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  1. In the history of mankind, there are those groundbreaking new innovations that spur us on to bigger and better things. These major inventions include harnessing electricity, the telephone, the motorcar, the internet and now the blockchain. Love it or hate it the development of cryptocurrencies on the blockchain has revolutionised how we view digital assets, our thinking around finance and how the world will transact for the foreseeable future. The Types of Cryptocurrencies While we have all heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and other well know crypto coins there is often some confusion when it comes to terms like decentralised cryptos, stable coins and alt coins. Here are some easy introductions to these terms: ✓True/Decentralised Cryptocurrencies When Satoshi Nakamoto first conceptualised Bitcoin his intent was to create a digital currency that would not reside on a single server but was spread across the Blockchain. This would ensure that no single country, corporation, or person could ever own it or control it. Crypto coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and others which follow this decentralised tradition by residing on the Blockchain and do not have a single controlling owner are considered by industry pundits to be “true” cryptos. ✓Alt Coins As the name denotes Alt-Coins are “alternatives to” an existing cryptocurrency. Due to the fact that blockchain and cryptocurrency code is open source, it allows anyone with the appropriate skill level to develop their own coin. Generally, an altcoin improves on one or more aspects of its original code. An example of this is Ethereum which improved on the transactional aspect of Bitcoin, allowing it to process blocks of transactions in two and a half minutes compared to Bitcoin’s much slower ten minutes per block. ✓Stable Coins Stable Coins are the type of crypto token which is the farthest removed from Satoshi’s vision for his invention for three reasons: They reside on a single server or closed series of servers They are owned and operated by single entities Its value is dictated by a fiat currency or precious metal While stable coins exist on the blockchain and offer all of its speed, security and low cost benefits they are simply the digital-only equivalents of our existing country-based currencies. Most governments around the world are in the process of developing stable coin versions of their currencies with the hopes of one day doing away with costly and short-lived paper and metal money. Visit our full guide to stablecoins for more on this interesting spin off of cryptocurrency technology. Why Crypto Gambling Is Popular With the unique way in which the blockchain stores and shares data it is the most hacker-proof system on the planet. Rather than store information in a single central location, which once cracked, gives the would-be thief full access to the data the blockchain splits it into thousands of tiny data packets. These packets of data are then spread across all the connected nodes on the internet and are each individually secured. In addition to this mind-blowing level of security the fact that it is only moving tiny bits of data around means that it can pass large volumes of information at incredibly high speeds. When applied to lightweight products like a casino deposit this means near-instant banking. Finally, the blockchain does not require you to give confirmable information to access and use it other than a personalised username and an email. It is not perfectly anonymous as there is the issue of using your internet connection (which can be addressed by the information we supplied in our guide to using a VPN for cyber security) and that purchasing Bitcoin is done via a crypto exchange like Security, speedy transactions and high levels of anonymity are some of the reasons that more players are making the move to gambling at crypto casinos. The Top 10 Cryptocurrencies To ensure that we do not fall into the trap of thinking about cryptocurrencies in a limited way we looked to CoinMarketCap to see which digital tokens are the most popular outside of our industry. Much to our delight, the online casino industry has adopted cryptos with open arms. The proof of this is that ten of the fifteen highest rated crypto coins are already in wide use by the best crypto casinos. If you are interested in gambling with Bitcoin and other leading cryptos here is a brief overview of the top 10 casino cryptos and an idea of where you can play with them: 1. Bitcoin – First Decentralised Coin As the first truly decentralised cryptocurrency Bitcoin captured the imagination of the world with its mysterious creator and incredible value growth. It not only drew attention to the potential of digital currencies but also the potential of the blockchain which has seen many industries begin to develop new and exciting innovations, tools and products that have changed the world. The first decentralised crypto coin Incredibly valuable digital asset One of the most secure currencies in the world If you would like to try your hand at playing your favourite Online Slots and tables games with Bitcoin, we recommend visiting Bitcoin Games casino and 22Bet Casino. 2. Ethereum – Decentralised/Altcoin Ethereum is only second in terms of industry awareness and usability to Bitcoin. As a Bitcoin altcoin, Ethereum offers users the same safety and security with vastly superior processing times. Ethereum has set itself up as the “everyday driver” of cryptocurrencies processing up to 1 million transactions each day while Bitcoin only processes up to 250,000. Same secure framework as Bitcoin Ability to process up to 1,000,000 transactions per day One of the cheapest cryptos to use Ethereum’s processing power makes it incredibly popular with online casinos that offer digital token gambling. We recommend visiting Green Spin casino and BitStarz casino to try it out for yourself. 3. Bitcoin Cash – Decentralised/Altcoin Bitcoin Cash is another Bitcoin altcoin, in this case, it was developed in 2017 from a fork of the original crypto. The benefits of Bitcoin Cash lie in its larger block size which means it is faster than BTC while capping its supply which gives it a similar asset value proposition to its progenitor. Follows the same digital asset mentality as Bitcoin Offers superior processing times as the original coin Very low fee structure If you’re looking to gamble with a cryptocurrency that is incredibly like Bitcoin but offers faster transactions, lower costs and a lower price per coin then Bitcoin Cash could be for you. Try it out today at Kosmonaut casino and 1xBit casino. 4. Cardano – Decentralised/Altcoin Cardano is the ledger that supports the independent cryptocurrency ADA. The digital coin is considered one of the leading alt-coins on the market due to its reasonable cost, widespread adoption by online businesses and incredibly cheap processing fees. Still available at a low price Uses a bespoke low-cost fee structure Widespread use by online shops and gambling sites If you are new to cryptos and want to test the waters with a usable and fairly cheap option, then you should consider buying some Cardano. You can play with it online at Fairspin casino and TrueFlip casino. 5. Tether – Stablecoin Tether is a stable coin that has anchored its value to the US dollar while still offering users the stability, processing speed and security of the blockchain. For banks, businesses, and new crypto enthusiasts it offers the benefits of the blockchain without the fear of massive price fluctuations associated with decentralised coins. Steady and predictable pricing Offers the digital security of the blockchain A popular digital currency for e-commerce We recommend trying out the benefits of cryptocurrency gambling by starting with the market stability offered by Tether. It is available at MyStake casino and Rolletto casino. 6. XRP – Decentralised/Altcoin XRP is the cryptocurrency used by products developed by Ripple Labs on the blockchain. The intent of creating XRP was not to launch the next crypto-asset like Bitcoin but to offer the community a network specifically designed to handle high volumes of digital payments Specifically designed to process high transaction volumes XRP is not mined but rather acquired through trading Ranked as one of the top 10 cryptos worldwide Test out the efficiency and processing power of the XRP network for yourself by using it as your deposit and withdrawal mechanism at both Bet Sensation casino and 1xBit casino today. 