Large online casino Vera&John has become the first licensed and regulated online casino to accept bitcoin deposits.
The Malta-registered site began taking deposits from customers on Tuesday, automatically converting them to Euros which would then be paid into customers' accounts on the site. Customers making bitcoin deposits made at Vera&John will only be able to withdraw those deposits in bitcoin.
This online casino is different to the many bitcoin gaming sites that are found on online, said Johannes Klasson, an SEO consultant who has been working with Vera&John for two years, and consulted with the casino on the two-month bitcoin project.
Sites like SatoshiDice use bitcoin transactions as the basis for bets. They use the block chain, or an algorithm for proving off-blockchain bets, to prove that their bets are fair.
Instead, Vera&John is an established online casino, presenting bitcoin as way to pay for existing games on the site, rather than as a basis for new online games. Customers can make deposits in bitcoins, which are converted in real time at current Euro exchange rates. This means that the casino doesn't hold bitcoins, and isn't exposed to market risk.
A customer's account can be used to play over 200 slot games on the site. The back end software that runs the games therefore doesn't have to be adapted to work with bitcoin in any way.
Vera&John has over 100 employees. "They have the same software providers as the land-based casinos in Vegas do," said Klasson. "In order to host them, you have to be huge." These companies include Play'n GO, Betsoft, IGT, Nextgen Gaming, Bally Technologies and Three Pigeons. He added:
"Even SatoshiDice would get turned down if went to IGT and said, 'hey, give me your games to host on on my page'. It doesn't work like that."
Vera&John is a EU-based casino, regulated by Malta's Lotteries and Gaming Authority, and as such as required to provide fair bets, and are frequently audited, said Klasson. Bitcoin players will trust the online site's fairness as fiat customers would.
Gamers can win up to 5,000 BTC in a single bet, according to a statement from the firm today.
The European online casino is working with Coinapult, which Klasson says is acting as a payment processor for the bitcoin element of the casino's business.
When customers make a bitcoin deposit at Vera&John, the bitcoins are sent to Coinapult, converted into Euros and deposited into their Vera&John account.
"Vera&John have been extremely excited to get bitcoin payments up and running," said a spokesperson at Coinapult, who said that the fact the bitcoins were immediately converted into Euros meant that bitcoin was being used as a payment network, rather than as a currency.
"They understand that it's only a matter of time until other gaming operators recognize the benefits of bitcoin technology and realize the actual ease of integration."
Vera&John does not accept business from US customers, due to the stringent anti-gambling legislation there. Coinapult's operation operates under the laws of Panama, the spokesperson said, adding that launching a lawful and compliant business relationship was particularly timely, given "recent events and today's NYC hearings".
"Being able to build business relationships like these - in jurisdictions and with banks that have clear, market-friendly regulatory frameworks - is why Coinapult opted to leave the US and establish itself in Panama," the spokesperson concluded.
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