BitCoin (or Bit Coin, not really sure what the correct verson is) is something that seems to drop in and out of the press, normally in relation to a wild swing in it's value, but has been fairly quiet of late.
With the impact of changes to point of consumption taxation and regulation having an impact on the sites available to bet with, it seems a good time to revisit the idea of betting with BitCoin.
On the face of it BitCoin could be the future for advantage players.
Instant deposit and withdrawal, large wagers, global user bases, BitCoin ticks a lot of boxes for someone wanting to place a sports bet. There is also the massive benefit of anonymity. If a site asks for no identification or verification then, provided the site isn't in some way blocked from your jurisdiction, you can place your bets without recourse from the Gambling Commission or the tax man.
This is probably a good time to say that I'm not suggesting companies should be allowed to skip around taxation rules, but if there are rules it should be the same for everyone. The point of consumption rules coming in this year are specifically targetting bookmakers and casinos. Google, Facebook and Amazon are, for the time being, going to be able to carry on with their tax avoidance business models.
Is BetCoin a suitable solution to betting now?
This is a harder question to answer. None of the traditional sites have taken on BitCoin yet (Vera & John tried, but were scuppered by regulation) for the simple reason that they cannot verify where the funds have come from. That leaves them open to money laundering issues and they can't take those sort of risks.
There are sites, more reputable than the ones available even 6 months ago, that will let you place sportsbook and casino bets with your hard mined BitCoin. Some even have sign up bonuses.
For more information you can read up on BitCoin Sports Betting and BitCoin Casino Betting. The general thrust is that there are risks inherent in using a site that doesn't follow the traditional regulator guidelines, but then we've seen recently that being regulated is no guarantee of client fund safety (BetButler, Bodugi and Canbet we're looking at you).
As deposits and withdrawals are both instant and free from charges, there's no need to keep large amounts on deposit with any books or casinos, so you can upload funds as and when required which will certainly reduce the risk.
Where can I bet with BitCoin?
Two sites are coming out on top with reviewers, CloudBet and NItrogen (also known as Nitro). Both offer traditional sportsbook bets on the major football, soccer, NFL, NHL and baseball markets, along with the normal suite of casino games.
Is there a BitCoin bookmaker exchange?
Nitrogen are working on an exchange, but there's very little liquidity at the moment. Unless one of the major players like BetFair decide, or even can, enter this market though, Nitro will almost certainly become the best so set up an account now and keep tabs on it's progress.
How do I start betting with BitCoin?
You need to get some BitCoins, and in order to do this you'll need a wallet to store them in. Think of the wallet as like Skrill and you're not far from the mark. The wallet provides a secure location for the storage of your BitCoins and it's also where you'll send the BitCoin from to deposit at sportsbooks and casinos.
There are a number of available wallets, Coinbase is recommended by Expedia and a number of other big blue chips so that's good enough for us. Plus sign up and get $5 of free BitCoin when you make your first $100 transaction (a fraction of a BitCoin).
Sign up to Coinbase now, and you can then purchase BitCoin using regular payment methods.