BitStarz also got plenty of awards – for instance, they’ve been named the best crypto casino, and they got an award for best support. So we chatted with them to see if there are any weak spots (just kidding, or maybe not!?).
Tell me a little bit about yourself first, you’re the VIP players manager at BitStarz, right? What do you do? What is that position?
I have to confess that at BitStarz, we’re notoriously horrible with titles in general because we still have that weird startup mentality where one person does a lot of different things. So one title doesn’t necessarily explain what a person is doing because they could be doing a lot of different things and everybody can’t have the jack-of-all-trades title, I guess. But besides taking care of VIPs, which of course is a big part of what I do, I tend to do a lot of other things as well, which is like interviewing candidates for BitStarz. So I do interviews to bring more people in. I do some content, some anti-fraud. I deal with disputes and complaints. People see me in forums on occasion. So it’s quite a multifaceted role that I have there. The only thing that I absolutely have no clue about is the coding and the tech part. I’m a complete idiot, and I embrace that and I understand my limits (laughs).
What is the craziest thing about your job? Your Live Bet Stream for BitStarz’s 9th birthday, maybe?
Yeah, it’s crazy for me personally because I’m not a streamer, so it was basically just throwing me into the ocean and see if I could swim or not. That’s pretty much the situation. And the thing is, it always sort of looks so, so easy, but when you’re sitting there and all eyes are on you, it’s really not. It takes some getting used to, but I really enjoyed it, I have to say. And there might be more streams in the future, so I think I’ve done a handful so far, and I realized that it will take a lot more attempts for me to be comfortable doing it, but, yeah, I think I’m getting there. So for me personally, that is pretty crazy.
Yeah, sounds like it.
So what’s pretty cool about Livespins as well is that people don’t just tune in and watch me say stupid stuff and play some games, but they can actually bet behind, which means that we can win together, we lose together.
At the same time we also had a cash back offer, so worst case scenario, they would get a cash back and I got to keep my job (laughs). But it really depends on when you start betting behind, I guess, because I think, all in all, I probably lost a little bit, but if you tuned in midstream and started to bet behind, I think we were actually up quite a bit. So there were a few players who doubled their money and more. It was a fun experience, I got to say.
BitStarz has a ton of games to choose from. I’m just thinking, if I’m a beginner, or not even, and I come to your casino and see thousands of different games, I would get overwhelmed. What is the best way to start playing and to choose a game? Can you walk me through that?
Yeah absolutely. And I totally understand where people are coming from. It’s rather overwhelming to see such a vast selection of games. And this is something that isn’t really necessarily unique to BitStarz. But beginners in any online casino will be presented with so many games, so many themes, so many providers, and it’s very hard to keep track of what is what. So at BitStarz we have this onboarding process, which means that when you signed up you get prompted with this window asking you very simple questions, such as if you like table games or slot games. And basically, based on all of these questions you get prompted with games that suit you and are most relevant to you. So that narrows it down a little bit.
Which games are the most popular?
When it comes to popular games, it’s a little bit tricky because if somebody’s listening to this interview in the future, it might be the case that the game I’m mentioning is already sort of redundant and people have forgotten about it. Because there’s constantly new games coming out, there’s constantly new providers popping up everywhere. But we have a section at Bitstarz.com called ‘Top games’ and that is constantly changing. So the best way to find out what is the most popular game at BitStarz right now is to go to bitstarz.com, because there you will actually see in real time which game is most popular. We also have to bear in mind that in terms of popularity, certain games are popular in certain countries. So it could be that one game is super popular in one country, but people in other countries hate it.
So at the moment, it is Elvis Frog in Vegas.
Yeah, sounds about right. Yeah, don’t ask me questions about Elvis Frog. It’s so weird (laughs).
You also have a bunch of your own games that you’re developing. How did that happen to be? Why did you decide to do so?