7. Dogecoin – Decentralised/Altcoin Developed a commentary on the insane prices that crypto-assets were demanding Dogecoin has positioned itself to be the ‘everyman’ cryptocurrency. Built on the Litecoin framework Dogecoin offers fantastic processing and low costs but has openly stated its supply will be unlimited ensuring none of the price spikes associated with limited-supply coins like Bitcoin. A real-life underdog story Unlimited supply manages price volatility Offers all the benefits of Litecoin Take this playful Shiba-token for a walk today by signing up at either 22Bet casino or Green Spin casino today and playing their selection of online slots, table games and arcade games. 8. USD Coin If you are a fan of innovation and new technology but are sceptical of the crazy price fluctuations of some cryptos then USDCoin could be your perfect solution. This stable coin offers all the processing and security benefits of the blockchain while guaranteeing that each USDCoin will always only cost $1.00. Price per coin will always be the equivalent of US$ 1.00 Enjoy all the benefits of the blockchain Built on the trusted and highly trafficked Ethereum framework USDCoin’s stable pricing anchor makes it the perfect cryptocurrency for players looking to move from fiat currency banking to digital banking without risking their bankroll to currency volatility. Play with it at 1XBit casino and Fairspin casino today. 9. Chainlink Chainlink is considered an Ethereum alt-coin. While it offers users all the expected speed, low costs and security of the blockchain it has the added benefit of integrating transactions that are not based on the blockchain. This is allowing people to seamlessly do business using fiat currencies with blockchain companies. Ethereum-based altcoin Seamless off-blockchain transaction processing Offer tamper-proof cross-blockchain smart contracts Test the high speeds, hack-proof security, and low fee structure of this altcoin for yourself by playing at Casino-Z and 1XSlots Casino today. 10. Litecoin – Decentralised/Altcoin Litecoin is one of the early Bitcoin altcoins having been launched in 2011. In addition to offering the same anonymity and security options as its source, the developers behind Litecoin have also engineered the Lightning Network for instant global payments for everything from casino deposits to purchasing a coffee. Hack proof peer-to-peer transaction network Lightning network for instant payments Developers of Atomic Swap for cross crypto trading Try your hand at playing video slots, video poker, blackjack and more using Litecoin to deposit and withdraw at Bet Sensation casino and Green Spin casino today. How To Gamble With Cryptocurrencies Now that you are comfortable with what the differences are between the various types of coins, know a little more about the top 10 cryptos for gambling and have some idea of where to play with each of them let's talk about how to deposit and withdraw with cryptos. Despite being a groundbreaking new technology using them in practice is incredibly simple. To begin gambling with digital currencies all you need to do once you’ve joined your preferred crypto casino is follow the simple steps below: ✓How To Deposit with Crypto To make your first deposit at an online casino with cryptocurrency, plus claim the amazing welcome bonuses on offer, follow these simple steps: Step 1: Click on deposit at the top right of the page. Step 2: Select bitcoin, copy the private depositing address, and enter a relevant promo code. Step 3: Send the bitcoin to the private depositing address from your bitcoin wallet of choice. With the speed and power of the blockchain, your first crypto deposit will be ready and waiting for you in your account within moments. ✓How To Withdraw with Crypto When it comes to cashing out your winnings the process is even more simple than making your first deposit. Follow these easy steps to withdraw your money: Step 1: Click Profile at top right of page, then click withdrawal. Step 2: Find your Bitcoin wallet address. Step 3: Select Bitcoin, enter your wallet address, the amount to be withdrawn, click withdrawal. For players who are used to waiting up to five business days for a withdrawal crypto-cash out will be mindblowing. At most, you will have to wait 15 minutes before you see your withdrawal become available in your wallet.
  2. At GamblersPick we are committed to bringing you coverage of the online gambling industry that puts you first. Whether it’s revealing a new online slot, discussing an important industry news event, or reviewing an online casino we look at it all through the lens of what it means to the player. This player-centric mentality was the driving force behind the creation of the GamblersPick Seal of Approval. Most importantly this Seal of Approval cannot be bought, any of the recommended casinos featuring the emblem have earned it! Our vetting process scrutinises the gambling site looking at five key criteria: their trustworthiness, the quality of their customer service, how they secure your private information, available banking options and their library of casino games. These review criteria were not chosen at random but rather because they covered the most important questions players around the world are asking about gambling. Join us as we specifically answer the 20 most frequently asked questions about online casinos and gambling in general: Trustworthiness ✓Are online gambling sites rigged? This is a very valid question given that a casino could rig games in their favour. This is why recommend always playing at a regulated online. Licensed casinos have their payouts and games tested by third-party auditors as part of their licensing agreement which ensures your safety. ✓Which online casinos are best? This all depends on what you like in an online casino. We always recommend playing where you can use your local currency, transact via a local banking option, and get games from your preferred providers - we cover all this information in our casino reviews. Start your journey with our already vetted list of GamblersPick Select casinos. ✓Who regulates online gambling? The online gambling industry now boasts a host of licensed and regulated gambling jurisdictions. These gambling authorities ensure that online casinos operating in their region follow strict safety and fair play guidelines. For a full list of gambling regulators visit our section on licenses. ✓Where is online gambling illegal? This is a broad question as there is a fine line between illegal and unregulated. Some countries do not offer licensed online gambling but still allow citizens to gambling online without fear of prosecution. We recommend checking the legality of online gambling with a local legal professional to avoid any problems. Customer Experience ✓Are gambling winnings taxable? There is no universal law on whether gambling winnings are taxable. We recommend speaking to a local tax professional or visiting the website of your national revenue service to ensure you are complying with local laws. ✓Can gambling affect your credit score? Interestingly it is not gambling that affects your credit score but where you are seen to be spending your money. Gambling is considered a high-risk activity that could cause your credit score to be adjusted down. However, since it is only a fraction of your income or net worth the impact should be negligible. ✓Can gambling make you rich? For a few lucky gamblers winning a progressive jackpot or big poker tournament has made them rich. However, gambling is not a guaranteed way to make money rather it should be seen as a hobby. Gamble for the entertainment factor, and should you hit a big win consider it a stroke of good luck. ✓How do casino odds work? Whenever you play an online casino game there is the chance that you will win despite there being a House edge that ultimately favours the casino. This is expressed as the game's RTP% (return to player percentage). Should a slot offer an RTP of 96% it means that over time that slot will return 96% of the staked amount