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Friday, December 3, 2021
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Casinos, Cryptos, and NFTs – A World of Potential

Hype about cryptocurrencies in casinos has been building for a while now. While this has always made a certain sense, it’s also been relatively easy to dismiss — because in many other cases, similar hype has failed to amount to much.

For example, we heard for years that cryptocurrency could conceivably take over our day-to-day coffee payments (or at least become a primary option at Starbucks). And yet, when it was announced in 2019 that Starbucks would allow Bitcoin payments via the Bakkt app, nothing really happened. It was a non-event, and it is still quite uncommon for people to spend cryptocurrency on their morning coffees.

Similarly, there was some hype a few years ago surrounding the idea of cryptocurrency becoming the new normal in major sports stadiums. It was actually way back in 2014 that the Sacramento Kings made headlines as the first pro sports team to announce that it would accept Bitcoin in ticket purchases and other transactions. Since then a handful of other sports teams have embraced cryptocurrency in various capacities, but there has certainly been no significant wave or transition.

Whilst there have been false dawns, the use of crypto in casinos is on the rise and now there’s a new element to consider; NFTs. with Atari building a new crypto casino, there is clearly growth in the industry, even if it isn’t taking off quite as much as some thought. How can crypto continue to spread into online casinos, and where do NFTs fit in?

Security and Affordability

The main reason hype surrounding cryptos and casinos exists in the first place is that cryptocurrency represents a chance for gamers to feel reassured concerning security and affordability. As things stand, most online casino platforms — whether for digital slots, bingo rooms, poker tournaments, or anything related — primarily take deposits in the form of credit card information or payment processors. These options work well enough on well-regulated sites, but some gamers are still uneasy when it comes to providing personal information. Additionally, some of the available options come with unnecessarily high transaction fees. Cryptocurrency inherently solves these problems by offering greater anonymity and lower (or negligible) fees. Thus, it is by nature an option many casino gamers would, in theory, embrace.

NFTs

NFTs have a firm place in a crypto casino in the form of prizes. Evolution Gaming has started using CryptoPunks as slot machine prizes. Let’s not forget, nine CryptoPunk NFTs were recently auctioned by Christie’s for more than $16m (฿522.4m) which was a huge milestone for the NFT collection. This is the first example of NFTs being offered as slot machine prizes, but it is feasible to see the offering grow. Quite how popular NFTs would be with casual gamers is another issue, but within a crypto casino context, NFTs fit nicely.

High Stakes and Jackpots

Another argument against cryptocurrencies’ use at online casinos is that the amount of cash involved in the average game are simply too small. Winning $10 (฿326) at a slot machine or poker game, for instance, would amount to winning a tiny, almost inconvenient fraction of Bitcoin. Cashing out 0.00031 BTC (roughly ฿326 worth as of this writing) almost seems awkward. The counter here though is that there are still plenty of high-stakes games and major jackpots that offer winnings at the scale of major crypto values. A given major poker tournament might pay out $10,000 (฿326,625) for instance, which is a neat and tidy 0.31 BTC. And according to a look at major jackpot wins by Gala Spins, the occasional special prize can amount to millions. Not many casino gamers would complain about winning $1m (฿32m) in the form of 31 BTC! In short, there are still plenty of online casino games for which whole or partial units of major cryptocurrencies are perfectly convenient to play with.

Brand New Platforms

Finally, and simplest of all, there is already momentum building up for the introduction of new online casinos that operate with cryptocurrency from day one. Just as new online gaming arcades are being built on blockchain networks and infused with crypto transactions, there are already new casinos specifically aimed at people who want to play with their digital currency. How quickly these new platforms grow and gain influence remains to be seen, but they’re already proving the concept of crypto-based casino gaming.

None of this means that cryptocurrency will take over the casino space, as some thought it would conquer coffee purchases or stadium transactions. If anything, we’ll see a mix of traditional and crypto-based deposit options at major casinos, as well as the growth of some crypto-exclusive sites. Given the points above though, the potential for cryptocurrency to gain greater influence in this particular space is quite real.



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