Gambling is one of the most lucrative industries in the world and it is, therefore, not surprising that gambling using the cryptocurrency bitcoin is also becoming increasingly popular. In the last few years, a wide range of online bitcoin casinos have opened their doors to enable users to gamble using bitcoin. Bitcoin casinos allow their users to deposit and withdraw money at a low cost whilst remaining anonymous, which is especially useful for gamblers who are located in countries where online gambling is frowned upon or heavily regulated.
“Today, over $1 million US dollars worth of bitcoin are being wagered every day across online bitcoin casinos.” – The Bitcoin Strip
As the popularity of bitcoin as a payment method for online gambling increases, so does the profitability of bitcoin casinos. That begs the question “are bitcoin casinos a good investment?”
Now, you may ask yourself “how can I invest in bitcoin casinos?” The answer is simple: bitcoin gambling Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)
An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is an innovative way to raise funds for a new cryptocurrency project by distributing a percentage of the initial coin supply among early-stage investors. Most ICOs work in a similar manner as an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the stock market. With an IPO, you as the investor, receive a percentage share of the company that you invest your money in once it floats on the stock exchange. In an ICO, you receive a share of the initial coin supply, which then gets publicly traded on cryptocurrency exchanges once it officially launches. And much like when investing in the shares of a company, the value of the new coin linked to the cryptocurrency project will increase as the project performs well and, therefore, gains in value.
ICO’s have become a popular investment class for return-hungry investors as ICOs can often double or triple in price within the first few days of trading. On the other hand, some new coins that are released through ICOs can turn out to become near worthless within a matter of days, weeks or months after their launch. And in a few unfortunate cases, some ICOs have turned out to be outright scams – hence, investing in ICOs is a considerably high risk/high return game that needs to be handled with caution.
“Aside from some of the major players, a large proportion of online bitcoin gambling sites operate under little or no regulation. Investing in a such a scheme requires a great deal of due diligence, but as we have seen with Bitcoin in general, the opportunity to generate a huge ROI is certainly out there.” – Andreas Russell, BigcoinGambling.com
Bitcoin Gambling ICOs
This brings us to a new subsector within the ICO space: bitcoin gambling ICOs. In the last few months, several bitcoin gambling ICOs have been announced, including vDice, BetBase, BetKing and Etheroll. Let’s look at each in more detail.
vDice is the world’s first fully decentralised gambling game built on the Ethereum blockchain. On November 15th, its ICO was launched and it runs until December 15th. vDice has been live since June 2016 and has cemented itself as a popular cryptocurrency gambling game.
The vDice token, which will be sold during the ICO, is called ‘vSlice’ and will distribute profits of the vDice game to token holders, according to vDice’s press release. You can trade these tokens on an exchange immediately or keep them to receive a share of the company’s profits. vDice is looking to issue 96,000,000 tokens during its ICO and has been developed by a range of industry experts.
Another gambling ICO that has recently been launched is that of BetBase. According to its website, BetBase is a platform offering anyone a chance to start his or her own online bitcoin casino for no costs and without any coding required. BetBase provides an API, a shared bankroll, a provably fair mechanism, and more. Every bet placed against their servers is processed using their own bankroll so you the casino owner gets paid for each bet made, no matter if the customer wins or loses the bet. For every bet placed you get paid 50% the house edge of the bet.
Its ICO started on November 27th, 2016 and will continue until December 18th, 2016. BetBase is looking to issue 100,000,000 shares, which will be split 60% to ICO investors, 10% for bounties and 30% to the owners. The money raised will be used to bolster BetBase’s bankroll and to further develop its platform. Despite a promising sounding ICO, when scrolling through their sales page and their bitcointalk.org ICO thread, there are (as is not uncommon with ICOs) some concerns about its legitimacy as there is no real information about the company owner, only a pseudonym used in a bitcoin forum. In my eyes, this omission is a red flag that needs to be closely monitored before making an investment. Especially given the already risky nature of ICOs.
Another bitcoin gambling ICO that has recently been launched is the ICO of BetKing. BetKing is a bitcoin dice platform. Since the launch in April 2013, BetKing has grown into one of the most popular bitcoin dice games with over 397,000 bitcoin wagered and earnings of over 7200 bitcoin profit according to the BetKing website.
The BetKing ICO crowdsale began on December 1st 2016 and closes on January 1st, 2017. The BetKing team plans to raise investment so they can develop more products including casino games such as blackjack, slots, and roulette. Also, the funds are set to go towards developing a sports betting platform and poker room as well as a host of other gambling related products and services. BetKing plans to create 100,000,000 tokens to represent 100% shares of BetKing, of which 30% will be distributed to investors at the end of the ICO while the remaining 70% will remain in the ownership of Betking. After the ICO is over, dividends will be paid as a share of the total profit generated by BetKing in bitcoin every 3 months. To buy shares during the ICO period you need to sign up or log in to BetKing and deposit the bitcoin you wish to invest, or use the existing balance you have on your BetKing account.
Etheroll is an Ethereum smart contract platform for playing a dice game using Ether with no deposits. Etheroll is a good example of an ICO that was announced but never actually completed. In June 2016, Etheroll announced their ICO that would let investors receive a share of Etheroll’s profits. However, on June 18th the founder of Etheroll announced that the ICO will not be completed due to the DAO hack that has flagged up security flaws in the Ethereum network so all of the invested Ether was returned to the investors according to the company’s blog.
Investing in ICOs is always a high risk/high return game
Remember, when you are investing in ICOs, gambling-related or otherwise, you are putting money in an entirely unregulated sector that carries a high level of risk. That is why it is important to only ever invest an amount you can afford to lose and to always conduct thorough research before investing in any ICO to reduce the chances of you losing your money.
Having said that, if you are a gambling expert and can tell the difference between a good gambling provider and a bad one, then picking the right bitcoin gambling ICOs could generate a very nice return on your investment.