to players leaving the House with a 4% margin. There is not guarantee that you will get your money back, however, which is why some lose while others win. ✓Do online gamblers ever win? Yes, there are many stories of online gamblers winning big jackpots. The Microgaming progressive jackpot network for example has paid out over €1.4 billion in prize money. However, the real question is not whether players win but how many players win more than spend. We always recommend playing with a budget that you can afford to lose which ensures you will have a good time regardless of the outcome. ✓Where can I find the best online casino welcome bonuses? With so many online casinos on the market, we have taken the time to both review them and give you detailed information on the available welcome bonuses that you could claim. Visit our Bonuses section for access to nearly 300 welcome offers. ✓What is a No Deposit Bonus at online casinos? When you claim a welcome bonus when joining a new casino, you generally receive bonus credits or spins once you make a minimum deposit. In the case of a no deposit bonus, you will get these credits or Free Spins without having to deposit. ✓Are online casino bonuses worth it? When an online casino bonus meets your needs, it is. If you’re looking to test a casino without risking your own money or want to boost your bankroll to extend your playtime, they are great. Some players do not like having to meet wagering requirements before making a withdrawal and in that case, it is better to only play with your own money. Safety ✓Is it safe to play at online casinos? It is safest to play at licensed online casinos as you are guaranteed that they employ the latest online security and encryption measures to protect your personal and banking information. When visiting a gambling site always look for the “lock” symbol in the web address bar as this shows that the site is secure. ✓Can online casinos cheat? The honest answer is that they can. To avoid this play at a reputable online casino that offers games by well-known Game developers and is audited by recognised third-party auditing firms. This ensures multiple levels of compliance and gives you the best chance of a safe and secure experience. Payments ✓Which gambling sites accept PayPal? If you’re looking for a GamblersPick Select PayPal site to gamble with we can recommend visiting PlayOJO Casino. That being said we offer insights into more than 400 payment methods and the casino who offer them to help you find the best banking options and casino partners. ✓Can online casinos refuse to pay out winnings? Not legally no. If you have legitimately won, then the casino owes you your payout as part of the agreement you entered when joining their site. The only caveat to this is if there is an error that occurred in the game which invalidates the win. Should this happen, a reputable online casino will provide proof of the error and in some cases provide some measure of compensation to ease the loss of a big win. Casino Games ✓Where did gambling originate? Nobody knows if early cavemen placed bets on who could take down the biggest woolly mammoth, but historians have found examples of six-sided dice which could be dated back to 3000 BC. It has also been proven that early Chinese civilisation held lotteries as far back as 2300 BC. However, casinos, as we know them today first, appeared in Italy in the 17th century. ✓Which online gambling game has the best odds? The three casino games with the best odds for players are without doubt Baccarat, roulette and craps which have a House edge of 1.06%, 1.35% and 1.4% respectively. Slots are the most prolific online casino game type but generally hold a 3%-5% advantage for the casino. ✓What are the different types of gambling? The term “gambling” covers a wide variety of activities, which not only includes games of chance like slots, roulette and even lottery but also games of skill like poker and sports betting. ✓Are online casino games fair? Casino games from reputable providers like Microgaming, Playtech, Evolution and others use random number generators which use the law of probability to ensure random and therefore fair outcomes. As part of their licensing agreement, these providers are audited by third parties which adds an additional layer of accountability and security.
  3. While the US has Las Vegas as its gambling mecca it is Great Britain which has the most widespread and accepting relationship with gambling of any country in the world. While going the races with your dad might be a fond memory of a special occasion for some, in the UK all you need to do to place a bet on any number of sporting events is head down to the local bookmaker which can be found on any high street. With the regulation and licensing of online gambling, this access to betting and casino games is now more ubiquitous than ever. There is no longer a need to leave your home, simply click on your mobile casino app and gamble in the privacy of your own home while watching Netflix or doing your taxes. ✓What Does This Mean for Young Britons? Growing up with this ease of access to gambling be it in town, at your pc or on your mobile phone does raise the question of whether the UK runs the risk of its young people becoming too familiar with gambling. Tim Miller, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission said: “Protecting consumers is at the heart of everything we do, and it is important we understand the ways in which children and young people gain exposure to gambling, the products they are playing, and what factors influence their relationship with gambling.” While it is a hobby there is the risk of losing one respect for the addictive potential that is inherent to the fast-paced risk-reward cycle that makes gambling so thrilling. Especially in the 16-30-year-old age bracket where many financial and societal patterns are being formed and instilled. To gain a practical insight into the mindset of young Brits and their major influences when it comes to gambling the Gambling Commission had global insights agency 2CV survey the target segment using “a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods” to paint them a real-life picture of “this demographic in their own words and reflecting their own voice”. ✓Snapshot of the Survey Results In addressing the intent of the Commission's inquiry 2CV surveyed two market segments sequentially. The first group consisted of having online participants aged 16-30 take part in a series of community exercises over a 10 day period that would test their understanding of gambling and what formed those opinions. The second test was a straightforward survey aimed at 16-25-year-olds. The survey covered their current experience with casinos and sportsbooks, how young they were when they first gambled and several other key indicators to gain an understanding of who and what shaped their view of gambling. The highlights of the report indicated the following: Engagement with gambling throughout childhood and early adulthood aligns to a familiar set of life events and milestones, such as family holidays, first jobs and increasing financial independence. Engaging with gambling or gambling style activities during childhood is common, but participation is primarily passive. Exposure to the positive and negative extremes of gambling (e.g., witnessing big wins or big losses, or being exposed to very positive or very negative attitudes about gambling) at an early age can lead to an increased interest in gambling in later life, and in some cases riskier or more harmful gambling behaviour. Friends and family played an influential role in shaping gambling behaviour, whilst advertising and marketing has less of an influence on young people’s tendency to gamble. Young people are most vulnerable to experiencing gambling harm after achieving independence from their parents and moving out of home. As people grow older gambling behaviour does not stay the same, rather it fluctuates according to personal (and peer) experiences of wins and losses, and alongside changes in lifestyle and responsibility. To ensure that these findings are as true as possible to the experience of the broader UK gambling population all participants were divided across the country’s regional demographics based on gender and