Web users have been able to enjoy online gambling since the 1990s, and while it is still not legal in every corner of the globe, this industry continues to go from strength to strength. For much of this time, players have only had the option to deposit, wager and win fiat currency at the top casino sites. However, the dawn of the cryptocurrency age has opened up new opportunities as well as new ways to play. With all that in mind, let’s take a look at just how cryptocurrencies are influencing the online gambling industry, and what this means for the future of web-based casinos.
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Diverging Paths to Cryptocurrency Acceptance
As explained in this definitive guide about Bitcoin online gambling, the arrival of cryptocurrencies in the past decade has created something of a rift in the online casino industry. First up there are pure crypto casinos, which not only allow you to add your currency of choice to your account but also let you wager with it and withdraw any winnings to your wallet or preferred platform, without any intermediary conversions required.
Next, there are so-called hybrid casinos, where deposits in Bitcoin and other popular currencies are allowed, but these will be converted to a supported fiat currency by the operator and will appear in your account in this form from that point onwards.
It is hard to find hybrid casinos which will also let you convert fiat back into crypto for withdrawal, but this could change as acceptance of this technology grows.
Finally, there are online casinos that do not currently support cryptocurrency whatsoever. These are by far and away from the largest group at the moment and is more an indication of how early we still are in the crypto adoption story.
The Benefits of Gambling with Crypto
There are lots of perks that benefit players when allowed to place wagers in Bitcoin or Ethereum rather than in fiat currency. Privacy is a primary driver of adoption, and so pure crypto casinos are the only places to offer total anonymity.
This also ties into the attraction of decentralized finance more generally, as it allows consumers to keep currency outside of the traditional banking system, and use it as they see fit, whether that be for online wagering or any other kind of transaction.
Security also comes into play here. Those who are worried about personal data being stolen from casino sites, or about transactions using traditional payment solutions being intercepted or subverted, may place more trust in online gambling operators that offer crypto support and all of the protections this affords.
There are downsides to using crypto at online casinos, of course. Mistakes made when transferring funds from your wallet to the operator’s repository are an obvious concern.
The Legal Implications
Another area in which the discussion around cryptocurrency and the gambling industry gets interesting relates to legislation and regulation of web-based wagering.
In most places, laws have yet to be updated to account for the adoption of cryptocurrency in this context. And if people are not explicitly prohibited from doing something by the authorities, then they can get on with it with confidence.
There are even nations, including the UK, where licensed crypto casinos already exist with the full backing of the regulators. This probably paints a picture of things to come on a global scale, as it is difficult to imagine a future that does not contain widespread crypto adoption across every sector.
The Long Game
About the future of cryptocurrency in the online gambling industry, the recent ramping up of marketing and media attention relating to Bitcoin and a cavalcade of other altcoins, as well as trading platforms and exchanges, surely signals that further changes are on the horizon. As the crypto market matures and some of the volatility is taken out of the equation, casino sites will be more willing to support digital currencies natively.
Then there are aspects like the rise of NFTs and the rollout of blockchain-based games on major platforms, which further suggest that gambling providers stand to benefit from this revolution, just as much as their customers.
The next few years will be vital in shaping how crypto is used, but if you are already investigating it, just know that you are well ahead of the curve.