Given all the press that surrounds Bitcoin and the Blockchain these days, you may be surprised to find out that the cryptocurrency has been used in the online gambling space for quite some time now. In fact, many sites have gone a step further from simply accepting Bitcoin as a currency, with the ability to play in mBit currency an option at several sites. One site that lays claim to being the first to offer play in both crypto and traditional currencies is Bitstarz, the subject of this review.
Bitstarz hasn’t been around for all that long, having launched in 2015. Still, they claim to be the first site to allow you to play in both traditional currencies and mBit. While we cannot verify this information with exact certainty, we are certain that no one else seems to be jumping up to refute that claim, so we can just leave it there.
The site is registered to a company that is based in Curacao, which is also where Bitstarz gets its gaming license. None of this is of particular importance to our readers as the jurisdiction is particularly easy on operators and seems far more focused on getting their fees from licensees than policing them. Strangely enough, even though Curacao is a U.S.-friendly gaming jurisdiction, the United States and the UK are the only two countries that seem to be banned from accessing real money games on this site.
The Casino Games
Regardless of their claim that this is the first hybrid Bitcoin/Euro site, the list of software suppliers Bitstarz has amassed to provide games is awesome. The company’s platform is managed by Softswiss, a developer that not only provides games themselves but also built their system to allow easy integration with other vendors. Here are some of the companies who provide their games to Bitstarz:
- Booming Games
- Leander Games
- Play’n Go
- Yggdrasil Gaming
When we first hit the lobby at Bitstarz, we were curious to see what was listed in the “BTC Games” tab. While not all of the games are compatible with the cryptocurrency, there are a decent number of titles in this section, so if you are dead set on playing in BTC, then you will like seeing all the games filtered in this way.
The slots category is full of great games from across the libraries of Bitstarz’ partners. While we were hoping to see more jackpots than we found, that’s fine -there are lots of sites that feature those big progressives. Overall, we loved seeing all the different designs from each of the vendors, and with a couple hundred choices we were more than satisfied with our time testing the games.
Table Games players will find loads of choices in that section of the casino. From the classic versions of Blackjack and Roulette to many popular video poker titles, we were very thankful to see that this wasn’t as slots-heavy a site as we expected. Even still, we would always welcome the addition of a few more table game variants – you can never have too many!
There is a Live Casino that features tables from both Evolution Gaming and Asia Gaming. As you might suspect, each vendor has a different focus when it comes to the staff they have dealing the card, and having the option of both in the lobby means that players will no doubt find the exact table and dealer they want to maximize their experience.
The games put forth on the SoftSwiss platform are designed to be played without having to download a piece of software, which means they are compatible with most mobile devices. While you may find a couple of games missing from the lobby when you access the casino from your mobile browser, that shouldn’t affect your overall enjoyment. The games are fast and seem to have no lag when being played on phones or tablets.
The Welcome Bonus
The Welcome Bonus seems to have been drawn up a while ago when the value of Bitcoin was significantly lower. All players get 20 Free Spins just for creating an account, so there is really no excuse why you wouldn’t take advantage of that bonus at the very least.
The Welcome Bonus is split over 4 deposits and rewards players with up to 5 BTC in Match Bonuses. You can see what we mean about the age of this promotion as the value of 1 Bitcoin is hovering around $10,000 – the site couldn’t have meant players would receive up to $50,000 in bonuses, could they? Whatever the case, the bonuses break down as follows:
1st Deposit: 100% match to $100 or 1 BTC
2nd Deposit: 50% match to $100 or 1 BTC
3rd Deposit: 50% match to $200 or 2BTC
4th Deposit: 100% match to $100 or 1BTC
The Payment Options
You would think that a site that is very focused on allowing you to play games in mBit would also be as focused Bitcoin as a deposit method. While it is an option (along with Litecoin), Bitstarz recognizes that not everyone is going to be ready to enter the crypto market just yet, so they do offer a fair number of traditional currency alternatives.
- Alfa Click
- LAVA pay
- Online Bank Transfer
- Paysafe Card
- Perfect Money
- Yandex Money
- Bank transfer
- LAVA pay
- Yandex Money
The VIP Program
Despite everything that Bitstarz has to offer its players, it appears a VIP program isn’t part of the equation. We are not certain why the company has chosen to avoid some sort of loyalty program, but we will respect their decision for now. In the long run, the site will realize that their competitive advantage is gone, at which point you may just see the addition of a VIP Program of some sort.
The Support Department
With such a modern take on the online casino, we are happy to see the same approach to customer support. Bitcoin can be intimidating to the novice player, so the site invites players to their YouTube channel where there are videos explaining how the site works with cryptocurrency. There are also Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for the site, and these have quickly become the first line of support for many online gambling sites. Traditionalists can still use Live Chat, telephone and email customer service, all of which is available 24 hours a day.
The idea of depositing and playing casino games fully in cryptocurrency would have been a fantasy a few short years ago. Today, as Bitcoin seems to have taken over the general news feed, companies like Bitstarz have been offering this option to casino players for a couple of years. While they were the first in the industry to offer a hybrid site, the more important piece of information is that they have an excellent offering, with great promotions and a wonderful assortment of content from multiple providers. While we would like to see the Welcome Bonus be updated to reflect the value of BTC today and the addition of a VIP program, overall we like what we see at this site. Whether you are going to play in Bitcoin or Euro, we think you will enjoy your experience at Bitstarz.