurisdictions alike are reaping rewards from embracing bitcoin.
Bitcoin is rapidly closing the gap on conventional currency as the preferred option for US poker players, and it’s easy too see why. Blockchain technology, the foundation on which bitcoin is built, is secure and verifiable by design. Not only that, but it allows for lightning-fast and reliable money transfers. This is what gives bitcoin poker an edge over conventional currency: it allows players to withdraw funds and have that money in their account within twenty-four hours. There are other benefits too. It provides greater player anonymity, as bitcoin poker sites generally don’t ask registrants for their personal details. You can potentially get more rakeback depending on which site you play at. If you fancy giving bitcoin a go, see our list below of the major US poker rooms that accept bitcoin.
DirectBet.eu, one of the world’s most popular and reputed cryptocurrency gambling websites, has abruptly shut down. Although there is much speculation as to why the website closed without any prior warning, DirectBet has not given any reasons for the shutdown, simply stating that ‘we decided to close DirectBet in order to pursue other interests.’
A new Android poker app is breaking new ground by allowing players to wager with Ethereum, an emerging crypto-currency. Referred as Ether, the exciting digital currency utilizes virtual contracts to manage the transfer of funds between two parties. In the case of Uncle Finney’s Poker, a heads-up, two player poker game exclusive to Android mobile devices, smart-contract technology manages and settles bets.
All pre-agreed conditions of the smart contract must be fulfilled before either party receives payment in Ether, with funds held in virtual escrow until that occurs. The smart-contract technology that handles this vital escrow function is known as Ether For The Rest Of The World (E4ROW), which manages all deposits and pay-outs on the app in real time.
Australia has followed the United States' lead with their recent decision to ban online poker and live sports betting. Australia originally brought up this issue with their proposed 2001 Internet Gambling Act that aimed to outlaw all types of online gaming but that bill had loopholes that allowed Internet betting to continue. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016 aims to close those loopholes for good.
It's worked so far. 888Poker took the hint and left the Australian market in January and PokerStars is inevitably following suit. The latest legislation requires poker sites to be licensed in the country in order to offer their services to Australian residents – except there is no licensing or regulatory process for online poker at this time.