As the exclusive of a handful of IT experts and “precursors”, cryptocurrency has now been adopted by a bevy of more or less experienced investors, even as big banks and gambling sites continue to be cautious.
By the end of 2017, the value of the digital currency had skyrocketed and everyone was already looking for the next cryptocurrency to invest in.
The question now is another: Will this scenario lead to more and more online casinos accepting cryptocurrencies?
Online gamers have been keeping an eye on bitcoin for several years, as cryptocurrency was being accepted on sites offering their services on unregulated markets using virtually unknown methods, just like cryptocurrencies.
After all, transactions are free, although some platforms now add a small fee, and for the moment investing in small amounts of this digital currency still carries an economic advantage.
One wonders if even brick-and-mortar casinos will be able to make the leap and abandon cash and credit card payments.
Some Las Vegas casinos have started to take their first steps in this direction, accepting bitcoin payments for drinks and overnight stays, although at the moment it is even more practical and convenient to pay with an application on your phone.
So what prevents jackpots from being paid out in cryptocurrencies?
1. Which cryptocurrency should be accepted by casinos?
At the moment, cryptocurrencies are in a fight to the death to prevail over each other, similar to that between Apple and Windows or between VHS cassettes and Betamax. Which of the many will be able to win and which will be thrown into oblivion?
Should casinos accept all cryptocurrencies or only those with the most liquidity?
If bitcoin were accepted as a current digital currency and were then overtaken by litecoin or ethereum, casinos would then have to change their payment methods every other week. For example, ethereumis already indicated as the “smartest” choice for those who are betting on cryptocurrencies thanks to rapid transactions and smart contracts.
2. The problem of conversion
Bitcoin was thought to be the rival of traditional centralized currencies but, in fact, it is converted into USD, EUR or GBP to be transferred to the service provider’s accounts.
How will these non-dollar payments in Las Vegas casinos be handled, especially given the instability of a cryptocurrency like bitcoin?
Some casinos in Sin City already accept bitcoin for drinks and overnight stays but the currency is first converted into dollars and then used, without it ever actually being transferred.
Also, you have to ask yourself how slot makers will be able to create machines that can handle the new currency.
3. Money laundering and fraud
Governments across Europe are concerned that bitcoin can be used for money laundering.
If states were to decide to regulate digital currencies and force users to reveal their identities, the principle of anonymity currently enjoyed by bitcoin holders would be lacking.
US authorities are looking for a solution to deal with suspicious transactions, as money laundering cases are becoming the order of the day, with millions of dollars in and out of Las Vegas casinos.
The total anonymity of payments can therefore give credit to those who claim that bitcoin can be abused by criminal associations.
4. Server security
As decentralized payment systems, bitcoin and rival altcoins do not enjoy the same protection against fraud as, for example, a euro bank account.
Even in areas of the United States where online gambling has been regulated, such as New Jersey, some payment providers like VISA and MasterCard have hesitated to approve perfectly legal transactions.
For the moment, the number of casino and poker sites that accept bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies such as litecoin is very limited. Vendor regulation is also poor, as is the security and protection of cryptocurrencies from hacker attacks or theft.
By nature, bitcoin is a nightmare for casinos who want to protect their vaults from a security point of view. One solution would be to adopt a cryptocurrency like Monero, which is constantly growing, which applies privacy principles to each transaction carried out, principles that are instead foreign to the identity philosophy of bitcoin.
5. Legal currencies are still in pole position
Big gambling centers like Las Vegas are continually attracting a younger and younger audience.
In the future, this segment of the market may want to travel to sin city without carrying cash and still be able to pay with bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Many have already prophesied a future where cryptocurrencies will become the norm.
For the time being, however, the state of Nevada and other gambling capitals, as well as major banks, accept only “vile” cash.
The market needs to be explored, but with caution
Las Vegas is mobilizing to accept bitcoin payments for drinks and overnight stays, and the reasons why gambling and arcade activities are excluded from this change are of concern to Nevada state gambling regulators.
Therefore, until the waters calm down, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will remain an option offered only by online casinos.