First introduced in 2009, Bitcoin took the world by storm and started a new era of digital
Bitcoin and most other digital currencies are decentralized, which means they are not subject to
government or financial institution control. In the early days of crypto casinos, this was a selling
point, as it meant that players could gamble anonymously and without fear of government
However, as crypto and blockchain technology has become more mainstream, could land-based
casinos (which are subject to stricter government regulation) be next to adopt this new
technology? How would the future of brick-and-mortar BTC gambling establishments look like?
Here is what we know so far:
Some Casinos Already Accept Bitcoin
The Golden Gate Hotel & Casino and The D Casino Hotel are two Las Vegas casinos that
embraced Bitcoin as early as 2014. The catch? BTC payments couldn’t be used for gambling.
In both locations, Bitcoin is accepted as a form of payment for snacks, restaurants, and gifts, not
bets. Even though the establishments took pride in jumping on the crypto bandwagon, they
couldn’t embrace BTC all the way.
Las Vegas, it seems, wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge into full-on cryptocurrency gambling
just yet. In 2017, A.G. Burnett, former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, was
I think for us to consider allowing operators to use digital currency in gaming operations, there would have to be a high level of demand amongst operators, coupled with a clear demonstration of the safety and accountability that regulators could utilize in their duties.
He went on to explain that there was simply no replacing the US dollar, since the casinos’ entire
regulatory foundation was based on that currency.
But, moving away from the States, there is actually one land-based casino that does accept
Bitcoin for gambling.
The Bitcoin-Friendly Casino
The Merit Hotel Nicosia in Cyprus became the world’s first casino to accept Bitcoin payments for
gambling in early 2014. The hotel still accepts BTC in both the hotel and casino area of the
Eight years down the line, however, they remain the only casino to do so.
Even El Salvador, the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender, does not have any casinos that accept BTC as a form of gambling payment.
So, what’s holding everyone back?
The Problem With (Brick-and-Mortar) Bitcoin Gambling
Casinos are a heavily regulated industry, and for good reason. The last thing any government
wants is for their citizens to get scammed out of their money or for mobsters to start using
casinos for money laundering.
There are currently very few licensing jurisdictions that would be willing to extend their gambling
licenses to cover crypto casinos. This means that, for the time being, most BTC gambling
establishments are based offshore in countries with more relaxed gambling laws.
The other major factor is how the currency itself works. Cryptocurrencies are volatile, which
means their value can fluctuate wildly from one day to the next. This makes it very difficult to
price gambling chips in BTC and to know how much a player is actually gambling with.
Plus, you don’t receive Bitcoin deposits instantly (as you do with cash or a credit card). Miners
have to verify each transaction, which can take 10 minutes or more. So, if a player wants to
cash out their winnings in Bitcoin, they would have to wait for the transaction to be verified
before they could receive their money. Even worse, when they deposit, the same wait applies.
Crypto transfers can take a long time to complete. But what if you could gamble on credit?
Instead of waiting for the BTC to move from your wallet to the casino, you could have a
third-party escrowing service guarantee the funds.
This way, you could gamble with Bitcoin immediately without having to wait for the transaction to
Well, somebody is already working on that. Slot machine company IGT has filed a patent for a
system that would allow players to wager on credit using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
The exact text of the patent reads:
“The gaming establishment component processor to escrow the amount of cryptocurrency,
establish a line of credit based on the escrowed amount of cryptocurrency, and modify a
balance of a gaming establishment account based on the line of credit.”
With this solution in place, we could see more casinos start to accept crypto gambling payments in the near future.
And why would they want to go there?
The Benefits of Bitcoin Casino Payments
There are a few reasons why casinos might want to start accepting Bitcoin gambling payments.
The first is that it would allow them to tap into a new market of cryptocurrency enthusiasts who
are looking to gamble. Most casino players are already under 50, meaning they fall into the
millennial or younger boomer age bracket.
With Bitcoin payments, casinos would be able to reach an even younger demographic.
Secondly, BTC payments have much lower transaction fees than credit cards. The average
credit card transaction fee is around 3%, while Bitcoin transaction fees are usually less than 1%.
This would allow casinos to keep more of their revenue and potentially offer lower house edges.
Lastly, Bitcoin is a global currency, so it would allow casinos to accept players from all over the
world. Land-based casinos could start online branches and tap into a whole new market of
A Brave New World
The world of gambling is changing, and casinos will have to change with it. With the rise of
cryptocurrencies, we could see a future where BTC gambling becomes the norm.
What do you think? Are land-based crypto casinos a thing of the future? Let us know in the