By Sara Adams.
Poker has been regarded for a while as one of many potential avenues for expanded cryptocurrency utility. For a variety of reasons, those who monitor cryptos’ progress have seen the multi-faceted poker industry as one in which digital coins and blockchain transfers make particularly good sense.
This is not to suggest that poker will be the thing to catapult cryptocurrency to new heights of relevance. We have begun to see more crypto activity in this space, however, which led us to consider some of the primary ways in which cryptocurrency stands to affect the poker industry moving forward.
Most discussion of cryptocurrency in the poker world has to do with online gaming. However, cryptos may play a role at in-person casinos as well, if only as a way of facilitating wealth transfers without fees.
As AtlanticCityWeekly.com covered in an article a couple of years ago, a lot of regulars at in-person casinos wind up paying ATM fees when withdrawing cash to exchange for chips. It’s a clunky, expensive, and unnecessarily slow process that could easily be (and may well be) replaced by cryptocurrency. If and when casinos embrace this concept, players will be able to instantly transfer wealth for chips using mobile wallets — nullifying the ATM issue and speeding up the process of getting started at the poker tables.
This is the area in which we’ve really begun to see cryptocurrency making progress. While it remains standard practice for online poker players to deposit cash via credit card or payment processor, a piece on Poker.org recently noted that Bitcoin is also becoming a popular alternative. This means that more sites are in fact beginning to accept Bitcoin deposits, enabling gamers who prefer this option to use it to fund their poker activity. It stands to reason that this trend will only intensify and that more cryptocurrencies will likely be welcomed into online poker as well.
The idea of crypto rewards is one that’s becoming popular with regard to new credit card options. Per The Balance, a new rewards card released this past summer now allows users to earn “unlimited 1.5% Bitcoin rewards” on purchases. Naturally, online poker players are free to use such cards when depositing funds to any sites or apps of their choosing. However, we’ve also begun to see early examples of Bitcoin rewards directly tied to casino games. Each site has its own rewards structure, but it’s clear that many gaming companies are considering different ways to appeal to crypto enthusiasts by providing winning bonuses in the form of cryptocurrencies.
There is also likely to be more integration of crypto technologies behind the scenes of online poker and gaming companies. This is something we discussed earlier this year with regard to Royale Finance and its $1.45 million venture into iGaming. Said venture is designed to use liquidity pools to “provide funding for iGaming startups,” and sets the stage for cryptocurrency and blockchain backing of gaming company assets. This is not something that will affect poker players or other casino gamers directly, but it stands to improve security, reliability, and speed of operations on gaming platforms.
Cryptocurrency’s advance into online poker and gaming is likely just in its infancy. Through all of the means described above, its influence will only grow from here.
*This post was written in collaboration with Sara Adams.
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