Cryptocurrencies have recently started hitting the mainstream around the world. It’s not just the retail crowd that’s apeing in – as the lingo goes – into moonshots like Dogecoin or Shiba Inu. Major investors and even countries (like El Salvador and the city of Miami) are delegating massive amounts of their portfolios to the likes of Bitcoin.
While this currency might be new to many, it’s much more familiar in certain communities like online gambling in PA. Legal, licensed, online casino apps in Pennsylvania can have players make deposits or withdrawals using much more common methods like PayPal or their credit cards.
Nevertheless, there is no question that as cryptocurrencies gain popularity and we see inflation rise, the appetite for their use will grow by the day.
So that begs the question: When Will PA casinos accept Crypto?
Let’s take a deeper dive into the subject.
What Are Cryptocurrencies?
Many cryptocurrencies currently exist in the market with arguably the most popular one being Bitcoin. More people may have heard about Dogecoin, thanks to Elon Musk’s famous endorsements of the cuddly currency, but that’s a story for another day. By market cap, it’s Bitcoin that’s king.
Essentially, cryptocurrency is decentralized digital money. It allows for person-to-business or person-to-person transfer of money in a quick, efficient manner. Transactions can be easily tracked on the blockchain and with no middle man involved, the fees are minimal on both sides. As the world increasingly becomes more and more digital, would a leap to moving towards a future with digital currency really be that much of a stretch?
When Will PA Casinos Accept Crypto?
Cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity in the mainstream as many bettors and gamblers are quite familiar with them and many casinos are getting involved.
The enthusiasm around the crypto is growing and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before casinos dive more into crypto, NFT’s and metaverses. Companies like AT&T and Microsoft are actually accepting crypto as payment, the state of Arizona allows you to pay taxes with Bitcoin and many major sports franchises like the Dallas Mavericks and Oakland Athletics will take Bitcoin for ticket purchases. In case you haven’t noticed, the Los Angeles Lakers now play at Crypto.com Arena, and the Miami Heat plays their games at FTX Arena – a cryptocurrency exchange.
Crypto is no longer underground; it’s here and it’s growing. It’s only a matter of time before it joins the mainstream in the casino space too.
Will PA Casinos Accept Crypto Just As Another Banking Method?
Currently, customers in Pennsylvania have no shortage of ways to make deposits to various PA sportsbooks and online casinos. There are online banking and prepaid cards, credit cards, PayNearMe, PayPal, and various e-wallets like Skrill. With so many readily accessible methods, is cryptocurrency really something customers want?
While it may seem unnecessary to add crypto to such a wide array of already available options, the reality is, companies will move to wherever the demand is. If many customers have cryptocurrency readily available, it would be in the company’s best interest to offer banking methods that cater to crypto so they cater to it.
It’s nothing personal; it’s simply business. If tomorrow, the world decided that Pogs were the No. 1 source for money and transfer, you can bet that casinos would find a way to accept it. Using cryptocurrency with PA online casinos may be inevitable.
Casinos Could Save On Fees
While casinos will obviously move with the trends, there’s another major reason why it’s possible PA casinos accept crypto sooner than later, and even get ahead of the curve by encouraging their customers to use it: saving on fees.
Companies are always focused on their bottom line and this can impact it. If they can save by cutting out the middleman, they’ll do it. Companies like Visa, PayPal, or Amex can take between 2-3 % from the vendor per transaction.
- Think that’s not a big deal? Well, imagine a casino takes $50 million in deposits in a year or two, a couple of percentage points adds up to $1 million.
- Think that’s enough encouragement to make a change? If they can reduce that number by using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, or some of the other popular cryptos specifically used for low transaction costs and fast transfers like Stellar or Ripple, they’ll do it.
As for the customer, faster deposits and withdrawals are their focus when it comes to placing those bets. If they know that it’s safe and secure and that they can make transfers (using crypto) that hit their account right away and have no fees, they’ll be on board. No one likes to fumble with online banking deposits or opening up Skrill accounts, possibly incurring more fees – especially if crypto is more efficient at a cheaper cost.
Streamlining crypto and increasing its use is likely the way of the future. While we have a way to go, there is progress being made every single day.
Will PA Casinos Allow Players To Gamble With Crypto?
It’s not hard to see a time in the near future where casinos allow players to deposit and withdraw using cryptocurrency but what about allowing players to play with it? On the surface, this seems like a stretch because that adds a layer of complexity and financial challenge that the company might not want to deal with.
For example, if a player wins in dollars, that’s clearly what they’ve won or lost. If a player wins in a jackpot while playing with Bitcoin and then Bitcoin simultaneously skyrockets up, can that cripple a company? Who knows? It’s a new variable that they’ll have to consider.
If you take a look around in the offshore world, they are already accepting cryptocurrency and some casinos allow players to play in it. We can debate whether those outlets are legal or not, but the reality is that – in some ways – they are competition and they currently have a competitive advantage. They’re offering something that customers can’t get in Pennsylvania.
But realistically, the customers that want this are still in the vast minority. Until crypto is fully regulated and adopted, it’s not likely any legal brand will be offering this.
Will The Volatility Of Crypto Hurt Its Chances?
