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Businesses across the world have seen tremendous challenges over the last year and a half. The recession of 2007-2009 destroyed many businesses, and just as things were looking brighter, Covid came along.
Tourism, hospitality, and retail have all been hit especially hard, and so has another sector; the gambling industry. Interestingly, the online side of this business has prospered, while the traditional, land-based section has suffered badly.
When looking at the future of casinos online, it is clear that many are adopting new technology such as virtual reality to help them power forward and increase revenues. The land-based establishments have been slower in some cases to do the same, and one area they may need to look at is cryptocurrencies.
Do casinos use cryptocurrency now?
Many online casinos can now accept bitcoin among a plethora of other payment options, and some exclusively accept crypto for deposits.
Land-based casinos have been slower to adopt different payment methods, and it isn’t all their fault. State and gambling legislators have some control over what payment methods are allowed, and this has led to restrictions on cashless payments.
If you visit an online casino you will be offered a choice of debit & credit card payments, e-wallets, wire transfers, and perhaps bitcoin. This gives the user a greater choice of making deposits and more flexibility.
Land-based casinos are still largely restricted to cash payments, although there is one bitcoin casino based in Cyprus at the Merit Hotel Nicosia. There is a push for US casinos to start taking cashless payments though.
Why should casinos change the way they accept payments?
One of the reasons that payment methods are restricted in land-based casinos is due to fears of money laundering. This has meant that using methods such as PayPal has been restricted to a few states, and the amounts that can be deposited are limited.
When Covid is considered, it makes perfect sense for any business to accept cashless and other payment methods. Las Vegas became a virtual ghost town last year and is struggling to get the same numbers of visitors to return. It may never fully return to its former glory and needs to find ways to attract people back.
One reason that people may stay away from is from a lingering fear of contracting the virus, and casinos need to make guests feel as safe as possible. If regulators allowed bitcoin and e-wallets to be used without strict limits, then there would be less physical contact happening.
Among the many benefits of using online casinos, is the fact that many of them accept cryptocurrencies as payments. If brick-and-mortar casinos don’t catch up, they could fall so far behind they never will.
Are traditional casinos in danger of dying out?
Casinos and gambling establishments suffered greatly during 2020 and going into this year too. Doors were shut, employees were let go, and in some cases, the sites were closed permanently.
The UK saw the Genting casino group close at least four of its sites permanently. This was reported to be a direct result of the pandemic. Bookmakers and bingo halls also closed down permanently with the loss of hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs.
Many of the regular visits to these haunts chose instead to go online. If someone visits a casino online they can play numerous games such as poker and blackjack, but they can also bet on favorite sports too. This has led many to keep using online casinos and not return to land-based establishments.
Brick-and-mortar casinos will need to adapt so that they can survive, especially against the threat of their online rivals.
Why would cryptocurrencies help casinos?
As mentioned above, there is a health and safety aspect, which casinos are already aware of. Many casinos and hotels are adopting NFC – near field communication – technology that allows guests to check in with no physical contact being made.
By using a smartphone, NFC, and an app, guests can check themselves in, unlock their room, and adjust the lighting and heating, all without touching any surfaces. Crypto and other cashless payments would offer similar benefits.
Having crypto as an option would do away with the need for cash for many players. It would also offer them more security and in some cases more transparency on their bets. Some casinos have installed bitcoin ATMs but this still means cash is being used for purchasing chips. Allowing bitcoin transfers would bring traditional casinos up to date with online versions and hopefully attract more players again.
Blockchain technology is being used in online crypto gambling
It doesn’t seem possible to read the news today without a mention of NFTs, or cryptocurrencies. As more businesses look at receiving payments through crypto, the gambling industry is dragging its heels.
There are over 4,500 types of crypto according to The Motley Fool, although other reports state that there may be as many as 10,000 in circulation. Many of these cryptos are here to stay, and as more countries recognize them as currency, more people will adopt them.
The technology behind Bitcoin and Ethereum is being used in other areas now, such as NFTs. Blockchain can also be used to develop decentralized apps and casinos. There are already some decentralized casinos out there now.
Decentralized apps, or dApps, allow greater transparency on transactions, including bets. Players could use a decentralized casino and have far more privacy, while also seeing that the casino is operating honestly. How traditional casinos could use this technology remains to be seen.
Traditional Las Vegas casinos, and others across the world, have never stood still when it comes to innovation. The Vegas casinos in particular have a history of evolving and bringing in more attractions for their guests and making their visits more enjoyable.
Virtual games, AI, and techs such as RFID and NFC, have been brought in to improve experiences, and increase security for the guests. It is likely that at some point soon, cryptocurrency will appear in land-based establishments, as long as the regulators allow it. If not, many players may stay online and decide not to return to their old haunts.