13 January 2023
By Roger Kennedy
Following on from a stellar year of development and innovation, crypto gambling is all set to undergo a new era of mainstream popularity in 2023. The growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has already begun to impact several areas of the gaming industry in recent months, with iGaming – aka online gambling – and NFT-based games surging in popularity among a diverse gaming audience.
The crypto gambling sector, in particular, is expected to gain serious traction over the next twelve months; it’s the perfect time for Irish residents to get involved with this exciting new gaming activity.
A Burgeoning Sector
2022 proved to be a tumultuous year for the cryptocurrency industry, with crushing lows and exhilarating highs.
Despite the events of the past twelve months, the industry quickly regained its $800 billion market cap in early January 2023, leading analysts to predict that the crypto-gambling sector alone could generate as much as $93 billion in revenues before the end of the year. With gaming brands like Ignition Casino now offering more ways to play with crypto than ever before, digital currencies have the potential to reshape the real money gaming experience.
The uptake of crypto gambling among Irish residents is likely to be substantial, particularly with EU gaming markets and platforms being accessible in the country. The crypto market itself is also set for new growth, which could lead to even more gaming opportunities being made available.
This article will cover the basics of getting started with crypto gambling, covering everything from the advantages of playing online to the legalities.
Crypto and Gambling are a Natural Partnership
The very nature of decentralised currencies makes them the natural partner to online gambling, in which privacy and player security are paramount. The distributed ledger technologies (DLT) that underpin crypto and blockchain gaming act as a digital ledger for any action or transaction occurring within a game or gaming platform.
This means that every time a player spins the wheel in a digital slot or cashes out their poker game, a permanent and unique transaction is recorded on the ledger, which cannot be erased or tampered with. In an era where increasing cybersecurity is high on the list for any reputable operator, cryptocurrencies offer enhanced levels of player protection.
The advantages of playing at a crypto casino are also felt by gamers, not least in terms of the selection of games on offer to them. Decentralised currencies are not subject to the same fees or potentially punitive actions as fiat currencies, meaning that players can cash out their winnings or transfer profits to digital wallets in a much more seamless and cost-effective way. Plus, with each deposit, withdrawal and win recorded on a crypto gaming platform’s digital ledger, players are protected against fraud and data manipulation.
The Legality of Crypto Gambling in Ireland
Ireland has enjoyed a long and colourful relationship with many different gambling practices. Legislation governing horse racing was set in place in the 18th-century while, in the early 2000s, new laws were established in conjunction with the opening of several private members clubs that offered gambling opportunities. Even sweepstakes have precedence in Ireland, with the likes of the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes having existed since the early 20th century.
While several wagering opportunities have been made available for residents over the centuries, historically, Ireland hasn’t had much of an established casino gaming presence. Crypto gambling has the potential to change that. Licensed crypto gaming platforms are open to Irish residents, provided they comply with the following laws:
- Betting Acts (1931 to 2015)
- Finance Act (1975 as amended)
- Finance Act (1992 as amended)
- Gaming and Lotteries Acts (1956 to 2019)
- National Lottery Act (2013)
- Totalisator Act (1929 as amended)
Getting Started Playing Games
Being an emerging sector, new gaming opportunities in crypto gambling are often introduced on a seasonal basis. For the most part, however, gamers can expect to find all the classic games they would at a regular digital or brick-and-mortar casino. Crypto casinos typically offer baccarat, blackjack, craps, poker, roulette and digital slots, while some include variations like live dealer games and video poker.
Before signing up with a crypto casino, it’s imperative that players conduct thorough research on the operators they’re considering. First and foremost, any reputable platform should be licensed by a reputable gaming authority, such as the Malta Gaming Authority or the UK Gambling Commission. They should also have a positive reputation among the gambling community, as well as a diverse portfolio of games and bonus offers.
Bitcoin-only casinos were some of the first to launch in the market, but today’s operators understand the need to accept a number of decentralised currencies. Ethereum, Litecoin and Dogecoin are now becoming increasingly accepted, with some emerging coins like Cardano and Tether making an appearance. Several gambling start-ups in the sector have even launched their own tokens, which players are then able to trade on crypto exchanges.