A few years years ago I placed my first Bitcoin casino bet.
I scanned a QR code, played a very simple game, won and got some Bitcoin back instantly (it was when Bitcoin transactions were quick).
It was interesting and I’m really grateful for being introduced to the fledgling world of Bitcoin casinos.
Not only did it get me really interested in cryptocurrency and blockchain, a field I’ve followed ever since, I made a few quid from it.
Years after that I also found five Bitcoins in the breadwallet I created at the time. Happy days.
As a Casino experience though it was poor.
But then it wasn’t trying to be anything it wasn’t.
Four years on has anything changed for crypto casinos?
It has if you believe the hype on the raft of .io gaming sites that have sprung up.
They are all ‘game changers’, ‘fairer’, ‘easier’, ‘the future’. Of course they are…
I get that they can forego KYC, that’s handy but it’s not so onerous for players these days as to be a game changer. With developments in Bank ID, webcam uploads, computer document recognition and the like it takes a few minutes to register and upload all your necessary ID.
The concerns about them bypassing AML which are often raised don’t stack up logically.
Why would anyone need to launder Crypto Currency? Surely that’s the point of it.
Fairer than what? In what way?
The crypto casinos love to point out that players don’t trust traditional online casinos. Well, sorry but that’s not the case and it hasn’t been for a long long time – just so long as you choose your casino wisely.
Choose a licensed casino with a licence in the EU or the UK and you won’t go far wrong.
The games are all certified and run on a certified RNG.
The RTPs are all published and accessible.
The games are so widely distributed that any flaw in them is very quickly spotted, you only need to look at how rare it is to have a game recalled these days for evidence of that.
The crypto casinos I’ve seen are all either
Licensed in Curacao…
Are not on the blockchain at all.
I assume it’s too difficult to get a more reputable licence, but then that’s the point of reputable licences.
Hiding behind the hype
The flashy brochures and white papers don’t mask the fact that they have no content.
I read though a beautifully composed pitch today for a well known crypto casino fledgling company.
A look at their careers page shows that they are looking for a game developer. Just the one.
That they think a single game developer can create the gaming content they need is obviously naive in the extreme but a look at their About Us shows nobody with any casino experience, not even a token ‘advisor’.
Talking of tokens, here’s the giveaway.
Are they really looking to create a casino that is fairer, faster, more fun for players?
Or are you really looking for a way to generate a boatload of cash by selling your particular coin to a feverish public desperate to swap their FIAT currency due to FOMO?
Just today I saw a press release for a new blockchain-enabled gaming platform complete with its own currency.
“(Chipname) is the Universal Gaming Token for sports betting, gaming, fantasy sports, and eSports”.
Universal? It can only be used on one platform.
The PR then describes how the launch of this platform has ‘enhanced the utility value of (Chipname)’.
Well of course it has, it is the only value that (Chipname) has, anywhere!
Not exactly utilitarian…
All this hyperbole and twisting of language is only going to be counterproductive for the industry as a whole. Of course the early entrants who manage to flog off their tokens at an ‘early bird discount’ aren’t really concerned with that, and why would they be?
Your tokens need to have some utility value and not simply be a get rich quick scheme.
This article from medium has it nailed.
I play at lots of online casinos. Lots.
Luckily I can use one credit card and one currency at all of them. I know, imagine!
Imagine how quickly players would get fed up if they first had to change their cash into a special you-can-only-use-this-here currency.
Imagine going shopping in a world created by crypto startups.
Just to get your breakfast you’d need milkcoin, coffeecoin, breadcoin, baconcoin, eggcoin.
In fact it wouldn’t be that simple, you’d actually need the specific coin for the specific brand of bread, coffee, eggs you like.
Humanity nailed this widely-accepted currency thing in 700BC, why are we going backwards?
The only reason I can see for creating a bespoke coin for your casino is so that you can flog that coin upfront (years upfront in some cases) and then use the FIAT you generate to actually start doing some work. Or, I’m sure, in some cases to just leg it with the FIAT.
Players don’t want to choose from a portfolio of 6 games and no matter how well-intentioned and proficient you are having a single in-house game development team isn’t going to cut it.
Had you paid any attention to the actual casino industry for the past 15 years you’d know that players are used to being able to choose from 1000s.
I’d address that if I were you.
I’m not at all against blockchain or crypto, quite the opposite there is massive potential here for some serious USPs.
I am however very proud of the industry we have today and there is no doubt that that industry will embrace blockchain and cryptocurrency.
My fear is that the proliferation of ‘dedicated crypto casinos’ is not being regulated and for every truly professional, well managed and serious company in this space there may be 10 more schemes that are just going to burn through the unwitting investors money and give nothing in return.
That would likely result in the industry as a whole receiving bad press which would be unfair in the extreme.
We’ve been through this already and it took years to get where we are with the majority of the thieves and charlatans out of the picture and with licensing jurisdictions that players can actually have faith in.
Perhaps I’ve missed something? Perhaps there truly is a massive advantage to be had from Bitcoin casinos?
I see no evidence of that yet and judging by the white papers I’ve seen so far it’s not just around the corner either.
I’d love to hear conflicting views. I have to leave it here for now though. The Emperor’s procession is passing soon and I hear he has a lovely new suit.