Ethereum Casino: The Ultimate Guide For 2018 And Beyond
So, you’ve heard all about the Ethereum casino craze and want to find out what all the fuss is about? Or maybe you want to know how best to get started? You’ll be pleased to know that we’ve got everything covered.
By the way – a quick fun fact for you. Did you know that the first ever cryptocurrency casino was called SatoshiDice and during its peak in 2013 it was responsible for more than 50% of all Bitcoin transactional activity!?
Anyway, in our ultimate Ethereum casino guide we are going to cover everything there is to know about gambling at a cryptocurrency casino. First we are going to discuss the issues with traditional fiat casinos and why the industry was in dire need for major disruption.
After that we are then going to explain how Ethereum casino sites solve the identified problems. We are also going to discuss how best to get started. This will include the tools that you will need to begin your Ethereum gambling journey, along with some information on the fundamentals such as deposit and withdrawal methods, free bets and wagering without revealing your identity.
By the end of reading it from start to finish you will have all the information you need to open your first ever cryptocurrency casino account. We’ve listed a set of contents below to make it easier for you – so if there’s anything that you already know, simply skip to the next section.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s start by finding out why the traditional fiat casino sector is being disrupted at an industrial scale!
The early days of online gambling
The gambling industry is one of the oldest recreational activities of the modern world. In fact, it is believed that betting dates all the way back to around 200BC China, whereby evidence suggests that a fully-fledged lottery system was in place.
Moving forward in time, the first land-based casino dates back to approximately 1638 in Italy. As one can imagine, there was nothing legal about it. On the contrary, these so-called gambling dens were run by underworld gangsters.
Nevertheless, throughout the next few hundred years, gambling products evolved quite tremendously. Casinos became regulated, horse racing tracks became mainstream and betting shops popped up in practically every town and city across Europe.
It wasn’t until the mid-1990’s that the world’s first online casino opened its doors. The platform was ultra-basic, but for the first time ever people could gamble on their favorite casino games in the comfort of their own home. However, back in those days, online gambling was a lot different to what it is today.
First and foremost, if you are old enough to remember, internet connectivity wasn’t quite developed back in the 1990’s. The standard set-up was a 56k modem that made a horrendous noise when you attempted to connect. Moreover, households would only have a singular landline, meaning that if you were connected to the internet – nobody could call you.
In terms of visualizations, casino games were as simple as one could be. There were no safeguards in place to protect the player, nor did any of the casinos ask for identification like they are legally bound to today. In fact, the entire industry was a hugely unregulated space with casinos often going bust and taking player funds with them.
The year is now 2018 and things are a lot different for the fiat casino industry. Let’s take a look at the current state of play.
The fiat casino industry – the current state of play
Identifying the player
No matter which fiat casino you use, the entire end-to-end gambling process will remain constant. Upon finding a platform, you will first need to create an account. This will require you to enter a substantial amount of personal information and then submit it to the casino. At an absolute minimum they will ask for the following.
- Full legal name
- Full registered address
- Date of birth
Once you have provided the fiat casino with the above information, you will then have an account opened for you. However, the intrusive measures do not stop there. The platform will then contact you with a request for documentation so that they can verify the information you supplied. This will consist of the following.
- Government issued ID – Passport or driving license
- Proof of address – Bank statement, utility bill or tax statement
- Proof of payment method – Front/back of debit or credit card
Casinos must ask for these details to ensure that they comply with their respective national regulator. Nevertheless, players are expected to go through huge hoops just to spend their own money as they see fit.
It is also important to remember that you will not be able to make a withdrawal until the casino are satisfied that you are who you say you are. The internet is full of customer complaints regarding casinos that demand unreasonable documents prior to them signing off a withdrawal request. This includes notarized copies of ID, selfies and in some cases – demanding that the original documents are posted to the casino.
So now that you know about the vast amounts of personal information you have to contend with, let’s take a look at the issues of trust.
Prior to opening an account at a casino platform, one of the most, if not the most important things to consider is whether or not they can be trusted. This makes perfect sense, especially when you consider that you are going to have to deposit real-world funds in to your account. Once the casino has your money, how you do you know that they are going to act in a legitimate manner? In effect, you don’t.
