If investing in cryptocurrency doesn’t feel risky enough for you (although a pretty good risk in our books), how about putting your cryptocurrency on the line by playing Bitcoin poker?
Poker Goes Online
Poker is a tremendously popular game around the world, as is gambling in general. As a result, online gaming casinos quickly blossomed in the Internet age. As cryptocurrency has gained popularity, more and more casinos are turning to Bitcoin to ease entry through their portals.
The online poker industry has met its fair share of challenges. Many countries and jurisdictions see poker and other forms of gambling as a problem, so they either make it completely illegal or heavily tax and regulate all activity.
Most online casinos choose to set up shop in localities where gambling is legal. Just a few years ago, players living in areas where gambling is illegal could easily use the Internet as an easy loophole to play games outside of their legal jurisdiction. As police and government organizations have caught up, playing online poker has become increasingly difficult.
Online Poker Draws Scrutiny
As the Internet has matured, so have the regulations. Not only is it easier to tax goods and services bought online, it is now easier for governments to shut down illegal gambling.As a result, online gaming sites have given in to pressure to block the IP addresses of users from countries where gambling is illegal.
As a result, online gaming sites have given in to pressure to block the IP addresses of users from countries where gambling is illegal.
IP masking and spoofing services are one method gamblers have used in the past to get around these restrictions, but circumventing the law obviously creates new risks.
Different parties make the idea of playing online poker in a region where it is illegal feel very unfavorable: Banks can block gambling institutions from receiving funds. Law enforcement and tax agencies can freeze or confiscate bank accounts belonging to parties who indulge in illegal gambling. Scammers can set up shop with the intent to defraud potential gamers, confident that the wounded parties cannot go to the police for help.
Enter the Age of Bitcoin
The creation of Bitcoin in 2009 would quickly become an attractive tool for online poker and casinos.
Over the past eight years, Bitcoin has grown and crashed in schizophrenic jumps. The technology has disrupted conventions, minted new millionaires, and introduced new layers of online privacy protection… All while giving the consumer a new way to buy pizza, call an Uber, or even upgrade your operating system.
Because Bitcoin is not seen as regulated legal tender, it creates a gray area that at present allows gamers to through the regulatory cracks.
Even if governments declare Bitcoin as legal tender, it will still be extremely difficult to prohibit Bitcoin poker and other cryptocurrency gambling because of the lack of personal information required. This omission of an individual’s name, address, or government ID number would make the law nearly impossible to enforce.
The lack of personal identifiers and bank accounts also gives more flexibility to people who mask their IP addresses. If you live in a country where gambling is not allowed, monies used in gaming are subject to fines and seizure.
Because of the anonymity provided by Bitcoin, IP masking technology can get you in the front door of the online casino and Blockchain based-cryptocurrencies can sneak you out the back door with your winnings intact.
Rules, Regulations, and Legal Complications
Governments may eventually pass legislation recognizing and regulating Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency. Simply passing a law will not make it easy to enforce.
In most cases when someone is caught engaging in illegal activities, the government can go after their bank accounts and assets, and even put them in prison.
Since Bitcoin is not stored in traditional banks, this makes fund confiscation difficult. The lack of personal identifiers required to make Bitcoin transactions creates an investigative hurdle that is not practical to overcome. It will only be worth pursuing the most serious of crimes.
One would think those that those people just playing Bitcoin poker are reasonably safe, even if laws are passed legitimizing and regulating the use of cryptocurrencies.
The Downsides of Bitcoin Poker
Bitcoin is still far from a universal payment standard. As such, it is not yet accepted at most online casinos. You will find that most Bitcoin-friendly casinos were specially-created with that very plan in mind.
Wide fluctuations in what a Bitcoin is worth can make it difficult to keep things straight when it’s time to deposit funds. If the casino exchanges Bitcoins for dollars before giving you chips, one day you may think you’ve bought $100 USD worth of chips only to find it’s now closer to $80 (or hey, maybe $120!).
If you want to play Bitcoin poker, your choice of casinos is limited. However, there are several options that have a large base of patrons and a good reputation (although you should always do your own research to make sure this hasn’t changed), including:
- Black Chip Poker
- Seals With Clubs
- Americas Cardroom
- Bet Online
- Fortune Jack
The bottom line is the casinos want your money, and they will do just about anything to make it easier for you to give it to them. As Bitcoin and Bitcoin alternatives gain wider acceptance and more stability, look for more and more online casinos to add the option to play with Bitcoin.
Who knows, if you’re a card shark, you may just end up ahead?