Bitcoin

Bitcoins for Bodog?

Is Bodog, along with its US-facing site, Bovada, considering the introduction of Bitcoins as an online-payment processing channel?

bitcoinSeveral favorable articles concerning Bitcoins have been published by Bodog-related entities as of late, including a length feature at Bodog corporate mouthpiece CalvinAyre.com, and it seems reasonable that the Bodog corporate family is at least considering adding the non-governmental, virtual online currency to its offerings.

While there’s no hard evidence as of yet, the fact that Bodog continues to talk about Bitcoins in such a manner can’t be dismissed.  Right now, Bitcoins are being used as a dedicated medium by at least two small poker sites, the Bryan Micon-fronted Seals With Clubs and SwitchPoker, with some form of poker also having been offered at the BetCoin site.

Another site, the long-delayed Infiniti Poker, is scheduled to open later this month, using standard international currencied for non-US players while using Bitcoins only for Americans, necessitating the use of some ongoing, real-to-virtual exchange system that may well be why Infiniti has already been delayed for many months in its debut.

But there’s no doubt that larger sites are watching, and Bodog is among the established names that have been the most proactive in searching ways to continue servicing American players.  Not long after the 2007 enactment of regulations called for under the 2006 UIGEA, Bodog implemented a short-lived system where US players could buy phone-card credits, which could in turn be translated into dollars on Bodog’s site.

That system proved cumbersome, involved a lot of overhead and was eventually jettisoned in favor of simpler solutions such as Western Union, but Bodog’s willingness to try new systems and its celebrated “Catch Me If You Can” attitude towards US law enforcement efforts continue to make it one of the most likely of larger sites to give Botcoins a whirl.

It’s all just speculation, but it fits the general scene.

In the latest piece at CalvinAyre.com, “Why Bitcoin Can No Longer Be Ignored,” an anonymous CA guest writer leads in with a quote Calvin uttered about a year about the introduction of Bitcoin-style, virtual payment systems:

“Someone is going to figure out how to make this work and when they do, all the anti-gambling, over-regulating authoritarian governments will be exposed as emperors without clothes. It might not be obvious that this is even happening at first, since these systems are by definition stealthy affairs.” – Calvin Ayre, Dec. 2011

The piece then goes on to cite the example of SatoshiDice, which is today by far the largest Bitcoin-enabled online gambling site, and also introduces the fact that the nature of the Bitcoin algorithms themselves provide a mechanism for ensuring fair play, unlike the rigged games which have shown up at shady sites throughout the years.

That’s an interesting point, but it applies only to gambling forms incorporating the Bitcoin transfer mechanism as part of their random-number generation process, not for sites that merely use Bitcoins as a transaction medium and remain dedicated to separate client software.

Nonetheless, some of the Bitcoin love in the CA piece remains pie in the sky.  For instance, this:

1) Payment delays are a thing of the past, both inbound and outbound to any country. Goodbye Visa, PayPal, and a thousand clones that all rely on the same decrepit banking system.

Well, in principle.  In reality, Visa and MC and Amex aren’t going anywhere soon.  Bitcoins involve a h-u-g-e barrier to entry, and simply because of that and that alone, they are unlikely to be embraced by the mainstream any time soon.  They will remain an option for two separate populations — overly techie types in love with the virtual-currency concept, and those who simply wish their online transactions to not be trackable by traditional governmental means.

Bodog’s long been something of an anti-governmental entity anyway; love ’em or hate ’em, that’s who they are.  And because of it, it’s why of a large site does take the plunge and incorporate Bitcoins as an online payment system, it’s likely to be the boys at Bodog.

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