Bitcoin-only sportsbook BetVIP has launched to coincide with this week’s kickoff of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. BetVIP soft-launched earlier this year but is now ramping up the public relations after officially receiving its online gaming license from Curacao regulators last week.
BetVIP founder Daniel Schwartzkopff told Business Day Live that his site didn’t really require a license, given its sole use of the Bitcoin crypto-currency means it’s operating in a largely unregulated space, but the license added legitimacy and improved the online betting site’s long-term prospects. (That said, a Costa Rica license didn’t prevent Coinbet.cc from abruptly closing its doors in April and leaving customers out hundreds of thousands of dollars, so caveat emptor still applies.)
The Cape Town- and Malta-based BetVIP boasts an online platform courtesy of fellow South Africans BetTech Gaming. Schwartzkopff says his site doesn’t accept customers from the US because sports betting is illegal outside Nevada. Instead, BetVIP has chosen to focus on markets in Europe but also in China, where sports betting is similarly illegal, but you know, that market is bloody enormous, so what the hell…
This week also saw the launch of Bitbook.ie, a parimutuel Bitcoin sportsbook. Unlike rival Bitcoin books, there is no need to set up accounts or maintain balances, as Bitbook.ie tracks bets by generating unique Bitcoin addresses for each match or event. As such, Bitbook.ie is only compatible with Bitcoin wallets that support specifying unique sender addresses, but on the plus side, there’s no need for withdrawal requests as winnings are paid out immediately upon completion of the event in question. Although the site lists fixed-odds for information purposes, bettors wager against each other, not the house, with winners sharing the pool of losing wagers. Bitbook.ie currently accepts wagers on football (FIFA-style and NFL), baseball, basketball, hockey, tennis, rugby, volleyball, boxing, MMA and more.