Online casinos have always been at the forefront of new technology and innovation, quick to respond to changing dynamics. Pioneers of the industry are constantly pushing the boundaries, trying out new adaptations to the tried and tested model. Mobile gambling is arguably the biggest of these recent trends to overtake online gambling, and today, mobile accounts for the fastest growth form of remote gambling.
Now, with the rise of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, casinos are faced with a new choice: whether to embrace this growing technology now, or whether to hold off as it becomes more established. With early movers already fully behind bitcoin gambling, it’s up to the big boys of the industry to make their move – and there are already some promising indications from the very top.
So what are the factors running through the minds of casino operators when deciding whether to support bitcoin gambling? Moreover, is bitcoin ready as a currency to be embraced by the online gambling sector?
How Bitcoin Works
If you’ve not come across bitcoin before, it’s essentially a digital currency, created and stored on a distributed ledger known as the blockchain. Packets of data are assigned a financial value which is established in a market environment, and all transactions of those packets, known as bitcoins, are recorded on the ledger to ensure accuracy and accountability. And because the records are held in a distributed ledger, they are not controlled by any one entity – no banks or governments are involved.
Instead, these transactions are stored across multiple different locations, meaning the ledger is robust, independent and secure to external threats. With the pricing decided by independent buying and selling activity, like any other market, and supply limited to the number of bitcoin data strings that can be mined, bitcoin has all of the elements necessary to operate as a currency in its own right.
Today, after years of trading in bitcoin, this emerging currency is becoming more stable and transparent, and indeed shows some signs of becoming less volatile, as more investors weigh in to determining fair market price. With more people now transacting in bitcoin online, it’s becoming an increasingly difficult payment method to ignore for those who operate casinos.
Why Casinos Have Been Reluctant To Embrace Bitcoin
There have been a few key reasons why casinos have been traditionally reluctant to get on board with bitcoin. In the early stages, it was difficult to predict whether or not bitcoin would take off. This weird, alternative currency initially seemed fairly niche, and even today, it remains far from a mainstream payment method. So for casinos to set out their stall as accepting deposits in bitcoin would have perhaps been premature.
Over the last few years, bitcoin has grown from strength to strength, and it has been the world’s best performing currency for the last two years. Yet while it has proved popular, there are other reasons that have prevented a wholesale adaptation of the bitcoin – namely price transparency, and legitimacy.
Casinos have been understandably reluctant to get involved in a currency that swings violently in value, sometimes even within the course of a single day. Accepting deposits in bitcoin could mean casinos being exposed to significant currency risk, a threat that has been seen as too significant for casinos to bear – until now.
Further, with some uncertainty as to the levels of liquidity and transparency in bitcoin, as a new emerging asset class, casinos are not alone when it comes to businesses taking their time to decide on bitcoin.
Bitcoin is moving from strength to strength, and continues to gain credibility and legitimacy by the day. As the market starts to level out and settle around more stable price ranges, companies across a range of sectors are opening up to the possibility of accepting bitcoin.
Image: Antoine Taveneaux (CC-BY-SA-3.0)