A well-known characteristic of cryptocurrencies is their general volatility. It can be a blessing and a curse as the exponential highs and lows crypto can make you happy or sad – depending on the day.
For example, at the start of May 2011, Bitcoin was trading at a measly $3.50 USD, so $1000 of Bitcoin at that time could have bought you 286 bitcoins – excluding the cost to trade. At its 2021 peak of $69 000, that would have totaled $19,734,000 USD.
Less than 6 months post its 2021 peak, the currency fell to $29,000 per bitcoin, dropping that initial whopping investment from $19,734,000 to $8,294,000, which is quite a significant drop in a matter of months. That’s challenging for any investor to stomach. If the US dollar were this volatile, it would be impossible to rely on it as a reserve currency.
Would PA Online Casino Players Actually Use It?
So, what does that mean for players using Pennsylvania’s online casino apps? Would it surprise you to hear that the massive rise and fall of bitcoin doesn’t actually impact gamblers all that much?
Since a trade can occur instantaneously, a cryptocurrency can be nothing more than a means of transfer.
In other words, if someone has $500 dollars but then exchanges to Bitcoin, sends it to someone else, and then that someone else exchanges that crypto back into dollars, they’ll probably end up with $500 as well. All of this can happen quite easily in a matter of seconds.
In terms of gaming, the path would be that a player would exchange money into crypto, then transfer it to the casino, and then the casino could exchange it back immediately if it wanted to. In this type of situation, it’s unlikely volatility factors are all that much.
Right now, buying, selling, sending, and receiving cryptocurrencies is more cumbersome than using any type of conventional currency. However, there was a time when simply using the internet required a landline and downloading a single music file took more than 24 hours (who remembers the Napster and Limewire days?).
As crypto becomes more mainstream, the onramp and offramps will be much more accessible and user-friendly.
PA Casinos Accept Crypto In The… Metaverse?
One of the most intriguing use cases of a crypto casino is in the metaverse. In case you’re not familiar, a metaverse is essentially like an online world where you can walk around, own a piece of land, meet with other people, shop, and do much more.
A part of that is playing in an online casino that’s recreated in a visual, graphical way. A number of brands are already there, owning land in metaverses like Decentraland, and offering a way for players to play. When you log into a metaverse, you have your own character and you can simply walk over and play (for real money) in these venues.
While this might seem like it’s something that’s off in the distance, you might want to take a look at the numbers. One casino in Decentraland has picked up $7.5 million in winnings over the last three months. ICE Poker bought land about 18 months ago – when it was much cheaper – and built up a casino in the metaverse.
That land has skyrocketed in price and they’ve had so much demand to play there that on any given day, they might have more than 1000 players in there either playing poker or casino games.
Many will debate the legality of this and how something like this might survive regulation, but regardless of what direction that goes, it shows that players have a craving for this. Does that mean that the legal, licensed brands might offer something like this in the not-so-distant future?
Considering brands have proven this concept and players have flocked there, it is likely that these brands in North America are already thinking about this as a way of gaming in the future.
What’s Stopping Crypto Adoption With Online Gambling?
Arguably one of the biggest challenges cryptocurrencies currently face is regulation. At this point, currencies like Bitcoin, Polkadot, Ethereum, Cardano, and others are mostly free of regulation. Whether the government will try and jump in to regulate things is still unknown.
- Will the government allow Bitcoin and put the clamps down on stablecoins? That’s a possibility.
- Will everyone have access to track transactions? Depends.
- Will users still be able to get away with anonymity using coins like Monero? We’re not certain.
- Will some governments create their own cryptocurrencies and force the masses to use them? China is already doing that.
At any rate, these are just some of the questions that have yet to be answered.
If casinos in Pennsylvania want to use cryptocurrency for withdrawals or deposits, regulators must enforce KYC standards.
What does this mean exactly?:
- A customer needs to properly verify who they are when opening an account using crypto
- Provide some sort of legal ID, and the company will have to keep a record of it.
And while adoption feels off in some places, it’s not in others. The country of El Salvador has formally made Bitcoin a legal tender and has launched a virtual wallet called Chivo. That’s groundbreaking in a country where 70% of citizens don’t have access to financial services.
Setting that aside, for now, there are rumors of other countries and cities doing the same. Miami is one of the cities leading the way. In Arizona, a new bill was put forward to make Bitcoin legal tender. In Texas, there are rumors of similar proposals popping up.
Which get accepted and which are still a long way away? Nobody knows. As we’ve seen with sports betting and casinos, it can take a long time to regulate. However, the seeds have been planted.
Some Casinos Already (Indirectly) Accept Crypto
This might come as a surprise, but some gaming companies are already accepting cryptocurrency. PayPal and Skrill, two of the most common e-wallets that casinos use, both work with crypto.
No, this is not a typo, PayPal started allowing American customers to hold cryptocurrencies in October 2020. As for Skrill, you can buy and sell more than 40 different cryptocurrencies via their platform. That means you can deposit cryptocurrencies into Skrill, convert and then ship to a casino.
The next steps will likely include regulation and gaming commissions to adopt digital currency. Then the casinos have to accept crypto directly.
If that happens, that will allow easier and cheaper transactions.
Featured image credit: Kin Cheung – AP