Gambling on the internet is a pastime that is enjoyed by more people than ever in their spare time. That applies to the US and also to much of the rest of the world.
This fact is firmly underlined by the current global worth of the combined online gambling industry. Valued at $63.5 billion by the end of last year, that valuation is expected to rise a further 11.7% between now and 2030.
All of the different segments of the industry, from online casinos to bingo gaming and sports betting, have their dedicated fans. Furthermore, the various parts of it are proving adept at absorbing other trends within society, such as the rising interest in cryptocurrencies.
Online Gambling Growth
The growth in online gambling is being fueled by different things. Among these are: the rising interest in online pastimes among younger people, the greater convenience it offers and the choice of games.
That last one is important, as the games appeal to different people. Whereas casino games like poker have a predominantly male audience, the majority of those playing bingo on the internet are women. The ability to reach multiple demographics has helped the online gambling industry achieve ever greater market penetration.
There are a variety of gambling providers available online to suit everyone, for those looking for online casino games can head to casino providers, those who are looking to play online bingo can find a range of bingo sites and those wishing to place a sports bet can head to a sportsbook.
One knock-on effect of the rise in gambling online is that more financial transactions must also be carried out digitally. That ties the industry in with the emergent cryptocurrency one and crypto payments are already being permitted at some online gambling sites.
There are both plus and minus points to that development though. It is worth looking at each in a bit more detail, as crypto seems set to become more widely adopted within the industry over the next few years.
One of the biggest arguments in favor of people being able to use cryptocurrencies when gambling online is that they provide total data security. A transaction involving crypto cannot be changed or reversed, with a record of them stored on a decentralized public ledger.
That makes both fraud and hacking virtually impossible and beats even the most cutting edge SSL encryption software used by gambling providers to secure traditional currency transactions.
Crypto transactions can be carried out in complete anonymity. Not only do the users of gambling sites not have to provide their real identities for them to be authorized, they also do not need to supply any financial data such as bank account numbers.
It is not hard to see how that can protect them against data or identity theft and the casino sites against liability for such cyber crimes.
A third plus point is that cryptocurrency transactions are usually completed much more quickly than ones involving standard currencies. Whether it is depositing crypto coins into an online casino or sports betting account to gamble with or receiving any winnings, the transfer is usually more or less instant.
Even the top gambling sites will typically need a couple of days to process normal currency transactions.
One of the main arguments against crypto is that the market is extremely volatile and the value of currencies can go up or down very suddenly. That means someone could win a sizeable sum of money by gambling online and receive the winnings in a chosen cryptocurrency only to find that a shift in the market means it is practically worthless.
In essence, there are really two gambles involved in betting using crypto.
The cryptocurrency market does not have any national or transnational body overseeing it. That is a big part of the appeal of it for many enthusiasts, but it does also mean that there is no one to turn to if something goes wrong.
Some of the emerging gambling sites that deal only in crypto are properly regulated and licensed by gambling industry authorities, but others are not. No financial institution regulates cryptocurrency transactions either.
There is an overall lack of real accountability that might make more cautious players wary of taking a chance.
The best way to avoid being burned due to that absence of financial industry regulation is to stick with the most well-established casinos, bingo and sports betting sites. However, the problem is that those sites are still less likely on average to accept crypto payments than the newer ones.
A lack of reputable places to gamble online using crypto coins is a distinct minus point. It is likely to change as the currencies enter the mainstream, but that is something for the future rather than right now.
Choosing to gamble online using cryptocurrencies instead of traditional ones can bring genuine rewards but also carries very real risks. For most people the dangers will be too high, but gamblers are people who thrive on risk.