socio-economic status. ✓The Family Dynamic While there is an ongoing debate about nature versus nurture in the development of habits and mindsets the 2CV reports shows that the familial views and interactions with gambling impact the development of younger people. It is interesting to see that where family members were seen to be voracious gamblers or actively encouraged the participants to gamble less than 10% of them had a healthy relationship with gambling, while in both cases more than 30% showed a high risk of addiction. ✓Follow The Leader We know all too well the pros and cons of the herd mentality of is an inherent part of the human condition. This is especially strong in younger people as they are creating future support structures. In a region where gambling is so easily accessible, it is not surprising that those friendships play a huge role in forming gambling behaviours. The interesting vacillation point here is that while isolated adults are more likely to fall foul of compulsive gambling disorders, it is more likely that they could develop a reliance on gambling as a form of escapism through social gambling during their formative years. This is supported by the final point in the earlier highlights list where ones changing view on gambling comes about with age, be it for better or for worse is up to the individual. ✓Marketing Is Underplayed Unfortunately, the report underplays the impact of advertising, popular culture, and influencers on enticing younger audiences. The Gambling Commission heading on the topics writes it off with a footnote: “Advertising is primarily a trigger or ‘nudge’ to play as opposed to the reason to start gambling, however more targetable marketing channels – such as social media and email – are more influential.” Yet with the extensive research being done into the impact of video game loot boxes on instilling gambling triggers in children, the bans on certain types of influencer marketing across Europe and limitations placed on venue advertising there is clearly more to this than the 2CV report was able to highlight. Additional exercises or survey questions around video game spend on loot boxes, watching Twitch streamers who either play Online Slots or are sponsored by betting companies like Barstool Stops and how they were introduced to these mechanisms would have been a nice addition to this already insightful project. ✓Put Your Best Foot Forward Based on their analysis of the two projects 2CV has recommended the following focus areas of for the Gambling Commission moving forward: Education for parents should focus on protecting children from the extremes of gambling (positive and negative experiences) – responsibly modelled play doesn’t appear to have the same impact on people’s future behaviour. Education for young people on what ‘normal’ play looks like will have wide-ranging benefits – enabling young people to benchmark safe play more accurately for themselves, for family and friends. Education and early exposure to gambling ought to be ‘neutral’ (not overly negative or positive) to minimize the risk of unsafe play – e.g., understanding of odds and probability of loss. A more holistic approach to tackling problem gambling within friendship groups rather than individuals will have a longer-lasting benefit – highlighting the influence of friends on play. We can only hope that the Commission sees the value in pursuing a more socially aware campaign of education and support, rather than following the Ministers suggestions we which all revolve around limiting player choice and financially penalising the businesses who operate in the sector.
  4. As lifelong fans of gambling and in particular online gambling it is fantastic to see how many countries are adopting a positive stance towards the hobby. Even if a region does not currently allow local licensing and advertising opportunities, they tend to adopt a ‘no harm, no foul’ approach which allows players to gamble at offshore casinos without any legislative requirements. In a 2021 review of the legal online gambling landscape Slotegrator reported that gambling regulation falls into one of four distinct categories: Those where gambling websites must be licensed by the local regulator (32 countries) Those where only local gaming sites need a license, not foreign sites (32 Countries) Those where online gambling is prohibited, but no legal action is taken against play at foreign sites (28 countries) Those where there are no gambling restrictions at all (93 countries) When looking at the European Union in the context of these categories is becomes clear that the majority of the member states have adopted or are investigating a multi-license regime. ✓EU Free Trade Supports Gambling Regulation For those who are unfamiliar with how the European Union works simply put it is an agreement between 27 member countries that make up most of continental Europe that aim to promote economic and political unity. As a response to the devastating impact of World War 2 on Europe, the European Economic Community (EEC) was created in 1958 to foster financial dependencies. The logic being that when countries are reliant on one another for trade the likelihood of aggression declines. According to a report by the EU Commission in 2021 “82% of products traded in the Single Market are subject to harmonised rules and some 18% of intra-EU trade in goods fall under mutual recognition”. Given that the EU free trade agreement is such a pivotal part of the makeup and longevity of the Union, online gambling became a hotly debated topic as the UK, who was still a member of the EU at the time, promoted full regulation and licensing and expected to be able to trade with its partners. Jurisdictional legislators such as Malta became highly respected markets who expected EU member states to recognise the validity of an MGA licensed casino to trade within the Union. Members that stood against regulated online gambling were seen to be contradicting the compact, and this early friction ultimately led to a burgeoning European online gambling industry. ✓EGBA Striving for Standardised Regulation As with any other multi-party endeavour one of the challenges members of the EU have had to face is how their differing definitions, requirements and even fee structures have become stumbling blocks for their peers. To assist in creating a unified logic to regulation and a set of standards the Brussels-based European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) was founded. “EGBA works together with national and EU regulatory authorities and other stakeholders towards a well-regulated and well-channelled online gambling market which provides a high level of consumer protection and takes into account the realities of the internet and online consumer demand.” To achieve a sustainable online gambling regime the EGBA strives to: Achieve a well-regulated and competitive market Define an ambitious set of European industry standards Build an integrity-based betting market Address betting-related match-fixing and corruption In addition to creating forums for discourse and staying on top of the day-to-day minutiae associated with tracking the gambling rulings and legislative decision making of 27 member countries the EGBA is also a founding partner of the EU Athletes program, a member of the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and registered with the EU Transparency register since 2009. A July 2021 decision by the EU Commission to not reinstate the Expert Group on Online Gambling to assist regulators in coordinating their legal efforts could see the EGBA having an even more authoritative voice as it fills the role that the Commission renounced. ✓The French Gambling Legislation Interestingly enough when looking at online gambling regulation it is important not to interchange online gambling and online casino, especially if you are looking to play Online Slots in France. While many gambling sites will say that online casino is legal in France, they are in fact incorrect, however, it is correct to say that online gambling is legal in the country. This is because in 2010 France had a massive overhaul of its gambling law which both created the current body known as the Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) and legalised all forms of land-based gambling