It hits the headlines almost daily and it appears to be becoming a tad more mainstream, but does Bitcoin have a future in online gaming? Is it worth larger operators investing their time and effort in adopting this new currency, or is it just a flash in the pan? The online gambling industry as a whole is always quick on the uptake with anything that may be of benefit, from different ways to market, new games to offer and of course new payment methods, and BTC has indeed made a mark on gambling with more than just a few Bitcoin casinos and Bitcoin poker rooms springing up. Now with a huge $1.5 Billion worth of BTC in circulation, is it time to act and take this virtual currency a little more seriously?
As of yet no major player has announced plans to offer Bitcoin as a payment method, and although the gambling industry as a whole shows a lot of interest in the topic of BTC, no-one has really gone for it as yet. Bitcoin has no physical presence as such and can only be used online and doesn’t that sound just perfect for online gaming, as transactions can only be made online, with low to zero fees, and now that the currency is out of the ‘geek’’ only zone and more and more people are using it, operators should be jumping all over it, shouldn’t they? You would think that at least one major player would take the bull by the horns, get in there first and make a play right? Well, there are a few issues as to why this is not the case....
The Issues with Bitcoin
Bitcoin is totally unregulated and 100% anonymous meaning that you simply have no idea where the ‘money’ is generated from, and this is just not acceptable from a regulated online gambling perspective. Although one judge in the US has declared that Bitcoin is a currency or form of money, well so could anything be if enough people used it. The problem at present with Bitcoin is that there is no rules behind it, the money could have initially been generated from absolutely anywhere and with the FBI closing down site like Silk Road and Sheep Marketplace there is simply no way Bitcoin would pass any form of regulation at present. Without a correct audit trail then no online gaming regulatory body would deem it a suitable currency to be dealing in, and it’s no surprise that those Bitcoin casinos that are in existence are not regulated from anywhere.
The plain fact is that at present Bitcoin is too attached to the darker side of internet dealings, something that the gambling industry does not wish to be associated with, it gets enough bad press as it is. Until BTC is more transparent, which in many peoples eyes defeats the whole purpose of the currency anyway, then it will not be welcomed into the world of regulated online gambling.