We first alerted you to the presence of Bitcoin in September of last year, following up with a piece concerning the virtual currency’s possible US appearance in January this year. With more than 700,000 physical US locations selling Bitcoins, including many Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven stores, the enigmatic and oft misunderstood currency form has been gaining in popularity and acceptance around the globe. Just recently, Bitcoin inked a deal with WinPoker, which has now become the first major gambling operator to offer Bitcoins as a deposit method.
WinPoker also announced that the open currency can also be used as a withdrawal method for anyone which has an account with them on the iPoker network. Bitcoin is seen by some as a possible savior for those companies attempting to offer online gambling in countries like the United States, where stringent banking laws and federal regulations make it difficult and expensive to offer traditional account funding methods.
This acceptance by a major online gaming firm is a huge feather in the cap of Bitcoin, and will no doubt be backed up by other online gambling companies who understand the many benefits of offering Bitcoin acceptance as well as the typical deposit methods. iPoker is made up of more than 30 different brands, including European bookmaking giants like Paddy Power, Bet365, Betfair and William Hill. That makes them far and away the largest online poker room network operating at the international level.
It also marks them as the fourth largest provider of cash game action online, behind titans PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker. There are so many positives to the Bitcoin currency model that acceptance by such a powerful online poker provider was simply a matter of time. Funds clear immediately, and transactions are irreversible. Payment processing fees are nearly nonexistent compared to traditional deposit methods and banking options, and since the currency is a peer to peer entity, and not backed by any particular currency, it is currently not subject to most countries’ banking regulations.
James Lewis is the Head of Poker Games for WinPoker, and he stated that Bitcoins allow his company to now take either small or large deposits extremely quickly, with a very low level of risk or fraud. He also pointed out that players in areas of poor financial infrastructure are now given a level playing field, and the wait of several days and sometimes more than a week for bank wire transfers is not a problem with the instantaneous Bitcoin currency model. The smaller SealsWithClubs online poker operator is a bitcoin-only site, and a spokesperson for that company said he believes this recent development will help “the bitcoin poker space (to) explode in 2013.”
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