including casino games, card games, and sports betting. However, in an unexpected turn of events when addressing online gambling the regulation only made allowance for the licensing of online poker and online sports betting, while online games of chance remained a restricted category. ✓An Avid Gambling Community Despite the exclusion of online slots and other casino games, online gambling has flourished in France with La Française des Jeux (FDJ) being responsible for betting and lottery games, while Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) is specifically responsible for horse racing. The Q2 2021 report by BusinessWire on the financial results of the FDJ reported that the “digitalised and online stakes” showed an impressive 70% growth over its Q1 results reaching €1.1 billion in revenue from stakes of €9.2 billion. Stéphane Pallez, Chairwoman and CEO of FDJ, said: “Our stakes are increasing, both online and in our point-of-sale network. Over the half-year, we accordingly recorded an increase of nearly 9% in revenue compared with the same period in 2019. Barring new restrictions in response to developments in the health situation, the Group expects to maintain good momentum in the second half and is confident in its business and results prospects in accordance with its responsible gaming model.” These reports show that the FDJ’s online performance is tracking perfectly for the body to achieve its target of €2.2 billion for the year. Market analysts expect this to come from just over €19 billion in stakes. However, the growth in both player stakes and overall revenue for France’s online gambling market has raised the question of whether their reasoning for excluding online gambling was genuine. When the regulations were announced in 2010 ARJEL argued that games of chance held too high a risk of gambling addiction. That games like slot machines encouraged high engagement and participation, something they then claimed to be looking to actively discourage. However, with the €9.2 billion in stakes over six months it proves French gamblers are an engaged and active community. Despite numerous calls in recent years for other EU member states to open their borders to regulated online gambling, to protect locals and actively participate in the free trade compact France has silently refused to budge on the issue, deflecting the conversation around casino games to a discussion of regulated online gambling instead. In a decision that further confuses the matter, France declared that its citizens may gamble at international offshore casinos. Yet this puts them at risk of playing with casinos who do not adhere to EU safer gambling standards, reduces channelisation by not offering a casino game option for slots players, and driving revenues offshore which could be funnelled into programs that would uplift the French community such education programs and compulsive disorder treatment centres. ✓The Bitcoin Casino Stumbling Block France is one of the most progressive nations in the world and as such has been at the forefront of cryptocurrency adoption. The French are proud HODLERs with nearly 4% of the population owning Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital tokens. Unsurprisingly the lion’s share of this ownership sits with wealthy, tech-savvy men and women in their late mid-twenties to mid-thirties. It should come as no surprise then that in the absence of regulation making online casino gambling illegal a large portion of the French casino market is turning to bitcoin casinos. Not only do they get to engage in leading online slots and tables games, but they stand the chance to withdraw even more of the valuable cryptocurrency in the process. However, July 13th saw a Parisian court rule that French ISPs had to block local users from accessing two cryptocurrency gambling sites. The ruling came of the back of a decision to hand over cryptocurrency regulations to Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), a securities watchdog with a specific brief to manage digital currency exchanges in the region. In this case while the casino games themselves were not the issue the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies in an unregulated marketplace saw the AMF flex its muscle and once again limit French players access to online casino entertainment. Once again, sane minds argue that if France would extend its current online gambling legislation to include online casino games, they could offer local players access to a secure crypto-exchange and secure a valuable revenue resource in the process.
  5. A few short years ago no one in the world understood what digital currency was let alone how it would one day change the world. Yet today discussions around Bitcoin price hikes, Dogecoin as a meme token, the impact of cryptocurrency mining on both graphic card prices and the environment are dinner table chatter around the world. As an industry where speed of processing, data security and the potential for large financial transactions are central to its day to day running the online gambling market has been heavily invested in the development of blockchain technology and the adoption of cryptocurrencies. In this article, we will delve into what separates an online casino from a cryptocurrency casino. Are there tangible benefits? What are the challenges? Can you legally gamble using cryptocurrency and what games can you enjoy? Online Casino vs Crypto Casino – The Provably Fair Difference In recent years, the line between a blockchain casino and a casino that accepts cryptocurrency payments such as Bitcoin has blurred the definition of what a “crypto casino” is. There is an increasing number of online casinos that have begun accepting deposits and will honour withdrawals via your cryptocurrency wallet. Allowing you to gamble at their casino with credits purchased via Bitcoin, Ethereum or whichever token they accept. However, a true crypto casino does far more than just trade Bitcoin for casino credits. These casinos operate on the blockchain themselves. Their websites, their games, your personal information and ultimately your wagers are placed directly on the blockchain meaning it is all protected by the most advanced encryption platform known today. With the unique hash records available when processing transactions on the blockchain, the same technology used to verify Bitcoin transactions, you can track the validity of the outcome of each game you play at a crypto casino. This system of Provably Fair gaming puts the power to review every hand of blackjack, every spin of the reels and every roll of the dice in Craps and verify that the outcome you were shown is true and unaltered by any third party interference. A great example of this Bitcoin.com which now offers casino games on its platform, that is as close the source as one can hope to get when gambling with BTC. Advantages of Crypto Gambling – Count the Cost In any scenario where you are investing your time and money, both precious commodities, we always recommend looking at the facts and making a reasoned decision from there. The advantages of crypto casinos are: Unparalleled security – Given the virtually impenetrable nature of the blockchain it offers gamblers unprecedented levels of privacy and data protection. Less intrusive experience – When transacting via the blockchain the code behind your wallet is what is needed to complete a transaction. In this case gambling at a true crypto casino will require very little personal information from you to sign up and no additional KYC documentation when you cash out. Transactional transparency – The peer to peer nature of the blockchain ensures that you have a full view of who you send money to and receive it from, as well as giving you access to Provably Fair reviews of the individual games you play. Growing selection of licensed casinos – As Bitcoin continues to pave the way for mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies so more regulated markets are beginning to accept cryptocurrencies. This ensures you all the benefits of virtual currency gambling with the support of player-centric gambling authorities. Superior banking options – The low costs, advanced security and unmatched processing speeds of cryptocurrencies make them the superior option when transacting