Sports betting is one of bitcoin’s first popular use cases. Bitcoin-only bookmakers like Nitrogen Sports and CloudBet have been steadily growing in popularity over the past couple of years and sporting events like the Super Bowl now even cause a spike in the bitcoin price. Traditional online sportsbooks have also begun to accept bitcoin as it offers their U.S. players an easy way to bypass banking restrictions. There are, however, differences between bitcoin-only sportsbooks like Nitrogen Sports and bitcoin-friendly bookmakers like Bovada so it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each option. Here are 10 tips that will help you navigate the selection process and find the right BTC sports betting site for you.
1. U.S. Friendly
In the early days all bitcoin gambling sites accepted players from the United States but that’s not the case anymore. Some bitcoin sportsbooks and casinos are now licensed and regulated which means they can no longer accept real-money gamblers from the US. Both the Isle of Man and UK gaming commissions are updating their rulebook to allow their licensees to accept bitcoin so we can expect to see a growing number of bitcoin gambling sites that do not accept players from the United States.
2. Zero Fees Banking
Don’t assume that bitcoin deposits and payouts are free. For example, BetOnline recently caused controversy by charging their players a hidden 6.5% bitcoin deposit fee and 2% bitcoin withdrawal fee. After a flurry of protests from their users, they were forced to remove these fees but it does demonstrate why you should always double check to make sure that both deposits and payouts are free.
3. Fast Deposits/Fast Withdrawals
Bitcoin deposits should be credited to your account after 0 or 1 confirmations regardless of which type of gambling site you are using. If you get a hot tip or find a really competitive betting line, you want to be able to deposit quickly and get your bet on. Bitcoin-only gambling operators typically process withdrawals within hours but it can take up to 5 days at traditional betting sites like 5Dimes, Bovada and BetOnline.
4. Live In-Play Betting
Many bitcoin-only sportsbooks have limited in-play betting options, especially for minor leagues and less popular sports. Most in-play betting markets are limited to the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and major soccer leagues like the English Premier League.
5. Deposit Bonus
While most bitcoin-only bookmakers like Nitrogen Sports do not offer bonuses, others like CloudBet do so it’s a good idea to shop around. If bonuses and promotions are important to you then you might by better off choosing a bitcoin-friendly site like BetOnline or Bovada.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you have deposited with BTC that you will be able to avoid going through a KYC/AML process. Most traditional bookmakers still ask you to provide ID and proof of address when you request your first BTC payout.
7. Customer Support
The quality of customer service offered can vary greatly so please do your research. Many smaller bitcoin gambling sites are run on a shoestring and they simply don’t have the resources to employ a 24 hour support team to take calls and answers queries via live chat.
8. 2 Factor Authentication
How secure are your bitcoin from hackers at a particular betting site? While most bitcoin-only gambling sites offer 2-Step Verification to help you protect your coins, many old school bookmakers don’t. It’s important to remember that once your bitcoin are gone, they are gone for good. It’s not possible to get a chargeback or request a refund if a hacker has logged into your betting account and stolen your BTC.
A common complaint regarding btc-only sportsbooks is that it takes longer for sporting events to be graded once they have finished. If you mainly bet on major football, hockey, baseball and basketball games then this won’t be a problem. However, if you are a fan of lacrosse or badminton then you may have a wait a couple of days before you receive your winnings.
10. Mobile Compatible
Many bitcoin-only gambling sites do not yet have the resources to develop slick and feature-rich betting apps. Before you sign-up and deposit, it’s always worth visiting the site first on your Android, Microsoft Lumia or iPhone to check how mobile compatible their software is.
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