Cryptocurrency made headlines everywhere in late 2017 and early 2018 when Bitcoin sold for nearly $20,000 each. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be used to pay for a variety of goods and services. One sector that grew along with the rise in popularity of crypto is the gambling industry. Here, we examine why these two became intertwined, and the problems that bitcoin gambling may cause for those who struggle with healthy gambling behaviors.
What Is Cryptocurrency?
For the uninitiated, cryptocurrency may seem confusing. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology — a decentralized, public ledger, essentially. After a transaction is made and verified, it is stored in a “block” and given a unique identifier. It is then added to the “chain” of other blocks, which anyone can view. While there is a unique identifier, these blocks are almost anonymous, since the digital signature contains only the person’s username and no other information.
Why Are Cryptocurrency Casinos Popular?
There are a few reasons why online casinos that accept cryptocurrency like Bitcoin have gained popularity over the years.
Anonymity: One of the main reasons that many people adopt cryptocurrencies is the anonymity that they offer. With the somewhat questionable legality of many online casinos, especially those that accept bitcoins, people may worry less about being caught.
Transaction Fees: Many bitcoin casinos offer zero transaction fees, unlike standard online casinos. Plus, the number of transactions is typically unlimited, while other online casinos have a set limit of transactions per day.
Sense of Trust: Online casinos must prove to gamblers that their operations are fair in order to earn their trust. Cryptocurrency casinos may openly share their algorithms to show how their game works. Since they rely on blockchain technology, which is incredibly difficult to hack or alter, these casinos can prove that their games are fair.
Is Gambling with Bitcoin Legal?
Gambling with cryptocurrency is a somewhat gray area in terms of legality. Cryptocurrency casino sites cannot operate in the US, so they are often based in other countries. While online gambling is legal in NJ, because cryptocurrency is virtually anonymous, it would be difficult to enforce any laws prohibiting gambling via a cryptocurrency casino.
What Additional Problems Do Cryptocurrency Casinos Present for Problem Gamblers?
Problem gamblers may face additional challenges with cryptocurrency casinos compared to other online gambling outlets. Since there is no limit to the number of transactions that they can make, it can be even more difficult to know when to stop. The added anonymity of cryptocurrency may also make it harder for loved ones to notice how much money they are spending on gambling.
CCGNJ Is Always One Phone Call Away
If you or a loved one struggles with cryptocurrency casino gambling or any other form of disordered gambling, CCGNJ has the resources to help. Call or text 800-GAMBLER for support, treatment, and hope.