online. However, as more casinos accept Bitcoin and other virtual currencies you still have access to web wallets and credit card transactions if you want them. Better payout percentages – With the low cost of operating an online casino on the blockchain and other revenue generation models for operators that include using the power of gambling transactions to mine for tokens blockchain casinos can offer overall payout percentages of up to 99%. This is far better than 93% to 97% offered by traditional online casinos. Casino game selection – Gambling on the blockchain no longer limits you to playing special blockchain games with poor graphics and limited animations. The world’s leading developers like Big Time Gaming now develop for the blockchain offering great casino games for true crypto casinos. Accessing traditional online casinos which transact in Bitcoin means you have access to award-winning slots and live dealer games from providers like Evolution and NetEnt. When it comes to shifting your online gambling from a known and trusted online casino to a new crypto casino it is worth digging into the pros and cons of the move and making a decision based on a balanced review of the facts and your personal needs. Choosing a Crypto Casino – Hot Button Items When discussing crypto-based casinos with our community and finding out from them what their most important selection criteria were for choosing a new online casino the following points were the most common across the board: Can I trust the casino to pay me? Will they find excuses to delay my payment? How safe is my information? Do they offer good bonuses? When it comes to finding a trustworthy online casino to play at the addition of cryptocurrencies to a casino is in fact an extraordinarily strong trust cue. With the total transparency and Provable Fair nature of the blockchain, these casinos are more exposed to their players than any traditional online casino. When you consider that you can also play at a regulated casino in Bitcoin you have added another layer of security as now have a safe technology platform and a stringent gaming authority both protecting you. The speed with which you can withdraw your winnings has always been a hot topic for online gamblers. Looking at the FAQs of leading cryptocurrency casinos like BitStarz, BitCasino and Bitcoin Games Casino they all offer instant withdrawals. The protection of your personal and financial information is of paramount importance to all reputable online casinos. In this case, it becomes a matter of degrees; online casinos are as secure as banks when they utilise 128-bit SSL encryption but the blockchain is objectively the superior encryption method and so blockchain-based casinos will always be the safer option. At their core, the types of bonuses you receive at online casinos and cryptocurrency casinos will be the same either deposit match offers, free bonus credits or Free Spins. However, you may find the wagering requirements less stringent at crypto sites and their overall payout percentages higher which could mean you stand to withdraw more at a crypto casino on paper, but only Lady Luck knows where those chips will fall. Licensing and Regulation – Does it Matter for Crypto? No matter what your preferred gambling platform is, even when playing offline, there is no substitute for the peace of mind that gambling under a globally recognised regulator brings. They are far more than just a marketing watchdog that rakes in licensing fees. These gaming authorities ensure that operators have sufficient funds to pay your withdrawals, manage national safe gambling programs, require license holders to have their business practices reviewed by third-party auditors and work with law enforcement to shut down illegal operations. Adding the technology-based protections inherent to the blockchain to this substantial jurisdictional protection ensures that you have the safest and potentially profitable online gambling experience possible. In Conclusion With the advancements made in the online gambling services available on the blockchain, it is a good time to see if at the very least your current online casino accounts offer the option to transact in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. If you live in a regulated gambling market that has approved Bitcoin gambling it is worth adding the added protection provided by the blockchain to the security you already experience under your current legislation. Cryptocurrencies are growing in mainstream adoption so getting to grips with this technical and financial phenomenon through a medium you already enjoy, online gambling, is an easy way to luddite to crypto-pro!
  6. While the adage "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" would have you believe that there is no real difference between gambling online or at your local casino, that simply is not true. While land-based casinos do offer certain benefits like the potential to get free drinks, be comped a meal, and the experience of a night out “on the town”, playing at an online casino offers far more benefits for both experienced and beginner gamblers to enjoy. Why Gambling Online is the Best Here are 10 reasons why we believe online casinos trump their land-based peers every day of the week: 1. Perfect Environment for New Players Most online casinos offer free to play versions of the real money games they have on offer. This is the perfect way for new players to get to grips with the mechanics, features and bet sizes of any game they intend to play for real money later. Not only can you play these games for free, but each game comes with handy in-game hints and a detailed help file that explains everything from what each button does to how wins are determined and the games specific return to player percentage. 2. Online Casinos Offer Better Payouts The simple fact of the matter is that the House always has an advantage, whether playing online or at a land-based gambling venue – the trick is optimising that advantage as best possible. This is where online casinos beat out their brick and mortar counterpart’s hands down. Land-based casinos must cover the costs of running sprawling complexes which include restaurants, bars, clubs and all the staff to man these various activities. Online casinos only have support staff and tech-related costs which cost a fraction of what it takes to run an offline casino. This is why online casinos offer payouts of around 96%, this means the average house edge is as low as 4%. 3. Incredibly Range of Online Slots Slot machines are by far the most popular game type whether you choose to play online or offline, this is due to their wide range of themes, interactive features, payline options and jackpot win potential. Plus, individual developers each offer something unique to give their slots even more appeal. Big Time Gaming created their Megaways system offering up to 117,649 ways to win, Microgaming offers incredible progressive jackpot wins on their Mega Moolah slots and so much more. 4. Gamble When It Suits You Unlike online casinos which are open all year round, not all local casinos offer 24/7 access to their games. By playing online you can hop onto your favourite slot machine or play a few hands of blackjack whenever it is best for you. Oftentimes it is also simply not possible to coordinate getting to a casino venue at conventional times given the demands placed on our time by work, travel, family and more. In this instance being able to relax over a cup of coffee and a few spins of the reels when you have downtime available to you is an important feature. When you add this to the fact that you can play on your mobile device online gambling offers the most comprehensive, customer-first, gambling experience you could hope for. 5. Live and Play on Your Mobile The mobile device is far more than just a phone these days, we all run our lives from these tiny handheld computers. Online casinos understand this and offer an engaging gambling experience right there in the palm of your hand. Best of all thanks to high-quality apps and HTML5 these casinos offer the same entertainment on your device as they do when you play on your laptop or desktop computer. Allowing you to gamble whenever and wherever you want to. 6. There is Always a Seat for You A very real downside to gambling at a land-based venue, especially in smaller towns, is limited seating or access to popular games. At an online casino, whether you are playing at peak traffic times or in the middle of the night, your favourite casino table or online slot will be waiting for you to dive right in. This is equally true of buying additional casino chips while playing your favourite game. Online casinos allow you to easily top your chip stack from within the game you are playing rather than expecting you to get out of the action to go get more chips as you would at your local casino. 