Investing in Bitcoin Casinos

Why should you invest in a Bitcoin casino? Well, because gambling is an incredibly lucrative industry and Bitcoin gambling is a rapidly-growing trade. With over $1 million US dollars being wagered every single day across investor-friendly Bitcoin casinos, investors are making an average of $10,000 profit a day. That’s $70,000 a week, or $3,650,000 a year. The better question is why shouldn’t you invest, and yeah, there are sadly plenty of reasons not to.

Bitcoin profit

On this page I will try to explain everything you need to know about Bitcoin gambling — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that you can make a more informed and hopefully safer decision about investing.

If you’re looking for a quick buck and don’t have the patience to wait, you’re better off making a bet on a Bitcoin casino. If you want high returns over a longer period of time, read on.

Key terms

You should familiarize yourself with these terms before continuing.

Bankroll: The size of the casino’s bank. This is the number of Bitcoins available for gamblers to try to win. This can also refer to the player’s bankroll (the amount they have to gamble with).

House edge: The percentage advantage that the casino has over the player. This is generally 1-2% on popular casinos. It can be thought of as the cost of a bet — for example, a 10 BTC wager against a 1% house edge will cost the player 0.1 BTC; he should expect to be returned only 9.9 BTC. Anything above or below 9.9 BTC is just variance.

Variance: This is what makes gambling work. In probability theory, variance is a measure of how far a set of numbers is spread out. With zero variance, nobody would win; they would only lose a fraction of their wager to the edge. Negative variance for the house means there are more winners, and positive variance means there are more losers.

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Calculating your expected return

Take a look at TheBitcoinStrip’s leaderboard to see the profit figures of the current most profitable casinos, and then disregard them completely. Because they don’t mean anything.

Why? Because those numbers are no indication for the future. In gambling there is a ton of variance, meaning some fortunate casinos are able to achieve a much higher than expected profit while others fall short or even dive into the negative. Just because a casino has had great luck in the past, it doesn’t mean it will have good luck in the future.

The only thing that matters is the expected value, or EV for short. This is how much the casino is expected to make, forgetting about the unpredictable swings of variance. To be able to calculate EV, you must know two numbers: the amount of coins wagered against the casino, and the casino’s house edge. This is the magical formula to calculate what a casino’s profit should be at:

EV = coins wagered * house edge

For example, a site with 1,000 BTC wagered and a standard 1% house edge should be expected to stand at 10 BTC profit. In reality, the number will never be exactly what is expected, but it should come pretty close most of the time.

Now you need to look at the volume of Bitcoin casinos and find a site which is flourishing in bet volume. You want to invest in a casino with an enormous number of coins wagered every day. An important metric to use when looking for high-volume sites is called the bank turnover. Bank turnover translates to how often an amount equal to the house’s bankroll is wagered on the site. This is how often the investors’ edge should be realised.

As another example, say a Bitcoin casino with a 1% edge has a bankroll of 500 BTC. Over 12 months, the total amount of Bitcoins wagered grew from 1,000 BTC to 2,000 BTC: a 1k BTC increase. That means that on average, it took 6 months for the size of the bankroll to be wagered, and so the bank turnover is 6 months or 182 days. What this means is that investors will make an expected return of 1% on their investment every 6 months: an annualized return of 2%.

Another important thing to consider before investing is the size of the bankroll before your investment. The more people invested, the more diluted each investors’ share will be. When you invest into a casino, you become a portion of the bankroll. If you put 90 BTC into a casino with a tiny 10 BTC bankroll, you will earn 90% of player losses. If you invest 90 BTC into a casino with a 1,000 BTC bankroll, you will only earn 8% of the site’s total profits because your share is much smaller. Under-funded casinos with disproportionately large betting volume will often yield greater return than the big guys. These sites will have a very quick bank turnover.

Casino data

This table is updated automatically every few hours with data from the past 90 days. It contains all the key stats that you need to consider when investing. All altcoin values have been converted to BTC for your convenience. Virtual bankroll refers to the casino’s bankroll adjusted for investors’ Kelly criterion risk factors.

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Be aware of the risks

Aaaand it's gone.

Investing in the gambling industry is generally considered a safe bet as long as the casino has their maths in order. However, investing in Bitcoin casinos inherits the same risk as any other Bitcoin business. Because of the anonymous nature of the currency, scams and thefts are unfortunately commonplace in Bitcoin casinos and dice games.

Bitcoin theft

If a casino operator doesn’t secure their website, it will only be a matter of time until somebody snatches its bankroll. Most Bitcoin casinos nowadays keep two kinds of wallet to prevent against theft:

Cold wallet: This is where the majority of Bitcoins are stored. The wallet is stored offline and is never supposed to touch the Internet, making it impossible for an outsider intruder to abduct.

