Since being introduced back in 1997, online casinos have mostly been entertaining young people.This is because a land-based casino can provide a better gambling experience than its digital counterpart. There are a few experiences that can match the adrenaline thrill of playing at a real gaming table at a land based casino. The solid feeling of betting chip in a gambler’s hand is hard to beat.
The allure of offline gaming has begun to fade out, though. With the Internet and mobile bandwidth improving as the years passed by, online casinos became better at delivering gaming into the
convenience of a player’s home. All the while, land-based casinos are suffering as their revenues drop because of competition and a saturated market.
US-based offline casinos tried to strike back by tightening the regulations on online gambling. The problem is that online gambling sites are very hard to shut down, especially if they are located outside of the country that is trying to stop them. Close down one server location and the site will just transfer all of the needed software elsewhere.
The beginning of change
As the saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” This is why offline casinos are changing and adapting to the new marketplace. This can be seen in the redesign that many casinos have gone through. The popular image of a casino is an adult place filled with older people who are out to have some straight gambling fun. The need to open up and claim a bigger share of the gambling pie has changed the look of the modern casino.
For instance, the famous Foxwood’s Casino in New England went through an overhaul that changed the main gaming floor to something more inclusive for the millennial crowd. The gaming tables are not totally gone, but the place is now more of a general entertainment area. People can gamble, listen to music, mingle, and even get a tattoo. Now more of a combination resort and casino, visitors can enjoy themselves more with a variety of options like shopping and restaurants in addition to gambling.
In line with this evolution is the fact that land-based casinos are opening up to actually integrating online gaming. A 2015 study showed that if properly implemented, online gaming can be a good complement to a land-based casino’s operations. Having an online component can attract new customers and encourage players to come in and enjoy the offline experience provided by the brick-and-mortar casino. One of the bigger signs of this ongoing integration is the acceptance of Bitcoin in land casinos. The cryptocurrency is quickly becoming a critical component of online gambling. Although many focus on the anonymity and quick transactions it provides, Bitcoin forwards two factors that both online and offline casinos can treasure: security and flexibility.
There are many reasons why gambling with Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies has become so popular. Playing with bitcoins resembles the feeling of playing with casino chips in a land-based casino.
There’s also a high level of privacy, due to bitcoin being pseudonymous, and payments are instant and irreversible. There are no transaction fees. Lost bets also carry no reimbursements or chargebacks, a big issue which was increasing transaction costs for the online gaming industry from the start. The games are
more transparent with the use of cryptographic methods, which ensure and make it possible for players to verify the fairness of every bet.
Gambling with bitcoins can also be much safer when it comes to the security of funds, since bitcoin gambling sites hold funds for a very short period of time, and when players decide to leave an online casino, they transfer their bitcoins directly to their online wallet by means of instant cash outs, with no fees involved.
As a digital currency backed by cryptography and an independent blockchain network, Bitcoin provides casinos with trustworthy transactions. There is little chance of a casino operator being defrauded by a bogus check or counterfeit money. Additionally, people would not be able to claim fraudulent chargebacks or refunds using Bitcoin since it creates a perfect digital paper trail on a public ledger. Bitcoin’s flexibility allows players to bet wildly varying amounts with ease.
These elements make Bitcoin the ideal casino chip and quite a few land-based casinos with increased revenue and attendance are finding that to their advantage, following the steps of the reported Merit Hotel Nicosia in 2014 and Princess Star network in 2015. As offline casinos continue their evolution, accepting Bitcoin in land-based casinos will be one of their secret weapons in keeping themselves relevant. In 2014, news broke out that Golden Gate and D Las Vegas, two casino establishments along Fremont St. in Las Vegas, had started to accept Bitcoin as payment for hotel services, restaurants, and souvenirs or gifts.
Excluding the casino floor from their list of services to accept the digital currency, the two, however, reportedly were not going to keep the bitcoins but use a payment processor to convert the cryptos into dollars immediately they are received. This essentially means that all their financial record keeping remains in dollars.
Nevertheless, this was big news back then because many Bitcoin enthusiasts saw it as one step towards having the crypto currency accepted on the gaming floor. In fact, other establishments in the strip followed suit, even installing Bitcoin ATMs in their lobby.
Finding a place
But does Bitcoin have a place in the physical casino? It is interesting to think of a time when you can walk into a casino in Las Vegas or anywhere else in the world armed only with a Bitcoin wallet on your smartphone; no dollar bills, no credit cards. Bitcoin has had a long relationship with gambling in general. Of course, cryptocurrencies and gambling have been bedfellows for a long time now. In fact, close to 60% of all crypto coin transactions have something to do with Bitcoin gambling.
Wagers in the US, where transmission of money for online gambling purposes is prohibited, have found a convenient mode of cash transfer in Bitcoin. They can gamble on casinos operating from far corners of the Earth while assured of their winnings.
It is safe to anticipate that Bitcoin is going to hit the gaming floors of physical casinos in the not so far future. Perhaps, all it will take is one forward-looking casino entrepreneur making an application for a betting authority in one of the cities around the globe.
The technology to implement this kind of gambling is available, going by all the innovations that have been made around cryptocoins. And, of course, there is no short supply of people who will find it both convenient and highly social—the best of two worlds.
How about gambling in physical and online casinos having a single playing ground?
Bitcoin in physical casinos could lead to other possibilities
Bringing Bitcoin to a brick-and-mortar casino may also open doors to having gamblers behind personal computers playing with wagers in Las Vegas casinos. This is a little far-fetched but, nonetheless, possible with a little tweak to regulation and infrastructure.
Bitcoin stands with several benefits that can be transferred to physical casinos.
First, it makes gambling not only faster but also more secure. It also removes the bulkiness that is experienced when using cash and credit cards. Moreover, the use of digital currency in brick-and-mortar casinos a new frontier of hardware and software innovation will be opened. And this, on the other hand, will open new line of businesses.
Indeed, Bitcoin gambling has a place in the physical casino. And now UK-based startup CryptoChip has made that leap forward, offering CryptoChipping exchange service (converting cryptocurrency to land based casino chips). The company is planning an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) in the next few month.
Shahar Namer, CEO of CryptoChip.io (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: Julia Tsokur / Shutterstock