7. Fantastic Casino Bonus Selection Receiving bonuses at a land-based casino is highly unlikely for a new player. All new players at reputable online casinos will receive some form of welcome bonus. This bonus acts both as a gift basket to make you feel at home and as a safety net with which you can test out casino games without risking your own money. These casino bonuses will include deposit match bonuses, Free Spins, no deposit bonuses, wager free bonuses or a combination of these. Once you are a regular at the casino you will be able to avail yourself of reload bonuses, cashback and Loyalty bonuses. 8. Choose When to Play with Others A big part of ensuring your mental health though, especially during lockdowns is having the choice to play with others when you need contact and give yourself space when that is more important. One of the fastest-growing niches within the online gaming industry is the live casino sector. This allows players to step away from purely RNG casino games to enjoy the experience of interacting with a live dealer and the players around the table. As the market appetite for live games has grown so developers like Evolution Gaming have stepped up to grow their selection beyond traditional games like blackjack, roulette, and craps, to include custom games like Monopoly Live, Deal or No Deal Live and Mega Ball. 9. Protect Your Privacy with Bitcoin For players who are looking to further enhance the privacy and security offered by online gambling, there is the option to gamble at a Bitcoin casino. These sites are built on the blockchain, offer provably fair gambling, and ensure that your transactions are hidden from prying eyes thanks to Bitcoin’s incredible encryption. This is over and above any other measures, one can take online to protect their search histories and online banking by using virtual private networks (VPN) to connect to the internet. 10. Safety First When making the decision whether to play online or go to a local casino one must consider the potential health risks. Given the current situation we all find ourselves in, it is prudent to avoid crowds of people and rather play from home. With the ease of access to multiple casinos and swathes of cutting edge casino games, not to mention the bonuses and 24/7 personal support, there is very little reason to play at a land-based casino when with the click of a button you can enjoy world-class entertainment from the comfort of your home.
  7. With 2021 just around the corner we’ve taken a look at the good, the bad and the outrageous that the online gambling industry has gone through this year. Rather than rehash it all here are 21 lessons we have learnt that will make your gambling safer and more enjoyable in 2021. Gamble with a Clear Head and Heart 1. Make time for friends and family – gambling is a hobby, make time for other leisure activities and the people in your life to keep a healthy balance. 2. Play when you are in a positive frame of mind – to avoid making costly mistakes or becoming overwhelmed its best not to gamble as a form of self-medication. 3. Play sober – getting drunk will make you less focused and could lead to overspending or making a costly big bet that drains your bankroll. 4. Money well spent – everything we do has a cost, whether it’s visiting a museum or eating out, see the money spent at a casino as the cost of a nights entertainment rather than a loss and you will be able to budget for it happily. 5. Be sure to stretch your legs and stay hydrated – be sure to take a break now and then, it will get the blood flowing and make sure you don’t end up chasing losses out of frustration. 6. When you win, cash out and enjoy the windfall – luck is a fickle creature and if you’ve been fortunate enough to land a tidy win then put in your pocket and enjoy it with your loved ones. Make a Plan and Stick to It 7. Decide ahead of time how much you will spend at the casino – budgeting is key to enjoying your time at a casino safely as it protects both your finances and diminishes stress. 8. Only play casino games for a predetermined amount of time – budgeting your time is as important as your money, play for a set amount of time then move onto something else. The casino will still be there tomorrow. 9. Decide ahead of time not to chase any losses – in the heat of the moment it can be easy to chase a loss, however by making a firm decision not to do so beforehand you will be aware of the urge to do so should it occur. 10. Get to know a VIP host or key customer service agent – having someone to speak to, who knows you, can be a great way to stop compulsive behaviour or figure out how to set limits on your account. Who better to help than a casino rep who knows the system inside and out? Manage Your Money 11. Only gamble with money you have available – avoid gambling with your credit card or money you’ve borrowed, losing money you need to pay back with interest is a double loss. 12. Find the best deposit and withdrawal methods for you – depending on the methods you use there are fees, transaction times and even bonuses you need to take into consideration. 13. Budget for progressive jackpot slots – progressive jackpot games like Mega Moolah are known for their outrageous payouts but they can be more expensive to wager on, be sure to create a side budget if you like these games. 14. Join a VIP or loyalty program – casinos offer great rewards, additional promotions, and more personalised service through these programs, all of which are great ways to maximise your entertainment. Learn About Your Hobby 15. Read up on game odds and return to player percentages – various game types offer differing odds of winning and require differing levels of skill, understanding these will help you enjoy the games and manage your budget. 16. Check out guides on casino bonus types – bigger is not always better, understanding the benefits and limitations of various bonus types will help you choose those that suit your playstyle and budget. 17. Take the time to read casino bonus terms and conditions – each casino will have their own set for terms for wagering, deposits, and withdrawals, to make sure you get the most from your bonus take a few minutes and read the fine print. 18. Take your time and test various games to find your favourites – before you spend your money playing a new game test it for free, this way you get to try all the available features and it doesn’t cost you anything. Safety First 19. Sign up and play at regulated casinos – choosing casinos licensed by recognised authorities such as the UKGC, MGA, Swedish Gaming Authority and others ensures you are playing a trustworthy site and that you have access to assistance should you feel the casino is not delivering on their promised service levels. 20. Choose casinos with good customer service reputations – while bonuses and features can grab your attention it is an online casino who takes care of your questions and resolves your queries swiftly that will always win the day. Start ahead of the pack by considering our GamblersPick Select casino partners. 21. Find trusted casinos who actively promote safer gambling tools – your financial and emotional health must always be a priority, any online casino actively promoting safer gambling strategies and tools shows they understand this and will be there for you however the chips may fall. We hope that these 21 tips help make your online gambling experience in 2021 more enjoyable and stress-free. Should you find yourself not enjoying your time online don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you trust and a safer gambling organisation in your area to ensure the experience remains a fun and entertaining – please don’t gamble with your health and wellbeing.