Imagine playing online blackjack and having no mechanisms in place to guarantee that the gameplay is actually fair. The key issue here is that the casino keeps all of their gameplay data behind centralized servers. This means that there is no way for the general public to audit their random generator. Instead, players must take the casino’s word for it.
This also rings true for cancelled or voided bets. We often hear stories of casinos voiding a winning bet after the outcome has been determined. When you register with a gambling platform you probably agreed to their terms and conditions that allows them to cancel a bet without notice. In a sense, although they are not breaking the law, it is a highly immoral practice.
There is also an issue with the casino holding your personal information on file. If you read the previous section that explained the vast amounts of documentation a casino demands, then you will know that these measures are highly intrusive. But even worse, how do you know that they will not sell this data on to third party marketeers?
Ultimately, there are no safeguards in place to protect players from any of the above potentialities, meaning that an element of trust must exist. This is a high-risk arena to be operating in, especially when you need to deposit your own money.
If you are unfamiliar what what the house-edge is, let us quickly clear things up. Have you ever wondered how a land-based casino can consistently makes profits on an ongoing basis? Surely, if the games on offer were fair, the player would have just as much chance of winning as the casino? Unfortunately, this isn’t quite the case because of the house-edge.
Think about how a European roulette table works. You have 18 red numbers, 18 black numbers and 1 green zero. If you place a bet of $25 on the roulette wheel landing on red, you would be offered odds of 2.0 (Evens). These odds indicate that your chances of winning are 50%. However, what you need to remember is that although there are an equal amount of red numbers as there are black numbers, you also have to factor in the green zero.
Therefore, the true odds of you winning your bet are actually 48.6%. As a result, the odds of the casino winning are higher at 51.4%.
If you subtract your chances of winning from the casino’s, then you have just calculated the house-edge. In the above example, this amounts to 2.8%. Over the course of time, the casino will always have a 2.8% chance of beating the player on roulette. Each individual casino game has their own house-edge, which is always clearly displayed.
However, as gameplay is based on software, the online casino can actually pre-define the house-edge to suit their needs. As costs go up, casinos subsequently increase the house-edge.
The main problem here is that as gambling regulation is becoming more and more stringent, as are the demands on resources. For example, under global anti-money laundering laws, each and every online casino must install a risk department to ensure that crime is kept out of their platform.
All of these costs must be covered within the casino’s business model, which is usually achieved by increasing the house-edge and consequently, lower the player’s chance of walking away a winner.
So now that you know how increased costs affects the casino’s house-edge, let’s take a look at how efficient fiat casinos are when it comes to processing deposits and withdrawals.
Speed and efficiency – deposits and withdrawals
One of the most frustrating aspects to using an online fiat casino is that the end-to-end gaming experience is riddled with red-tape. The key reason for this is with regards to the casino’s involvement with real-world currency. Although it is possible to get instant deposits through a debit or credit card payment, it is the withdrawal process that suffers the most.
Here’s how it normally works.
- The player decides that they would like to withdraw their winnings. As a result, they enter the amount they want to take out and then click on submit.
- At this point, it can sometimes take up to two days before the payment department gets round to looking at the request. During this period the player is lured back in with a ‘Reverse Withdrawal’ option – which puts the funds back in to the player’s casino balance.
- If this is the first time the player has requested a withdrawal, then they will need to submit a range of documents. It can take a couple of days before the casino verifies these documents, sometimes more.
- Once the documents have been verified as authentic, the casino will then release the funds. As the player is using their debit/credit card, it then takes an additional 3-5 working days before the funds are back in their account.
As you can see, the entire process is extremely inefficient. The key question that we would like to ask is – “Why does the casino allow you to deposit funds instantly, but then when it comes to withdrawing your winnings, they make you wait days – if not weeks before you receive the money?”
Unfortunately, we are yet to ascertain the answer, however what we are confident on is the fact that multiple checks must be made prior to the casino releasing the funds, notably because they must adhere to range of anti-money laundering regulations.
So now that we have covered all of the issues currently facing the traditional online casino sector, we are now going to present some solutions that an Ethereum casino provides.
