Sports betting has been popular for centuries, and digital technologies have transformed it into a vast, global industry.
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While most wagers are still placed in fiat currencies, the crypto movement has been a disruptive force in recent years. Let’s look at what impact Bitcoin and its alternatives have had on sports betting, and where this might lead in the future.
A primer on cryptocurrencies
Understanding the basics of Bitcoin is helpful to truly appreciate how it has influenced sports betting as a segment.
It’s essentially a decentralized, digital currency built on the blockchain, a virtual ledger which is a technology that has applications in all sorts of other areas.
Crypto emerged as a way for users to escape traditional financial systems, but since its inception it has very much moved into the mainstream, as an investment proposition as much as anything else.
The changing sports betting scene
Since sports betting was legalized in the US in 2018, $125 billion has been plowed into wagers by players in states where it is licensed and regulated, including New Jersey.
This in turn brought about an explosion in online betting sites, meaning that bricks and mortar bookmakers were no longer necessary. The global pandemic further catalyzed interest in online casinos and betting services, leading to explosive growth.
How crypto entered the equation
Sites offering crypto betting have been around for longer than sports betting has been legitimate in the US.
This is partly because the deregulated nature of crypto means that anyone can set up a service offering gambling using it without fear of regulator repercussions. It’s also down to the fact that gambling is indeed legal and encouraged in other parts of the world, hence the prevalence of overseas operators already targeting players in America and further afield.
There are two examples of crypto betting sites; those that allow you to wager in crypto, and those that only allow deposits and withdrawals in crypto.
The sites that only accept Bitcoin for transactions are known as hybrid casinos, and you’ll be gambling in fiat currency for the purposes of sports betting. Those operators that are all-in on crypto are perhaps more suited to fans of BTC and ETH, since there’s more conspicuous support for the coins you know and love.
A word of warning
It’s important to note that not all crypto sports betting services are quite what they seem, and so it’s important to choose reputable, regulated sites rather than opting for the first one you stumble across at the start of your search.
Because crypto isn’t protected by the same regulations as traditional payment methods, if you send your coins to a shady operator, or you get the wallet address wrong when depositing or withdrawing, you’ll be in hot water.
The benefits of crypto sports betting
There are many upsides to gambling with crypto on high-quality sports betting and casino services, the first of which is that you’ll be able to enjoy anonymity.
Furthermore, depositing and withdrawing coins should be speedy, rather than suffering from a delay of up to several days, as is the case with standard casinos.
Betting limits also tend to be higher on crypto casinos, and if you’re happy to take risk and also don’t mind the volatility of the crypto market as a whole, it’s a compelling prospect.
Support for crypto is gaining traction in the mainstream, and more and more businesses are accepting payments in Bitcoin and other currencies by the week.
It seems safe to assume that someday soon, all but the most backwards-looking sports betting sites and operators will have crypto capabilities baked into their services.