So the interesting thing about crypto casinos is that the core of many crypto casinos are the so called simple games like Plinko and Limbo and Dice and all of these games that you would look at them and think, okay, why is anybody playing these? Because you have all of these other very sophisticated slot machines like Family guy or South park. So why would somebody resort to playing a dice game? But we realized that these are super popular in the crypto community and they are easy to develop. At least a lot easier than going down the route of hiring 300 people to do design and the sophisticated mechanics of slots and whatnot. So again, we saw the popularity and we decided to try to make them ourselves.
And also there’s something to be said for simple games in general, is that if the idea is good, they will always stand the test of time. And what I mean by that is that if you’re only relying on graphics that will basically be obsolete next year because there will be better graphics out there and your game won’t be popular anymore. But to this day people still play GameBoy and eight-bit Nintendo and all of these things and it’s definitely not because the graphics is good, it’s simply because the idea is cool.
You have a selection on your website highlighting the biggest wins ranging from $50 to $700,000. Tell me, what is the all-time high in wins?
So this happened a few years back. We had one guy who won I think almost $2.5 million in one game round. So it still stands as the biggest win in BitStarz’s history and it was on a game called Azrabah Wishes from Game Art, I believe. And the thing that sort of stands out with this win is that normally when you see wins that are in the millions, it’s usually a jackpot. But this was actually not a jackpot win, it was a regular game win. So to see that regular game and being 2.5 million, is rather crazy.
We’re still looking for somebody to break the record, but it’s been over a couple of years, I think it’s almost three, actually, and nobody has beaten it yet. So go to BitStarz and try to beat it!
Yeah. It’s about time! Do you remember what happened after they won that money? Did they cash it out or they kept playing?
That is a very good question. So this player who won this amount actually started to cash out. And something that we are super proud of at BitStarz is the fast withdrawals. And as this winner was cashing out, we were processing, I think, at the time, the withdrawal was with an average speed of ten minutes.
Unfortunately not everyone is so lucky. We have one comment on our website, somebody claiming that they were playing at your casino, and they’re saying other sites are much better at paying out. They apparently never win at your casino. What can you do for someone like this?
First of all, I sympathize with somebody who’s very unlucky. I really do, because I think anybody who has played casino before and they have put in their $50 or $100 or even more and then been spinning for ages and hit nothing, it’s really frustrating. So I totally understand the frustration. I don’t want to take those feelings away from anybody. But one thing that is worth mentioning is that we, as a casino, we always wish to improve. We always want to do better, we want to make the experience better. But there are certain things that are out of our control. We cannot control the outcome of the games, we have no control over the payout, and neither does the game supplier. So that is an aspect of the casino that we can’t change. We can change the bonuses, we can provide better service but the payout percentage is not up to us.
And it might be the case that for this particular player, he has had a better payout experience in another casino and it could be vice versa for another player that they’re doing better at BitStarz than this other casino. And that is just part of the gambling experience, it’s ups and downs and that’s what makes it interesting. You don’t know if you’re going to hit the jackpot on the next spin.
Would you recommend they continue or maybe take a break, and come back at a later point?
For me, I respect people more than telling them they should ditch that other casino because we’re better and eventually it’s going to pay out here. All I’m going to do is explain how it is. The same game that they’re playing on this other site has just as high a probability of paying at BitStarz as that other place. But this is your money and you decide what you want to do with it.
Withdrawals are something that, in this industry in general, players are often struggling with. And can you maybe give some insight or some tips on how this can actually be done smoothly?
It’s probably one of the biggest pain points from a player’s perspective and causes for a lot of frustration because casinos are very happy to accept deposits with a click of a button, but when people want to get their money out, suddenly, it’s a very complicated process. And out of respect for our players, we put a lot of emphasis to try to make the withdrawal process as smooth as possible. People trust us with depositing their hard earned money to BitStarz, and we want to sort of reciprocate that courtesy. If it’s easy to deposit, should be just as easy to withdraw those funds. And at BitStarz we display live what the average cash out time was in the past 24 hours, so people can actually track in real-time.