Out with the old – In with the New. How does an Ethereum casino solve these issues?
If you have read our Ethereum casino guide up to this point, then you will now have a firm understanding of the intrusive measures that fiat operators enforce. It is important to remember that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum do not fall under the same classification as real-world money such as U.S. dollars. As a result, crypto casinos are not bound by highly bureaucratic KYC (Know Your Customer) or CDD (Customer Due Diligence) restraints.
Subsequently, when joining an Ethereum casino there is no requirement to provide any personal information. In fact, in most cases all you will need to supply is an email address, which is only requested in the event of a lost password.
Anonymous gameplay does not stop at the registration process, as when depositing with ETH you do not need to provide the casino with any payment information. You simply transfer coins from your external Ethereum wallet and then transfer them directly to your unique casino wallet. This also enhances security as you do not need to enter sensitive details such as a debit or credit card number.
In an even greater move, Ethereum casino operators do not ask for any documentation. The days of having to scan countless documents are over, meaning that you don’t need to upload copies of your passport, driving license or proof of address.
This is also great for protecting the player’s privacy, as when withdrawing funds back to a bank account, the subsequent transaction will appear on a bank statement. In circumstances where a player needs to provide a bank statement as a proof of address (such as a mortgage application), certain institutions might view this in a negative manner.
Unlike the fiat casino industry – which needs the player to trust that the operator is going to play fair, Ethereum casino sites function in a trust-less environment. What this means is that there is an immutable safeguard in place to ensure that everything is above board. This safeguard is called ‘Provably Fair’.
In a nut shell, provably fair is a cryptographic protocol that guarantees that each and every gaming outcome is true to the odds displayed. This is broken down to each individual game, such as one spin of the roulette wheel, or one hand of blackjack.
As the underlying technology is generated by a highly advanced form of mathematics known as cryptography, this gameplay data cannot be predetermined by the casino, nor can they attempt to manipulate the outcome. Furthermore, its immutable characteristics means that it cannot be hacked by external actors who are looking to override the system.
An additional benefit to the provably fair protocol is that all of the gameplay data is available to view by anyone who wants to see it. Not only does this allow players to validate that the provably fair protocol is doing its job, but it provides a gateway for regulators to oversee the casino’s activity.
Regarding regulation, there is often a misconception that cryptocurrency casinos operate in an unregulated circus. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although cryptocurrency casinos are not required to hold a gaming license (unless they have a relationship with fiat currency), some of the most established platforms do.
This creates an extra layer of security for the player as it ensures that the casino is overseen by a comprehensive regulatory body. Ultimately, you should only ever use an Ethereum casino that is in full receipt of a gaming license.
Industry leading house-edges
You might remember how we discussed earlier that due to the ever-growing operating costs of fiat casinos, house-edges are highly unfavorable for the player. These costs are directly correlated to the regulatory burdens that come with KYC and CDD legislation. Moreover, fiat casinos also need to swallow expensive transaction fees that are imposed by debit and credit card issuers. As a result, these costs are subsequently passed on to the player in the form of house-edges.
Nevertheless, as cryptocurrency casinos are not burdened with the aforementioned legislative requirements, their operating costs are significantly lower. In an attempt to lure customers away from their fiat counterparts, Ethereum gambling operators are able to offer ultra-low house-edges on all of their games.
This is highly beneficial for the player, as in the long-term, it guarantees that they have a greater chance of walking away a winner. House-edges are not only important in the casino sector, but also within sports betting platforms too. When you gamble on the outcome of a sporting event, the odds that are displayed are based on the underlying house-edge that the operator is able to offer.
If using an Ethereum sportsbook you will generally find that the available odds are far more competitive than a traditional fiat platform.
When we discussed the issues of speed and inefficiency at fiat casinos, we explained that withdrawals can take days, if not weeks. This is completely unacceptable, not least because the casino is happy to take your funds instantly when you deposit, only to hold you over a barrel when you attempt to collect your winnings.
In our opinion, this is the most attractive aspect to using an Ethereum casino. Here’s why.
