As the decade comes to an end, one of the biggest things the 2010s will be remembered for is the rise of technology. How we live, how we work, how we make purchases, and how we have fun are all being forever changed by technology. Two of the most popular technological booms of the last 10 years have been the increased popularity of online gambling and the rise of cryptocurrency. While these two things may not seem related at first, they very much are. In fact, they are becoming even more related as we head into the 2020s because more casinos, both online and off are embracing cryptocurrencies. The relationship between these two multi-billion dollar industries has a chance to be massive if they continue to grow together. Here is why so many casinos are allowing for cryptocurrency payments this year.
Cryptocurrency and online gambling
Always on the cutting edge of technological advancements, the online casino industry was quick to embrace cryptocurrency, specifically Bitcoin, when it first came to prominence a few years ago. Since the trend started, numerous online casinos have begun to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as both a way to deposit currency and as a way to withdraw your winnings just as you would with any other banking method. There are now even Bitcoin-only online casinos where that is the only form of currency they accept.
Using this form of currency for online casinos is attractive to both the casinos and the players. Because of the blockchain technology, which is the basis of cryptocurrency, cuts out the need for banks and other financial institutions who require large fees and amounts of time to process money transactions into casinos and out to players is faster and less expensive. Everyone involved in these types of online casinos considers this a win.
Benefits of cryptocurrency in online casinos
In addition to cutting the banks out of the online casino experience, there are other benefits that have led to the rise in online cryptocurrency casinos. With all the data leaks and hacks that happen nowadays on a seemingly regular basis, gambling with cryptocurrency is a way you can use online casinos anonymously and not worry as much about security. Also, when players travel to locations where online gambling may not be legal, that same anonymity can allow them to place bets where traditional banking would not.
Cryptocurrency and physical casinos
As of the end of 2019, gambling in physical casinos around the world using cryptocurrency has not panned out yet and, while many people in the industry are trying to figure it out, it does not seem like it will happen in the very near future. This is especially true in the United States. There is one casino in the world that does take Bitcoin for gambling purposes. That is the Merit Hotel Nicosia in Cyprus.
Why are there not more physical casinos allowing cryptocurrency gambling? Dale Ellard from Online Casino Gems explains, “It all comes down to regulation. Every rule, regulation, statute, and accounting standard in Las Vegas and elsewhere in the U.S. is based on a standard monetary unit like the dollar. The whole industry just finds that there is too much fluctuation and uncertainty in crypto at this point use it in a physical casino.” Ellard continued saying, “There will come a time when the demand gets loud enough they will have to figure it out, but for now, they are perfectly fine only accepting cold, hard, cash.”
The argument for cryptocurrency in physical casinos
Two main drivers are starting to push on physical casinos to start to consider allowing cryptocurrency gambling. One is the desire to attract young, tech-savvy people who more interested in the latest and greatest tech than their parents and grandparents who have kept casinos thriving as-is for years.
The other issue is that casinos are still largely cash businesses and that does not always sit that well with the federal government and law enforcement. With all-cash gaming, there is a much bigger threat of illegal activities such as counterfeiting and money-laundering. Many in the law enforcement industry would like to see casinos move away from cash so that they would be harder for criminals to use to further their illegal pursuits.
Casinos allowing cryptocurrency payments
Just because gambling in physical casinos with cryptocurrency is not currently legal though does not mean the cryptocurrency industry is not hitting these establishments. Like many innovative and forward-thinking businesses, there are some early adopters in the Las Vegas hotel and casino industry that have started accepting Bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment. Since 2014, when Bitcoin had just burst onto the national scene, both The D Las Vegas Casino and Hotel and the Golden Gate Casino and Hotel announced that they would begin taking bitcoin payments of things like hotel rooms, restaurants and other on-site vendors such as the gift shop.
While two casinos do not exactly make a trend, it does give insight as to where in the world of physical casinos cryptocurrencies can start to make inroads. In the past, Vegas revenue was largely gambling-related but that has changed. Today, non-gaming revenue now makes up about two-thirds of all the revenue generated at properties on the Las Vegas strip, making it the core of the business now. Allowing new, innovative forms of payments from non-gaming entities is a way that the already profitable industry can see increases in their bottom line.
Cryptocurrencies are the new economic frontier and, what was considered simply a novelty in the last decade is quickly transitioning into a possible economic revolution as we approach the new decade. Online casinos are on the crest of this wave and stand to benefit hugely as the new, technologically advanced currency continues to grow. And, while physical casinos are happy to stay put in their old ways at the moment, they will start to embrace it off the casino floor and most experts agree, will have to reevaluate their stance on cryptocurrency gambling at some point in the not-so-distant future.