Okay, so what is the average cash out right now?
I think last year it was around seven minutes on average. And although it’s something I’m very proud of, I still think that we can do a lot better, and we will. So we have some things in place and some ideas that will further bring down that average cash-out time. And the problem normally with withdrawals, especially at BitStarz, but in other establishments too, is that we’re only as good as our payment service providers. If you’re making a bank withdrawal, for example, we might be very quick at processing the withdrawal, but then you give it to the bank and basically, it just gets put in some weird pile and nobody looks at it for days. So it’s out of our hands at that point. And that’s why we are encouraging our players to use crypto.
And the reason why we are encouraging our players to do so is not because it’s hugely beneficial to us as a casino, but it enhances the player experience. They have more control over their money, it’s faster, it’s more simple, and they don’t have to deal with the annoyance of having to wait like five days to get their money.
But what else can players do besides switching to crypto?
One thing that could slow things down would be if we have asked them for certain documents, like a KYC and they’re not following the instructions or maybe misread them. Because if we ask them to send a picture of your ID, proof of address, and all that stuff, it’s very important to have the details as we ask for them. So no blurry photos, make sure everything is visible. And if it’s the case that somebody is submitting an ID where we can’t even read the text, then that is going to prolong the process of verification and mean that the withdrawal process will be slow as well. But that’s only going to be a problem in the verification process, and after that, it should be smooth sailing. But again, I really think switching to crypto is the absolute best thing that our players can do.
While you offer ten cryptocurrencies at your casino to play with, do you follow the market demand and respond to the current popularity of a particular currency or how does it work?
We try to follow it quite closely. The reason why we are limiting the number of cryptocurrencies that we’re accepting is not because we couldn’t accept more. We definitely could. But at the same time, we want to make sure that players have a good experience and we want to ensure that the currency that people are depositing in can be used for wagering. And there we’re only as good as our game suppliers because the game providers are the ones that decide which currencies can be used on their games. So it could be the case that we could accept a certain cryptocurrency and then they come to BitStarz and they can play like five games. And we feel like that would kind of be deceiving our players and wouldn’t really call for a good experience.
So we try to make sure that if they deposit in a certain crypto, there is a selection of games that they can actually play.
Do you have any plans in the future to add another currency or you’re sticking with the selection you have?
Oh, no, we’ll be continuously adding more currencies, for sure, and also make sure that a lot of them can be sort of converted into fiat upon deposit, and by doing so, they can play all kinds of games.
Well, especially players who play with crypto, value their anonymity. And I’m wondering what’s your stand on that and how anonymous can players be at BitStarz?
I think integrity and privacy is something that everybody values. And in terms of anonymity, there’s this misconception, people think that everybody who uses Bitcoin is anonymous, and that’s not necessarily true. It’s more pseudo-anonymous than anything because every transaction is public information. If you want to buy crypto and you go to an exchange, they will KYC you.
And as a licensed casino, we have rules and regulations to follow, and one of them is doing KYC on our players. So I think that based on that, it’s hard for people to be anonymous gambling at BitStarz and online in general. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not valuing people’s integrity and privacy because all the documents that they send to us are kept very safe. And we only ask for the documents that we’re obligated to do. We don’t ask for anything extra.
As mentioned earlier, BitStarz won a bunch of prizes. We are talking Best Crypto Casino, Best Support, Players’ Choice, what is next?
We’re super grateful for all the awards that we received. We received quite a few and every time we get one it’s a very humbling experience, because we don’t expect anything, and when we do receive it we’re very happy. But to be quite honest, it’s never sort of our intention to go for awards. We rather put our efforts into making a good product and providing a good experience for our players and if that results in an award, that’s great.
But if there is an organization that gives out awards and they would want us to send in a six-page essay as to why we should win an award, that’s not what we’ll do. It’s not that important to us in that sense. And also there’s a huge inflation in awards in general and I think an award is only as good as the organization that gives it out.