Just like in the case of a fiat casino, when the player decides that they want to take their money out they simply request a withdrawal. However, there is no requirement for a manual person to approve it. The vast majority of cryptocurrency casinos operate in an autonomous manner, meaning that as soon as the withdrawal request has been made, the funds are instantly transferred.
Not only does the player avoid having to upload intrusive documents, but they do not have to wait days on end for the casino to authorize the request. After the funds have been automatically distributed, it then depends on the cryptocurrency that you are withdrawing.
If you are using Ethereum, the blockchain takes an average of 16 seconds to confirm a transaction. As a result, you will only have to wait a couple of minutes before your winnings are back safe and sound in your personal wallet.
On a further note, there are never any fees associated with deposits or withdrawals at an Ethereum casino, other than the blockchain transaction fee. However, this is minute is size and is often never more than a few cents.
How to get started at an Ethereum casino
If you have read our guide up to this point you should have a really good idea of the many issues that cryptocurrency casinos and sportsbooks solve. In our opinion, we truly believe that there is no sector on Planet Earth that has been disrupted by cryptocurrencies quite like the online casino industry.
Although it is certainly true that blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize multiple industries, it will take a significant amount of time before we get to see any real change. For example, although Bitcoin could one day replace the global monetary system as we know it, we are still in the very early days of development.
On the contrary, cryptocurrency casinos have been operational for more than five years now, with many operators establishing themselves as a highly reputable gambling platform.
As a result, if you like the idea of what an Ethereum casino can offer, then we are now going to give you some information on how you can get started.
If you are already holding Ethereum, then you can simply move on to the next section! Otherwise, before you begin your Ethereum casino journey, you will need to buy some coins. Fortunately, there are now a good number of established cryptocurrency exchanges that allow you to purchase coins using traditional payment methods such as a debit/credit card or a direct bank transfer.
The easiest way to achieve this is through an exchange broker called Coinbase. The platform is one of the largest exchanges for Ethereum trading and they have a very user-friendly interface – making it perfect for beginners.
Once you have registered an account and bought your Ethereum coins, you then need to transfer them to your personal wallet.
Storing Ethereum in a wallet
Once again, if you already have Ethereum and you have it stored safely in a wallet, you can simply move on to the next section. Otherwise, you will need to obtain one. In a nut shell, a wallet follows the same principles as a bank account. It is a way to securely store your cryptocurrencies and it also allows you to send and receive funds. However, unlike a bank account, wallets are decentralized – meaning that nobody other than the owner of the coins can gain access to it.
To use your personal Ethereum wallet, you will have a private key, which is just like a password. You must make sure that you never give your private key to anybody else, because once they have it they will be able to gain access to your funds.
Nevertheless, if you are looking to store the wallet on your desktop device, we would recommend one of the following three providers – in no particular order. All of them are highly secure and even better – they’re free.
Alternatively, if you want to store your coins on your mobile device, take a look at the follow two providers, both of which are available on Android and iOS.
Once you have installed your Ethereum wallet of choice, you can then proceed to transfer the coins that you recently purchased.
How to choose an Ethereum casino
This section is of utmost importance, not least because the Ethereum casino industry can often seem like the Wild West. As the industry has become more and more popular, naturally more and more operators have opened their doors. Although consumer choice is always a good thing, it can make it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
To help you along the way, we have narrowed down hundreds of Ethereum casino platforms down to just five. We provide an independent review on each of the casinos that we recommend, which you can access by scrolling up to the top of this page.
However, to give you an idea as to how we rate the casinos that we list on our site, here are some of the most important things that you should look out for when choosing a gambling platform for the first time.
First and foremost, you should only ever choose a crypto casino that is in full receipt of a gaming license. The interesting thing is that although casinos that specialize purely in cryptocurrencies do not need to be regulated, some have decided to do so anyway. This is always a great sign, as it indicates that the operator is looking to do everything by the book.
Most commonly, the jurisdiction of Curacao will issue licenses to Ethereum casino platforms, as they are an ultra-crypto friendly nation. Curacao is actually looking to compete with the likes of the UK Gambling Commission and Malta’s Gaming Board, who currently dominate the fiat side of the industry. By choosing an Ethereum casino that holds a gaming license, you will be afforded with a range of safeguards that non-regulated operators cannot offer.
