If you’re yet to experience the thrills and spills of Ethereum gambling sites, then you’re missing out. In a nutshell, the phenomenon now offers everyday punters a range of benefits that traditional fiat casinos simply cannot rival. This includes everything from anonymous accounts, a complete alleviation of red-tape – especially with regards to uploading sensitive ID documents, reduced house-edges, and crucially – instant withdrawals.
As great as this sounds, Ethereum gambling sites are yet to get anywhere near their fiat casino counterparts in terms of player throughput. On the contrary – and although the numbers are growing year-on-year, large waves of players are yet to be convinced about the credentials of Ethereum casinos. With that being said, we decided to explore this sentiment further with the view of ascertaining why Ethereum gambling is yet to reach the heights of traditional casinos.
“What is Ethereum?”
Don’t worry – the purpose of this section isn’t to teach you to suck eggs as to what Ethereum is. Instead, we are referring to the common response from age-old casino players when asked about the possibility of making the transition from a fiat casino over to that of an Ethereum gambling site. In other words, seasoned gamblers that have been active in the online casino space for years on end will know how to wager in one way, and one way only – traditional fiat currency.
As such, a lot of players are still unaware of what Ethereum is – or any cryptocurrency for that matter. As a result, until the wider masses are educated on the many benefits that Ethereum and its underlying blockchain offers to society, it will be some time before we see seasoned gamblers make the transition.
Deposits and withdrawals
The second barrier that is hindering the growth of the Ethereum gambling arena is that of payments. Age-old players will be used to depositing and withdrawing funds with conventional payment methods – such as a debit/credit card, bank transfer, or in some cases – an e-wallet like PayPal or Skrill. However, when it comes to depositing funds with a cryptocurrency like Ethereum, those with little understanding of how the process works will likely stay away.
This is somewhat disappointing, not least because Ethereum casinos offer something that fiat casinos will never be able to offer – instant withdrawals. In a nutshell, as soon as players make a withdrawal request, the Ethereum gambling site will proceed to transfer the funds to your private wallet. This means that you will likely receive the funds within a few minutes.
This is in stark contrast to the fiat casino space, which can take days on end. When you factor in the delays of uploading documents and debit/credit card settlement times, this further increases the time it takes for players to receive their winnings.
On top of feeling intimidated by the process of depositing and withdrawing funds with Ethereum, players might also be put off by the fact that most crypto-centric sites operate in an unregulated manner. On the contrary, online gambling sites that deal with fiat currencies must be regulated by at least one gaming body. This covers the likes of the UK’s Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority.
However, such regulatory safeguards do not exist in the Ethereum casino space, not least because operators that deal with cryptocurrency – and only cryptocurrency, are not required to hold a gaming licence. Often unbeknown to those that are yet to experience an Ethereum casino – this is actually a good thing for players. The reason for this is that a reduction in regulatory red-tape means that crypto-centric operators can offer anonymous accounts and burden-free, instant withdrawals.
On the flip side, a lack of regulation in the Ethereum casino arena means that players are often put off. We would argue that building a trusted customer base over a long period of time is much more of a valid indicator as to the casino’s credentials, not least because tones of ‘regulated’ operators have failed in the past. This is no different to how the likes of Binance and Bittrex operate – two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges that until recently, grew their customer base purely on trust.
Understanding bet sizes
A further factor that might hinder the growth of the Ethereum gambling space in quick-fashion is that of understanding bet sizes. By this, we mean that Ethereum casinos will sometimes present stake sizes in ETH, as opposed to more understood currencies like the US dollar. For example, a player is going to feel much more comfortable playing blackjack at $100 per hand, as opposed to seeing their stakes displayed as ‘0.25 ETH’.
However, the good news is that Ethereum gambling sites have since acknowledged these concerns, meaning that leading platforms will now display all player stakes in US dollars. This ensures that players know exactly how much they are staking, winning, and most importantly – losing.
Lack of awareness on enhanced house-edges
If you have read our opinion piece up to this point, then you’ll now know that Ethereum gambling sites are able to operate in a significantly less bureaucratic manner in comparison to their fiat currency counterparts. Crucially, this means that crypto-centric casinos have much less of a financial burden with respect to regulatory demands on anti-money laundering operators, payment verification departments, and fraud teams.
As such, Ethereum casinos will often pass these financial savings on to the player in the form of a reduced house-edge. This makes sense, especially when you consider the fact that Ethereum gambling sites are looking to promote a new form of online wagering to age-old players that are yet to be convinced.
However, as great as reduced house-edges are for long-term viability, seasoned online gamblers are still unaware that such a phenomenon exists. This once again highlights the ongoing roadblock that until the masses are educated on what Ethereum casinos are, how they work, and most importantly – how they benefit players, growth will remain stagnant.
Fluctuations on account balances and withdrawals
On the one hand, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are nowhere near as volatile as they once were. In a time not so long ago, it was not be uncommon to see major cryptocurrencies go up or down in value by more than 20% – each and every day. Although the industry recently experienced a 27% Bitcoin price movement in just a 24 hour period, such an occurrence is significantly less common these days. However, there is still no getting away from the fact that cryptocurrencies are still super-volatile in comparison to fiat currencies such as the US dollar.
For example, while the USD/GBP currency pairing will rarely move more than a couple of fractional percentage points at the close of trading, this isn’t the case with cryptocurrencies, which typically gain or lose value by 1-3% per day. With that being said, this can have a direct impact on your Ethereum gambling endeavours.
This means that were you to make an account withdrawal at an amount slightly higher than what you deposited, you might still walk away with less than what you started with in USD-terms. For most players, this isn’t an issue, especially if they keep a balance of Ethereum in their private wallet anyway. Moreover, the pricing fluctuations can also go in your favour, so this should be taken into account, too.
However, the key point here is that seasoned players that are used to gambling with fiat currencies have never needed to take fluctuations into account before. Once again, this is something that age-old players will need to get their head around before they take the plunge with Ethereum gambling sites.
The gaming suite
There is a clear disparity in the extensiveness of the gaming suites offered Ethereum gambling sites. On the one hand, you have platforms such as FortuneJack and 1xBit that now rival that of the fiat casino space, insofar that they host thousands of casino games that are typically backed by leading software providers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. This covers everything from slots, progressive jackpots, table games, live dealers, sports betting, and more.
However, most platforms do not come with such comprehensive gaming suites. On the contrary, some Ethereum gambling sites are nothing more than skin and bones, with operators choosing to specialize in a particular gambling niche. This could be anything from a dedicated Ethereum dice game, to a platform that only hosts blackjack. Moreover, these niche Ethereum casinos will usually design their own games internally, as opposed to using trusted (and regulated) software providers that players know.
This then leads to further issues, as niche Ethereum gambling sites will not have the same resources in comparison to the likes of Microgaming and NetEnt. As such, the end-to-end gaming experience is potentially less innovative. Ultimately, if the Ethereum gambling arena is to attract new players by the mases, then they must ensure that the gaming suite is on par – if not better than that of the fiat currency segment.
The bottom line about Ethereum Gambling?
In summary, although Ethereum gambling sites offer a vast number of benefits – such as instant deposits and withdrawals, anonymous accounts, and enhanced house-edges – the industry is still minute in comparison to the traditional fiat casino arena.
As such, operators have a long way to go to convince age-old players that Ethereum casinos are the way forward. This can only happen in the form of education, insofar that players must be educated on the benefits of making the transition from a traditional casino site, over to that of an Ethereum gambling platform.