  8. Most casino games played both at land-based and online casinos involve a degree of luck when the outcomes roll-out. Even blackjack and poker, which are steeped in skill and strategy, involve the luck of the draw when your card hand is dealt out. Punters will grasp at anything possible to improve their odds in these luck-based environments, with some even resorting to superstitious rituals in a bid to earn good graces from the gambling gods. 10 Most Popular Casino Superstitions Below is a list of 10 of the most popular superstitions to circulate the gambling arena. Perhaps you might even recognise one or two good luck rituals that you, or a family member, adhere to when spending a night at the tables or when watching your favourite team play in an important tournament. ✓Itchy Hands? Scratch that Habit There is a long-held superstition that when your palms get itchy, money is coming your way. Perhaps someone has even said it to you in the past. This saying originates from Western Europe. In Bulgaria, if you suffer from ‘the itch’, it’s best you avoid the casino as it is said to be downright bad luck. Serbians hold the opposing view though, as do many other Westerners. In their region, if your hands are itchy, you better drop everything and hit the gambling halls or online casinos, for it’s a sign that money is on its way to you. ✓The Table is not for Counting It is commonly believed by gamblers worldwide that it is bad luck to count your money while you are still seated at the game table. It has become etched into casino etiquette in many regions, where the house will often advise their visitors to step away from the tables before counting their chips. It is such a big part of casino culture nowadays that Kenny Rogers included the practice in the lyrics of his hit song, ‘’The Gambler”. ✓Beware the Devil’s 13 Number 13 has had an unlucky connotation for hundreds of years. Have you ever noticed that hotels and skyscrapers do not have a 13th floor, or that Friday the 13th is a day that supposedly carries heaps of bad luck? Well, this superstition carries over to the gambling industry as well and it’s a wonder that casinos have not removed the number altogether from Roulette wheels and tables yet. Of course, there are those who fly in the face of lucky rituals and opt to play this number just to be otherwise. It would be interesting to see how often the number comes up, to be honest. ✓Faith in 8 While 13 is a number to avoid, many Eastern players have faith in 8. The combination of 888 holds the same degree of luck that 777 does in the Western World. "Did you know that 888 Casino used to be called Casino-on-net but switched to "888" when looking to enter the Asian market. The branding was so catchy, however, that it became their global identity." In China and other eastern countries, it is said that numbers that sound like words that are prosperous are considered good luck. The number 8 in Cantonese sounds similar to the word for wealth, therefore, it is regarded highly by gamblers. ✓Red is the Colour Another superstition that finds its origins in the East, is that the colour ‘red’ is lucky. The Chinese believe that the colour is a symbol of life, joy, and prosperity, so you will find that Asian players will commonly wear red when betting or attending casinos. It is thought that red garments, and especially undergarments, will appease the gods and cause their favour to shine on you. If you have played any number of slots and casino games that boast an Eastern theme, you will have realised that red is a very prominent colour in these titles. It is this colour that draws the superstitious crowds in. ✓Mob Money In America, accepting $50 bills from the cashier can be viewed as bad luck. This superstition ties back to the old mob era. When a mafia hitman killed someone, they would place a $50 bill in the victim’s pocket before they buried the body. Accepting $50 notes, therefore, holds a murderous connection with some US players who may refuse the payout in these denominations. ✓No Whistling Dixie According to some, gambling is a serious affair and should be treated as such, or it could anger the gambling gods. For this reason, whistling or singing at the table is frowned upon and it is believed that it could come back to haunt you in further rounds. Aside from the superstition behind the action, whistling and singing can be off-putting to other players and is just downright bad etiquette, so we would never condone it unless you are playing online. ✓Side Entrance Superstition Originally a Chinese superstition, it seems to have rubbed off in other parts of the world too. It is said that using the main entrance to a casino is bad luck. There are two reasons for this: It is believed that the doors are cursed by Feng Shui masters and using them will invoke bad fortune on your gambling endeavours. Rubbing shoulders with a loser will transfer the bad fortune to you. This is most likely to happen at the main entrance of the casino. If there is no other way into the establishment, be sure to dart in and out when the lines are thin to avoid contact. So, if you see a patron using the side door to access and leave the casino from now on, you know why. Perhaps it’s best that you start finding alternative entrances of your own to the establishment. Fortunately, this is not a worry for online casino gamblers. ✓Wash Away the Worry For those of you are on a losing streak, there is a simple remedy according to Eastern superstition. Simply head to the washbasin and wash your hands thoroughly. This in turn washes away all your poor luck. Winners, however, should not wash their hands, or else they may wash away their good fortunes and invoke some bad luck upon them. If only good fortune was this black and white and that access to good fortune was a given if you had access to a restroom with running water. We would observe the making of many more sanitary millionaires. ✓Betting Rituals 101 Some players use other small rituals when betting at the tables. These vary greatly from person to person. Some of the common ones include the way the chips are stacked, whether you blow on the dice before a throw or not, or whether you place chips with your left or right hand, and others. Often rituals and superstitions are personalised – things that work and don’t work for the individual. In many instances, players stumble across them while gambling. For example, you just so happened to have a great day of wins one day when you stacked your chips in a certain way, now you feel that the only way to repeat that fortune is to make sure the chips are laid out, in the same way, each time you gamble. Get Your Supersitions Here While some swear blind by many of these rituals, others regard them as flaky superstitious rubbish. The question that begs an answering here is – How has your luck been of late? Feel free to join the GamblersPick Community and leave us your thoughts on these and other gambling superstitions. Perhaps you have some to share that we haven't covered?
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