We already understand the benefits of cryptocurrency for the gaming industry, but what about the world of sports? Could cryptocurrency become a key benefit for professional sports such as football, basketball, and golf? While we may be some way off players receiving their salaries in Bitcoin, there is one aspect of sports that is already making the move towards the blockchain. And yes, you guessed right – we’re talking about sports betting.
Is it available right now?
Yes and no. While there are certainly betting sites out there that deal exclusively in cryptocurrency, these online bookmakers aren’t around all that long. With this in mind, players are more than a little reluctant to place their complete trust in a betting provider with no more than a year or two of betting history.
There are also some established providers that allow deposits in cryptocurrencies, but these are few and far between. The major players in the industry have yet to embrace cryptocurrency, but some will allow deposits through the likes of Neteller, who will then exchange your cryptocurrency for the local currency as required by the provider. This is a temporary solution that many fans seem happy enough with, but technically speaking, it’s not betting with cryptocurrency.
What are the benefits?
The most obvious benefit is the chance to remain anonymous when betting online. For some fans this might not seem so important, but it’s still a considerable advantage. Say, for example, you deposit funds with a regular provider. You will need to give them a significant amount of personal information to make your bets.
While cryptocurrencies aren’t 100% anonymous, there’s no need to provide sensitive personal or financial information to the betting provider.
Betting with cryptocurrencies may also reduce the costs to the fan. With no banking fees and minimal charges to send and receive the currency in question, fans can bet knowing that practically all of their winnings belongs to them.
But perhaps the most significant benefit is speed. Traditional banking methods allow for instant deposits, but withdrawals can take days and sometimes even as long as a week. With cryptocurrencies, the withdrawal process is not only incredibly easy, but also extremely fast. Any delays in processing your withdrawal payment will usually number in the hours as opposed to days.
Of course, the delays involved in traditional banking methods are usually in no way the fault of the bookmaker. That is often down to the banks themselves as they will often keep a hold of funds for a day or two regardless of whether or not it is necessary.
Money in your hands quicker and fewer fees to pay? Sounds like the ideal way to bet as far as we’re concerned.
What sports will be most popular?
Internationally followed sports would be the biggest markets for sports betting with crypto. Take for example golf, a sport that isn’t traditionally considered a major betting industry. However, if we take a look at an odds comparison site, we’ll see that there’s a huge market for betting on the sport internationally, with odds available on all the major tournaments offered by the biggest providers in the industry.
The fact that cryptocurrencies have no geographical limitations makes them extremely attractive to fans who bet on sports abroad. So we might have golf fans in Europe who want to bet on the US Open or the Masters. While they can currently do so with their local betting providers, not all geographical locations will offer these options. Bet with cryptocurrency and there are no such limitations.
With this in mind, we imagine that sports local sports such as the NFL, MLB, and NBA which are hugely popular abroad will also do quite well with international fans, as these are the sports that they may not be able to bet on locally.
Are there any disadvantages?
The most significant disadvantage is the volatile nature of the cryptocurrency industry. With cryptocurrency valuations known to fluctuate considerably on a daily basis, fans may worry that a bet made last month will be worth less once the sporting event actually comes around.
Having said that, the reverse is also true. A fan who bets and wins may find that they have won more than they initially expected to due to a rise in value. It’s a risk that many fans would be more than willing to take given that values rarely fall too far over short periods of time.
Another disadvantage is that to spend winnings, fans will often have to convert their cryptocurrency back into their local currency. This conversion often incurs a fee. This could be anywhere from 0.25% all the way up to a rather exorbitant 5%. This is still better than the fees they will pay with traditional banking methods, but it’s worth bearing in mind that should you withdraw your winnings in your local currency, you will certainly need to pay a fee.
What about taxes?
This is one thing you cannot avoid. While it depends on where you live in the world, it goes without saying that you will need to pay taxes of some kind on your winnings. Some providers may deduct this tax directly from your winnings to pay it on your behalf, while others will expect you to handle this yourself.
It’s crucial that you make yourself fully aware of the regulations in your country regarding tax and earnings or winnings in the form of cryptocurrency. This is your responsibility and saying you “forgot to check” won’t wash with the local tax authorities. Do your homework and pay your taxes and all will be good.
Hopefully as time goes by and more and more real-world enterprises understand the value of using cryptocurrency, we’ll see more established betting providers offer cryptocurrency services. As it stands, the online sports betting industry is still relatively new particularly in the US. And so the current unavailability of cryptocurrency options isn’t necessarily a long-term issue. Trust us – with time, betting on sports with cryptocurrency will become par for the course.