Hot wallet: A percentage of the bankroll (usually between 5 to 10 per cent) is stored online within easy reach to the casino so that winners can be paid out quickly and automatically. Without a hot wallet, withdrawals would not be instant. Whenever the hot wallet reaches a certain balance, some coins are moved to the cold wallet for long-lasting storage.

Casinos can and should publish proof of funds by signing a message with the cold wallet address, however most don’t. Casinos that do are able to prove that they have access to the bankroll they claim. If someone was to take a chunk of one of these casino’s bankrolls, people would notice immediately and warn the community. With other sites, a theft could go unnoticed for months and casino operators could essential run fractional-reserves without anyone being the wiser.

In short: Stay away from any casino which does not claim to have a cold wallet. Hacks and thefts do happen.

Inside jobs

Bitcoin theft (MtGox so-called inside job)

All good Bitcoin casinos are provably fair, but that only means they are fair for the ordinary player. Provably fair mechanisms rely on the server seed being unknown to the player until after the bet is complete. After the bet is over, the server seed is revealed so that users can ensure the outcome was predetermined and legitimately random.

Server seeds are not unknown to the casino owner. It is entirely possible for the operator to know what the outcome will be before placing a bet. Casino owners could use this to cheat investors with fake winnings, and it would be impossible to spot. There is currently no sound solution to this vulnerability; you just have to trust that the owner is making profit enough from commissions and is not greedy enough to rob you.

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Runners

This is by far the greatest risk when it comes to investing in Bitcoin casinos. An owner could simply close down shop and do a runner with the bankroll. In October 2014, one of the largest Bitcoin dice games, Dice.Ninja, vanished and the owner disappeared with 2,000+ BTC of player and investor funds.

Improper bankroll management

Proper bankroll management is crucial for any gambling-related business. Without it, there is a high chance of the house going broke.

The goal of good bankroll management is to minimize risk while still allowing for high returns. In gambling, the term risk of ruin is very important for casino operators to understand. Risk of ruin is a concept in gambling and finance relating to the likelihood of losing the entire bankroll, or impacting the bankroll to the point that it cannot be recovered. For instance, if you were to bet all your money on a single coin toss, your risk of ruin is a whopping 50%. The trick for casino operators to stay profitable is to bring the risk of ruin down to virtually zero.

Generally, casinos like to keep their risk of ruin below 1%. In order to do this, the maximum a player can profit in a single bet (known as the maximum win) is often pegged to a fraction of the bankroll. A lot of casinos tie the maximum win to an ever-changing 1% of the bankroll size, which is considered to be very safe.

Calculating casino risk of ruin is a tedious task usually involving millions of simulations, so I won’t explain it here. But what you should understand is that the smaller the bet relative to the bankroll, the lower the risk of the house going bust. Risk of ruin is only an issue when a player is max-betting all the time; if players are betting well below the maximum, then the risk is practically nonexistent.

Be wary of poorly-funded casinos offering large maximum wins. This means that the casino is operating with a tremendous risk of going bankrupt.

The law

Most Bitcoin casinos operate in a very dark grey section of the law, in the least. Being a widely unregulated industry, many casinos are likely operating without an obligatory gambling license. At the moment, nobody really seems to mind, but the law could catch up with us eventually. Government raids and seizures aren’t outside of the realm of possibility.

Choosing your own risk

Kelly criterion investment in Bitcoin casinosSome modern Bitcoin casinos allow you to set your own risk level or Kelly criterion. The easiest way to understand this is to think of it as leveraging your investment. At 1x, you are risking the standard percentage of your investment upon a player making a maximum bet (usually 1%). At 2x, you are risking double the standard and thus your profit/loss will be double that of 1x.

If one investor invests 100 BTC at a Kelly factor of 1x, he will see the same profits as an investor with 10 BTC at 10x. Of course, the 10 BTC investor is much more likely to go bust well before the 100 BTC investor. A Kelly factor of 10x is considered extremely risky; you could be wiped out by a whale in just seconds.

Making the investment

Okay, so now you understand the risks and are ready to pick a casino which you trust to invest in. There’s not much difference between Bitcoin dice sites and standard casinos — they’re the same thing. You can start by looking at the list of casinos offering investment by checking the box labeled Invest option.

List of bitcoin casinos with investment options

Once you’ve found a casino you trust, investing is incredibly simple. Deposit Bitcoins into your player account and open the investment tab on the site. Invest your BTC, sit back and reel in the profits.

Making an investment with 100 BTC

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