The second thing that you should always look out for when choosing a crypto casino is whether or not their games are protected by provably fair. As we mentioned earlier, the provably fair protocol guarantees that each and every gaming outcome is true and fair, with all of the underlying data available for external audit. If you choose a casino that uses provably fair, you can be 100% sure that each gaming outcome is immune from malpractice.
As the crypto casino space has become more and more crowded, operators are looking to find new ways to entice players to their platform. One of the most commonly used tactics is to offer those who are yet to join the platform a range of lucrative free bets. Not only does this give the player the chance to increase their bankroll, but it also allows them to test out the casino prior to making a long-term commitment.
As of 2018, some of the welcome packages on offer now run in to the thousands of dollars. The way it works is upon registering an account, the casino will match your first (and sometimes additional) deposit up to a certain amount. For example, if the casino is offering a 100% matched bonus up to 1 ETH, then by depositing 1 ETH the casino will match it like-for-like. As a result, your starting balance would be 2 ETH, even though you only deposited 1 ETH.
Although an offer such as the above might sound too good to be true, this is exactly how the crypto casino industry operates. Platforms understand that they might well make a loss from the promotion, but they hope that once the player has tested out their range of games they will remain with the casino long-term.
A further sign up bonus that is often awarded to a player upon opening an account is a quantity of free spins. This particular promotion can be offered in two different ways. In most cases, in return for making a minimum deposit, the casino will award the player with some free slot machine spins.
On the other hand, some Ethereum casino websites also offer a no deposit free spins bonus. This means that once you have opened your account, the casino will give you a range of free spins without you needing to deposit any money. Although this type of promotion is rarer, two of the casinos that we recommend do offer it.
Without a shadow of a doubt, you should also attempt to maximum the free bet promotions that are offered by crypto casinos. They are an excellent way to boost your gambling bankroll and more importantly – they’re free!
What criteria do we use when we review an Ethereum casino?
Although it’s great that you have a ready-made platform that has done all the hard work for you, you are probably wondering what the casino needs to do to make our cut. We have already discussed the importance of choosing a regulated Ethereum casino that utilizes the provably fair protocol on all of their games, however we also look at other specificities too.
Let’s not forget that the whole point of joining a crypto casino is to play your favorite game! Whilst some casinos have a huge range of games, others don’t. At a minimum we tend to only include platforms that have a good selection of table games such as roulette, blackjack and baccarat, as well as a live dealer section.
We also recognize how popular slots are, so we ensure that the casino has a substantial range available. This will of course cover 3 and 5 reel slots, bonus feature slots and progressive jackpots.
Moreover, we also prefer to list gambling platforms that cover other areas such as sports betting, poker rooms and lotteries.
Although we personally prefer Ethereum, other players may well prefer to use a different cryptocurrency. As a result, we tend to select operators that support a variety of different coins. We recognize that Bitcoin – being the most popular cryptocurrency of choice, is often desired as a payment method, so we ensure that at an absolute minimum BTC is supported.
One particular aspect that often gets overlooked is the level of customer support available at a casino. Although we hope that your gaming experience is positive, there will always be the odd occasion where support is required. This could be to check the house-edge of a table game or to enquire about the status of a withdrawal request.
Either way, when you need assistance you want to be sure that there is always going to be somewhere to turn. We always strive to select Ethereum casino operators that have a good reputation for customer care. Although we test out the customer service options ourselves, it is always good to ascertain what the general consensus is.
Our preferred method of customer support is the availability of a live chat facility. This is where you talk to a live agent though a text box. When casinos offer this, in most cases it is 24/7.
Other angles that we consider are email and telephone support, although the latter is quite rare in the crypto casino industry. Moreover, certain platforms also have a social media presence, which is great for keeping up-to-date with any developments.
Prior to finalizing our guide, we thought we would also provide a comprehensive frequently asked question list. If there is something you still don’t understand, you’ll be sure to find the answer below!
Is Ethereum gambling legal?
