Online casinos and cryptocurrencies have both been in the news over the last year, and 2020 saw online casinos grow their user base rapidly. While the pandemic has certainly affected many businesses for the worst, some have managed to not only ride it out but actually increase profits.
Many internet-based companies and services saw growth as people found it more convenient to make purchases online and seek out home entertainment on the internet. This led to a whole new group of subscribers joining online casinos.
The other hot topic in the news lately has been cryptocurrencies and bitcoin in particular. Tesla’s announcement that they purchased $1.5 billion in bitcoin caused a huge upward surge in the value of the coins and public interest has never been greater.
So far, casinos and bitcoins have not completely integrated, so how will these two areas connect in the future?
The majority of casinos and resorts will not accept bitcoin for gambling. One exception is the Merit Hotel Nicosia in Cyprus which became the world’s first casino to accept bitcoin not just in the hotel but on the gaming floors too.
The casino industry is certainly interested in bitcoin and several Las Vegas hotels have allowed bitcoin to be used in their hotels and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, the first-ever Vegas casino, is one of these.
Regardless of the lack of bitcoin action on the gaming floor, many hotels such as the Luxor have installed bitcoin ATMs, possibly with an eye to the future.
For now, land-based casinos are mostly only accepting cash, although debit cards can be used in some slot machines with a fee of course.
The current regulations do not allow land-based casinos from accepting any form of currency. However, there does seem to be some chance that this might change in the future.
One of the other things that might also put the casinos off from using bitcoin is the lack of stability. Bitcoin can fluctuate wildly and the value rises and falls rapidly meaning both the casino and the player may end up with more or less than were expecting to receive.
Casino games are based around certain mathematical edges, i.e. the ‘house advantage’ and the House never loses. However, if there was a sudden crash in the valuation of bitcoin they could find themselves sitting on much less than they took in from customers.
Although casinos are primarily gambling houses, they generally don’t gamble themselves and some cryptocurrencies may not seem like a safe bet.
Many online casinos are already enjoying the benefits of allowing bitcoin to be deposited. Many players like the idea of using cryptocurrency for anonymity and security, but there are some drawbacks.
Because in many countries cryptocurrency is not seen as legal tender it has allowed several fly-by-night rogue online casinos to spring up and take advantage of unsuspecting players.
Gamblers have deposited bitcoin and won only to find the casino either won’t pay out or have disappeared altogether. Anyone deciding to play in an online casino should look to see they are licensed first.
The gambling industry as a whole needs a shot in the arm right now. Las Vegas is resembling a ghost town as the number of visitors has dropped dramatically due to Covid. Bookmakers, bingo halls, sporting events were all closed or suspended last year with a huge loss in revenue.
Adding more convenient ways to pay is a small but important step to attracting more players back. Online casinos already understand this. If you visit an online casino then not only will you be able to play all the normal games such as poker, blackjack, and roulette, but you will see that they have possibly more than 20 different payment methods making life easier for the player.
Covid is another reason why bitcoin should be used more often. People are more aware now of touching surfaces and picking up bacteria, and businesses are having to bring in extra sanitizing procedures due to health & safety. This is why any form of touchless payment makes sense.
If bitcoin was allowed at gaming tables, slot machines, at check-in for hotels, and at the cashier's desk then there would be less need to handle dirty coins and banknotes. Technology would have to be installed to allow mobile devices to transfer from bitcoin wallets to the dealer but casinos have never been shy of using new tech.
If this is possible then other forms of touchless payment can be introduced, this would mean there is less need for cash and less human contact.
Although bitcoins are limited and the world will only ever see 21 million of them, they are extremely popular and it is believed over 100 million people hold them.
Of course, there are also rival cryptocurrencies available, and although bitcoin is the biggest, there is a lot of interest in the others too. This could mean that traditional banknotes are seen much less in the future as people pay with smartphones, bitcoin wallets, and other methods.
The problem with visiting a kasyna to play slots, or poker with bitcoin right now is that if you win and then sit on that bitcoin for a while it might drop. It is this fluctuation that might put off players and casinos.
However, casinos are generally cash-rich and they can sit on their bitcoin until it goes up again.
Under the current tax laws in the US, bitcoin is classified as property and is therefore subject to capital gains tax. This tax doesn’t have to be paid until the coins are sold.
This means that if casinos took in a large amount of bitcoin and it dropped, they could just sit on it until it went back up as there would be no immediate tax to pay.
There is no ignoring the constant news regarding bitcoin, and casinos have proven constantly they are willing to embrace modern technology so it is likely the two will meet at some point.
Right now, it depends on gambling regulators to open the way for casinos to accept bitcoin and if the players want to embrace it too. In the meantime, if you want to use your bitcoin to play blackjack, slots, or craps, you can visit an online casino to do so.