Online gambling and betting sites have been around for decades but have only gained a massive share in the market over the past 5 years. In 2020, that market share reached $57 billion and is expected to increase up to $98 billion by 2025.
Travel restrictions are part of the reason why online gambling and betting have become so popular. Although initially treated as a temporary and alternative way to gamble while travel and social gatherings are restricted, online gambling sites are expected to maintain and strengthen its presence even as things return to normal.
In fact, market forecasts predict that brick-and-mortar casinos will suffer a decline in revenue as online options grow. Gamblers and punters are already aware of the ease of access, convenience, and variety that the best online casinos offer and there’s no going back from there.
Online casinos are not exempt from challenges and regulation. While casino players or others such as baccarat, hilo, blackjack and roulette online were quick and ready to go digital, other processes which are vital to the industry were not as prepared as the situation needed them to be.
For instance, banks and financial services were clearly unprepared to respond to the sudden surge in demand for swift cross-border financial transactions. Players from all over the world are ready to gamble with their mobile phones, laptops, and gadgets in their hands, but their banks and credit cards have too many restrictions and extra charges. In countries where all forms of gambling are prohibited, gamblers who used to go to casinos abroad are also restricted by their local banks from making transactions with online casinos.
This is where blockchain technology comes in, to fill the gaps in the online gambling industry. Cryptocurrencies provide the solutions to meet the expectations and needs of gamers. The integration of blockchain in the gambling industry has brought the operations of online casinos to new heights by increasing security, privacy, and transparency.
Is cryptocurrency creepy?
Before elaborating on the dynamics and relationships between online casinos and cryptocurrencies, it is important to know how they function separately.
Most people are already familiar with online casinos. These web-based platforms allow players to play with and win real money in a virtual setting. They offer every kind of game, slot machine, and sportsbook one could ever think of. Online betting operators have surpassed most brick-and-mortar casinos in terms of novelty, variety, and generosity. Players usually cash-in and buy coins through their credit or debit cards or e-wallet, and they cash out their winnings through the same method.
On the other hand, cryptocurrency is a type of digital asset or digital money that exists electronically. Like any other currency in the foreign market, it can be purchased, exchanged, and sold. However, unlike normal money, cryptocurrency is not associated with a particular country or its government. Its supply, and consequently its value, is not controlled by a central bank.
Instead, no single state or entity owns it due to it being hosted peer-to-peer through the technology of blockchain. Since its supply is based on a fixed algorithm and not on the government’s monetary policy, its value appreciates as demand rises. The most popular cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, and XRP. However, there are also thousands of others which may or may not be used as medium of exchange.
Because of it’s unregulated nature, it enjoys a certain degree of freedom from manipulation and surveillance of states and financial institutions. This could have long-term drawbacks, but so far there hasn’t been any sign of a reckoning.
The fact that it has eluded state regulation is a come-on feature for many miners. They likewise enjoy the freedom that is inherent in the currency and feel that they have one-upped governments in a manner of speaking.
Casino and Crypto
Online casinos and cryptocurrencies fit together very nicely. Blockchain technology provides solutions to the limitations and challenges in the online gambling industry. It helps eliminate the risks and increases the ease of access to meet players’ needs.
Meanwhile, online casinos introduced blockchain currency to its wide fan base, thereby increasing demand and raising its value. This symbiotic relationship has driven improvements and innovation, and ultimately contributes to the rapid progress of the digital world.
There are at least two ways that cryptocurrencies have been included and integrated into the online gambling industry. First, a great number of online casinos allow their players to deposit and withdraw their money using cryptocurrency. Of course, not all cryptocurrencies are supported and therefore players should check first which ones are accepted. Second, there are also crypto casinos that deal directly with cryptocurrencies in poker, slot games, esports betting and sports betting. These sites also offer cryptocurrency bonuses and rewards.
Here are the benefits of using cryptocurrency in online gambling:
- Allows you to play anonymously
Cryptocurrency offers players faster transactions, security, and most importantly, privacy. Since cryptocurrencies are not regulated by any bank or government, no one has control over your crypto wallet other than yourself. The technology of blockchain also makes it impossible for anyone to fake currencies or hack the system.
Online gamblers are often concerned when they log in with their personal and bank details. This is understandable as it makes them vulnerable to identity theft and credit card hacking. However, with the use of cryptocurrency, there is no need to divulge personal details or submit IDs, billing accounts, etc. Online casinos will only demand the crypto wallet address, thus, players remain anonymous.
- Easier to move your money around
Conventional money transfers come with fees. It is annoying that intermediaries and institutions profit just because of this “service.” To make it worse, it usually takes days before deposits and withdrawals are cleared. This makes it hard for players to play instantly and reap their winnings.
The use of cryptocurrency offers faster transfers and easy conversion to cash without being bound to any bank or financial institution. It eliminates the intermediaries, which means goodbye to transaction fees, surcharges, and conversion delays.
- Circumvents government prohibition
As mentioned above, governments exercise control over fiat currency. They can impose policies to regulate and constrain the use of their currencies. Unfortunately, quite a number of countries prohibit their currency’s use in online gambling.
However, cryptocurrencies do not belong to any country nor government. As long as the entity you are transacting with accepts crypto, no one else can prohibit you from doing so. Also, many governments do not recognize crypto as a valid form of currency. In their eyes, you are not gambling with real cash, and therefore cannot be held liable under existing gambling regulations.
- Crypto values increase as demand increases
Introducing crypto to the wide fanbase of online casinos helps increase demand. As mentioned, having increased demand while supply is kept limited causes the price of cryptocoins to increase as well.
This means that your winnings may be valued at $100 today, but you may wake up tomorrow to find out that it is worth more. On the flipside, crypto’s value can also drop as well.
The value of crypto fluctuates, increasing and decreasing all the time. But due to the blockchain system design, the general trend for big cryptos such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, BTC, and Dogecoins is upwards.
We have yet to see how government and international financial institutions will react to or handle cryptocurrency. Until they actually decide to do anything about it, crypto will continue to attract both casual and expert miners.
The global population is still divided on cryptocurrency, resulting in both skepticism and enthusiasm on extreme ends of the spectrum. One thing is for sure, though. Those who would like to try crypto either for the fun of it, to feed their curiosity, or to profit off of it are reaping the rewards of the betting industry adopting crypto. But cryptocurrency is also a gamble in itself. Just like in gambling, people need to keep a close eye on news and trends surrounding crypto.