So now that you’ve read through all of the disadvantages of using a fiat casino, and all of the many solutions that crypto casinos provide, you might be wondering if all of this is legal. In a nut shell, it certainly is.
The reason that crypto casinos are able to bypass KYC and CDD regulations is that they have no relationship with real-world money. Global anti-money laundering regulations are highly stringent when it comes to identifying players, but once again – legislation is only concerned with fiat money.
There is clear distinction between the two asset types, which gives cryptocurrency operators a level of freedom that their fiat counterparts cannot match.
What is the best cryptocurrency to gamble with?
We believe that the best cryptocurrency to gamble with is Ethereum, purely because transactional times are ultra-fast at 16 seconds and fees are minimal. Moreover, we believe that the future of the crypto casino industry will eventually move over to smart contract technology, which will most probably make full use of the Ethereum blockchain.
Nevertheless, in reality – whichever cryptocurrency you decide to gamble with, you will still get all of the advantages that we have identified in this guide. Whether its Bitcoin, Ripple, or even Doge – the benefits of gambling with cryptocurrencies are endless.
Why is it important to choose a crypto casino that is regulated
Although online casinos that only accept cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals do not need to be regulated, some actually are. There are a number benefits that this brings to the player, as the casino is operating with a regulatory oversight.
Gambling licence issuers perform scheduled and unscheduled checks on the operators they regulate, which can include anything from auditing the provably fair gameplay data or ensuring that player funds are held in a separate account to the casino’s working capital.
Ultimately, the purpose of a national regulator is to ensure that suitable player safeguards are installed and that consumer rights are protected.
How do I contact a crypto casino if I have an issue?
Crypto casinos recognize that their customer base comes from a global audience, which is why the vast majority of operators install a live chat facility. This allows the player – no matter where they are from, to receive assistance 24 hours a day.
In most cases you will not have to wait more than a few seconds before you are connected to a real-world agent, which is far better than having to wait for an email reply. English will always be the default language, however some Ethereum casino websites offer their services in multiple languages.
When it comes to phone support, this is an absolute rarity in the crypto casino space, however in our opinion, live chat is just as good, if not better.
Do Ethereum casino sites have any jackpot slots?
They certainly do! In fact, the online crypto-slot space has grown so quickly that there are now jackpot prizes running in to the millions of dollars! The system works in a progressive manner, meaning that as more and more people play the game, the jackpot increases in size. When somebody is fortunate enough to win the jackpot, the prize pot reverts back down.
It is important to remember that although large amounts of money are involved, the entire crypto casino space is transparent. This means that each and every spin of the slot machine is protected by a provably fair protocol and all jackpot wins can be verified by other players.
Are cryptocurrency withdrawals really instant?
When operators claim that they offer instant withdrawals, it’s as instant as one can be. On the side of the casino, as soon as the player requests a withdrawal, the platform automatically releases the payment. In this sense, the transaction is instant because the casino has done their job by authorizing the payment.
After that, you are then at the mercy of the blockchain. However, the longest amount of time that you should have to wait before the funds arrive in your personal wallet is about 10 minutes. This would be the case if you were withdrawing Bitcoin, as this is the amount of time it takes for the network to confirm a transaction.
Other cryptocurrencies are much faster, such as Ethereum – which has an average confirmation time of just 16 seconds.
Can I play at an Ethereum casino using my mobile?
In most cases, crypto casinos optimize their games so that they are available to play on a mobile web browser and this usually covers Android, iOS and sometimes Windows. When you access the platform from your mobile phone, the casino will automatically recognize the device time, meaning that your gaming experience will not be affected.
Certain Ethereum casino platforms go one step further by launching a dedicated mobile app. However, it is important that you make sure that the app is officially endorsed by the casino, as we have come across unofficial versions.
Are there any no deposit bonuses available at an Ethereum casino?
No deposit bonuses are quite rare at Ethereum casino platforms, because operators prefer to offer long-term advantages such as reduced house-edges. However, there are a couple of platforms currently offering such a bonus in the form of free spins. All you need to do to claim the bonus is create a new account, providing you haven’t previously registered. After that, you are free to use your free spins as you see fit.