Bitcoin Gambling: A New South Korean Website Seeks Asian Customers
Jun 15, 2014
As virtual currency keeps gaining in popularity, the list of online casinos using bitcoin is getting longer and longer.
With a large number of gamblers eager to spend their money playing casino games, the Asian market has a huge potential. The only trouble is online and mobile casinos are not only illegal, but also blocked in several Asian countries, where laws tend to be very restrictive and authorities impose harsh punishments on anyone who dares to break them.
Satoshinori, a company operating from South Korea, is hoping to draw a big chunk of those gambling-thirsty Asian customers. Virtual currency is often used to dodge anti-gambling laws by avoiding traditional payment processing and Satoshinori is the latest addition to the list of online casinos using bitcoins. The website is available in Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and English.
For now, the website doesn’t offer online blackjack, but it does have a variety of multi-players games, including Seven Card Poker, Texas Hold-em and Matgo. Some of them can only be played via Windows Explorer.
Testing the market
The South Korean website went live in May and is currently in beta testing. Players are welcome to participate and communicate their observations to the casino staff, via email. The team did not set a date for the full launch yet. An announcement published on the site says: “We will officially open when we finish the beta service.”
The bitcoin casino was created by a leading Korean game publisher and aims to offer its customers fair games, low fees and security.
“All customers’ deposited bitcoins are stored securely with the safest and most qualified methods. Also, world renowned web engineers are participating to protect this site from hackings and DDOS cyber attacks,” the site specifies.
In order to better protect player identity, the addresses used for bitcoin transactions change every time a user makes a deposit or withdraws money. For players getting bitcoins for the first time, the website also provides a list of exchanges available in a wide range of currencies.
Protecting player anonymity
Bitcoin provides a relative anonymity and is very easy to set up, so it’s not difficult to understand why more and more online operators are using it. The popular currency is also perfect for gambling sites, allowing smooth transactions at any time of the day and night, from anywhere in the world.
As for Satoshinori, the website is trying to offer players an alternative to internet gambling sites using traditional currency. Representatives of the South Korean company said the legal online casino market in the region is worth $12.7 billion. On top of that, the illegal market is worth three times more. The majority of Satoshinori’s potential customers live in Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and Taiwan and the company hopes to attract bitcoin-users.
But is it legal?
When it comes to gambling with virtual currency, the biggest concern is the legality of the whole thing. Several Asian states – such as China or most American states – forbid playing online casino games for money. But the trick is… bitcoin is not real money; it’s virtual currency. It’s a completely unregulated market, because most states don’t even recognize it as a currency.
There are no clear regulations regarding the use of digital money and some see this as a great opportunity to get around the law. Simply put, it’s up to bitcoin casinos to decide whether they block players from certain countries, just as it is up to players to decide if they want to risk it.
Online players accessing bitcoin gambling sites have a few advantages. The games available on these websites usually have a lower house edge, which means that the site takes a lower cut of players’ winnings, compared to a regular casino. They also offer faster transactions and a decent level of user confidentiality.
In any case, bitcoin is a revolutionary invention designed to break down international boundaries. And it’s proving to be a success.