The Case for and Against Crypto Being Used in Casinos

Since its inception, bitcoin has fascinated people. Initially, it was treated as a gimmick, and internet users gave them away on forums as a form of reward. The first-ever transaction cost a (now) ludicrous 10,000 bitcoins. And all for just two pizzas.

 

Since bitcoin has entered the mainstream though, its value has shot up, and down, and up again, many times. 10,000 bitcoins today would buy significantly more than just two pizzas. In fact, bitcoin was expected to surge upwards again in October ’21, perhaps as high as $63,000 per coin.

 

From being used on the dark web for sometimes dubious transactions, bitcoin has now managed to find itself useful in more acceptable retail sales. Starbucks and Whole Foods accept bitcoin, as do Microsoft on their online platform.

 

Of course, bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency, there are now countless imitators trying to find users and investors. One place that hasn’t taken to cryptocurrency completely, is the casino industry.

 

Why is the casino industry confused over cryptocurrencies?

Gaming regulators across the states do not allow any form of digital payment on the gaming floors. This means simply that as it currently stands, land-based casinos cannot accept crypto of any form, even bitcoin.

 

Nevada gaming regulators were meeting in June this year to discuss the possibility of using virtual currencies in the future, but this is only one state out of the whole country.

 

Many states in the US demand that tokens are used on gaming floors instead of cash. Hence the use of casino chips. To allow crypto to be used in casinos would mean an overhaul of the regulations, and there is no guarantee all states would follow.

 

Why might casinos turn to cryptocurrency in the future?

One good reason for casinos to use bitcoin and other cryptos soon is simply to increase revenue. Casinos are all about making money, they aren’t social clubs, and they aren’t charities. Casinos exist to try and part you from your hard-earned cash…or perhaps crypto soon.

 

The gambling industry was worth over $260 billion in 2019 before the pandemic stuck. When all land-based gaming rooms were forced to close, that revenue dropped. Las Vegas saw the number of visitors more than half in 2020 when compared to the previous year.

 

Now the doors are open again, many players are still staying away. One survey showed that a large percentage of people have said that they will try and avoid cash in the future. This is directly due to the risk of the virus being spread through banknotes.

 

Do any land-based casinos use cryptocurrency?

There are one or two traditional casinos that accept bitcoin, but not in the states. You would need to head out a bit further to play poker.

 

Seven years ago, Merit Hotel Nicosia in northern Cyprus decided to accept bitcoin in both the hotel and casino area of their resort.

 

Strangely this doesn’t seem to have caught on as much as might have been expected. This is perhaps because of regulations in different countries and bitcoin not being seen as a legitimate currency in most regions.

 

Japan has accepted bitcoin as a recognized currency, but if you want to hit the poker table, don’t book your flight just yet. Most forms of gambling are outlawed in Japan so there are no casinos. 

 

Do any online casinos accept crypto?

The one area of the casino industry that did really well during the pandemic was the online sector. Millions of new players signed up to sportsbooks and casinos online so that they could bet on sports, or play slots and poker.

 

Anyone wanting to enjoy online betting only has to search for a casino or sportsbook and sign up. Once a deposit has been made, bets can be placed online at any time you wish.

 

And it is that convenience that is keeping some players online and away from the more traditional casinos. Also, many of them accept bitcoin and other digital currencies. 

 

What is the state of cryptocurrency in online casinos?

Bitcoin casinos are popular with people who prefer to use crypto, and there are some good reasons for this. However, there are also some risks.

 

Because bitcoin is not recognized as a currency in many countries, it means that online casinos that only accept crypto do not need to be regulated or licensed. Anyone using an online casino should look to make sure that it is fully licensed and regulated.

 

It is often a good idea to use online casinos that have well-known brands behind them such as MGM, Ladbrokes, or LVBET, for instance.

 

One reason that online bitcoin casinos are popular is due to privacy. If you don’t want your bank to know what is going on then bitcoin is the way. This also helps if you are in a country where online casinos are banned and card payments can be blocked by banks. 

 

What arguments are there for using crypto in casino resorts?

If crypto were allowed in casino resorts it would negate the need for so much human contact. The CDC has promoted the use of digital currencies and contactless payment platforms. This would lessen the chances of spreading Covid.

 

It would also help to attract more players to return. There are plenty of benefits when using crypto in online casinos, and there could be plenty for resorts too.

 

The privacy of a customer would be greater. Security would be improved for both the casino and the player too. There would be no need to carry large amounts of cash, and games could be cashed out at the table.

 

There are already bitcoin ATMs in some casino hotels, and the use of bitcoin payments could spread throughout the resort to restaurants and room payments. 

 

What about the negatives of crypto being used in casinos?

One problem with crypto is that not everyone uses it. The vast majority of bitcoin holders are long-term investors, and quite possibly have no interest in visiting a casino.

 

This would mean that casinos would still have to carry cash so not all the benefits of crypto would be seen. Also, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be very volatile which can be good, or bad, for the casino and the player.

 

The public comments and tweets from Elon Musk have seen the value of the dogecoin rocket, plummet, and surge again. This shows just how volatile crypto can be.

 

Then there are the regulations to consider. There would have to be a re-examining of the gaming regulations. Cryptocurrency may also need to be recognized as a genuine currency in its own right. 

 

Summary

Cryptocurrency continues to make headlines with the astonishing highs and lows of bitcoin. Elon Musk’s $1.5 billion purchase of bitcoin was done with the announcement that Tesla would start accepting crypto as payment for its products.

 

Online casinos adopted crypto sometime ago, and are using it for deposits and payments on its many games. Sports betting sites also take crypto now in some instances. If these sites are properly licensed, there should be no risk to the player from using crypto.

 

Whether land-based casinos will follow suit remains to be seen. As an alternative to using cash and reducing the need for human contact is a plus, but regulations are currently standing in the way. If it does happen, it will likely be Nevada that leads the way.