Sorry for laying this out here. I am more than willing to delete this post if I have overstepped any boundries.
Not at all! I'm glad you asked.
Firstly, the rates for deposit and withdrawal are both locked in when you successfully submit a request. So even though we took a few hours to process it, we did actually do it at the rate our servers got from Tradehill when you made the request, which it looks like was $10.88 at 8:29am GMT. Now -- we do use the Tradehill "ask" rate for deposits and the "bid" rate for withdrawals...so it could be you noticed the "ask" rate in the deposit window (it changes when you change the menu to withdraw)...and it could be it was just a wide spread at the time. Also, the deposit/withdrawal doesn't update the rate live, it only gets it once from Tradehill when the window is opened. When we actually processed the morning withdrawals, the live rate was about $10.80, so we did save a little BTC over if you had withdrawn later in the day. If something other than what I'm describing actually happened, let me know...but when we process withdrawals, our servers don't check the rate again, so I'm pretty sure this is how it went down.
Which leads to your other question, about letting people play in Bitcoins. There's been a lot of interest in this from the BTC community. But the truth is, we're planning on branching out to other payment methods in coming months, and also trying to attract players who view Bitcoin as a short-term, in and out payment method, and aren't necessarily looking to keep their money in BTC. It would be a massive operation to try and convert the site's internal currency now that we're running, and we're not sure it makes sense for us. Initially we were thinking about spinning off a whole separate site that would only run in BTC, but it was too much operational overhead, and we didn't want to split the small crowd we were expecting in BTC from the 100-ish beta testers we already had on-site.
To your question about players using us as a de-facto bank or bond, it's a very good point, and there's been some talk about that among us recently since last week's earnings were basically wiped out over the last 2 days by the BTC drop. We're bullish on BTC, but being dollar-denominated, we move most of our cash to USD so that we aren't exposed to excessive currency risk. (Normal fluctuations in gambling revenue are bad enough
). We've had one guy just stick a bunch of bitcoins on the site and never play, which we're somewhat suspicious about, and we're considering a revision to the TOS that would basically tell people who do things like that, their money will be placed on reserve and may take a few days to withdraw because we're going to consider it out of play, discard it from our float amount and move it into a dollar-denominated account.
Right now, we maintain only between 2-3x total player holdings in BTC at any given time for immediate large paybacks. Behind that we have a buffer in USD on Tradehill, and behind that the other 90% or so of the casino's float is in banks, on PayPal, and in a forex basket of Euros and CHF. We've tried to spread the currency risk out so that no one calamity will bring us down.
Hope this answers some questions. We're still getting our feet and trying to deal with everything at once, so answering things like this actually helps me get a handle, in my own mind, on what our policies will be and how we'll respond to all kinds of things we haven't encountered before.