Betcoin.ag, an online gambling site that was one of the first to deal exclusively in cyber currency, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum, closed its poker room on Christmas day. The online casino and sportsbooks are still active.
The use of Bitcoin – and later other cyber currencies – started getting popular in the online poker world a few years ago (Betcoin.ag launched in 2014). Free of centralized bank control and perhaps more importantly, government regulation, Bitcoin has been used as a way for poker players to get their funds to and from online poker sites without worrying about sketchy payment processors and various workarounds.
The extreme runup in the value of Bitcoin – as well as its volatility – has caused some problems, though. Transaction costs have soared; it could cost a player $20 or more just to deposit $20 worth of Bitcoin. Rake at some sites has also skyrocketed, though some, like SwCPoker, have been proactive about lowering it. And the volatility can quite literally make someone lose money while they win at poker. Granted, a sharp drop in Bitcoin’s value would cause someone to lose money regardless of whether or not their Bitcoin was tied up in a poker room, but it could still result in the crypto currency being an unattractive funding method for players.
None of this is to say that the recent Bitcoin insanity has anything to do with Betcoin shutting down its poker room. Betcoin’s official reason is that it has been acquired by another company/site. We don’t know who purchased Betcoin, nor do we even know who owned it in the first place. It is one of the most mysterious poker sites on the internet.
Betcoin Poker might not really be missed, either. Players have had many problems with the site, stemming from allegedly shady activities by management. One incident that got publicity in the poker community was when Betcoin busted a collusion ring, but rather than banning the cheaters and giving funds back to the victims, Betcoin only gave some of the money back, using the rest to fund a freeroll. The cheaters were also allowed to keep playing on the site “under a strict watchful eye” and were permitted to keep some of the money.
The beginning of Betcoin’s farewell statement is as follows:
Betcoin.ag has been acquired and we regret to inform you that the new Betcoin will be discontinuing its poker service as of Monday, December 25, 2017. There are lots of fond memories to look back upon including the Betcoin Cage, the Daily Coin and hundreds of Bitcoin awarded in freerolls. We enjoyed posting about the achievements of our many players who hit it big with wins in major tournaments. But most of all, we have truly enjoyed providing a home to our great poker players these last 3+years. Betcoin poker hasn’t been just a place to play, but a community filled with unique individuals. The dynamic has been almost like a family, in that we loved, we fought, sometimes even dined together (virtually). While this is a big disappointment to us all, we hope to continue that type of camaraderie going forward as Betcoin moves into its next chapter.
The site reiterated that the casino and sportsbook are going nowhere and that player accounts there will not be affected.