Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
VPNs are an essential tool for anyone looking to remain private online. By using a VPN, users are able to hide their IP address and keep their location secret from prying eyes.
Many casinos will manage access logs that contain a history of IP addresses which visited the website. It is often up to the user to trust that the casino rotates and deletes their logs on a regular basis, ensuring that IP data is not compromised. IP addresses can be looked up online to find the location from which that user is connecting (country, city, town), however each IP address is also associated with an ISP, which opens up questions about privacy and the security of the ISP’s data.
For complete peace of mind, a privacy-conscious casino player would opt to use a VPN. VPNs provide an additional layer of security (encrypted data) but they also mask IP addresses and user locations. By using a VPN, a casino player is able to hide their location as well as protect from “packet sniffers”.
Private Bitcoin Payments
When making a Bitcoin payment, the sender, receiver, transaction amount and timestamp are all publicly visible to anyone in the world. While there are no personal details sent with each payment, this data can be used to build up a picture about a user. Using this data, blockchain analytics firms are often able to identify specific individuals or associates by corroborating both onchain and offchain data. Without getting into the detail, this effectively means that Bitcoin payments are not private by default.
For a user wishing to send a truly private Bitcoin deposit to a casino, some extra steps need to be taken.
The use of Bitcoin mixers has been shrouded in controversy and has been linked to the dark web and money laundering. While Bitcoin mixers provide complete anonymity when sending a BTC transaction, they may – depending on the user’s jurisdiction – also implicate the user in criminal activity. There are a number of Bitcoin mixers and wallet mixers that allow users to take advantage of this enormous level of privacy:
- Samourai Wallet
- Wasabi Wallet
When using a normal Bitcoin wallet it is still possibly to gain a significant level of privacy by following a simple rule of never using an address more than once. By using a wallet’s address one time and never again, it makes it extremely challenging for an analyst to read more into the behaviour of the sender or receiver. Nearly all Bitcoin wallets will provide access to an unlimited number of addresses tied to that wallet’s private key, so creating a new address for each transaction should require very little effort.
Use An Anonymous Cryptocurrency
For the reasons above, Bitcoin is better described as a pseudonymous cryptocurrency rather than an anonymous cryptocurrency. Instead of playing around with Bitcoin mixers or managing wallet transactions in perhaps unusual ways, it may be easier to use another cryptocurrency altogether. The following cryptocurrencies have far greater privacy guarantees than Bitcoin.
Unfortunately, there aren’t as many casinos offering “altcoin” deposits and withdrawals, however this market is certainly growing and more are coming online each week.
There are many ways to gamble anonymously and each provide a different degree of privacy. In the case of Bitcoin, anonymity cannot be assumed simply because the player deposited and withdrew using the cryptocurrency. A combination of transaction patterns, casino website logs and the use of social media (mistakenly disclosing information) can lead to a less private experience than expected. Users who understand these “operational security” (OPSEC) considerations in detail can find enjoy the luxury of betting in total privacy. For users less familiar with the technical details of remaining anonymous online, the best option is to not use Bitcoin at all. Instead, the player should opt for a cryptocurrency that maximizes privacy without the need to take additional precautions.