Friday, 9th December 2022
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Is there really a future for crypto-fuelled online casinos?

The term iGaming hasn't really become part of the general public's lexicon, but as iGaming refers to any activity that involves betting online, it's a mammoth industry and is seeing significant growth in Nigeria. It is also an extremely competitive industry and for a provider to gain an edge, generally, they need to be first…

Casino Online Gaming PHOTO:Getty Images

The term iGaming hasn’t really become part of the general public’s lexicon, but as iGaming refers to any activity that involves betting online, it’s a mammoth industry and is seeing significant growth in Nigeria.

It is also an extremely competitive industry and for a provider to gain an edge, generally, they need to be first in providing the technological advancements that enhance the process or gaming experience for their customers.

Since the first glitchy online casinos started accepting bets and offering real money games back in the 90s, we’ve seen huge advancements in terms of betting options and the quality of gambling games. While there are high hopes for the implementation of AR and VR in Nigeria and in iGaming, the games available now offer compelling gameplay as casino game developers continue to push the boundaries, particularly on mobile devices. The industry recognised that overwhelmingly people prefer to place bets and play gambling games on their phones, so the hi-tech slots, live table games and game show experiences need to be playable on smartphones.

Away from the games, security measures have been vastly improved through tech advancements to ensure customers are confident that their money is safe, but the real area of interest and growth remains withdrawals and deposits.

Money Money Money
The iGaming industry was quick to spot the potential of cryptocurrencies and in the US, several of the best online casinos have been trailblazers in terms of being among the first to encourage crypto withdrawals and deposits on their sites. Withdrawal and deposits methods always have been one of the elements that determine if an online casino is worthy of your attention. The emergence of cryptocurrencies and people’s desire to support businesses operating them suggested that those online casinos unable or unwilling to deal with Bitcoin et al would be left behind.

The player’s desire to use crypto for gambling was mostly about anonymity and specifically being able to deposit into their gaming accounts without divulging personal information. Some people fear future persecution from banks if their account contains gambling transactions and some simply don’t trust banks. As cryptocurrencies are thoroughly free of any third party controls, unlike banks, many people feel more secure using them for transactions and thus want to conveniently gamble with them. For online casinos, anything that makes the depositing of funds easier for players is obviously desirable but is the crypto casino a fad or a long-term future?

Easy come, easy go
It seems as though the same question has been being asked for decades now without a definitive answer. The question is, will cryptocurrencies replace all other payments methods to become the only currency for making gambling withdrawals and deposits? The answer, generally, is yes, but not yet. You can’t talk about crypto without mentioning the volatility and each time the digital currencies go on one of these rollercoaster rides of value, their ability to become the gambling currency of choice comes into doubt. Also, anytime there’s a crypto hack or someone loses their funds through an unfortunate event, the suspicion that cryptocurrencies aren’t the future, grows. The other issue is that while the number of crypto users is also continuously rising, they’re not actually users.

Just like stocks, many people invest in cryptocurrencies and are not looking to do anything but hold until there is a significant enough return on their investment available. The idea of using crypto for gambling or any other regular transactions is illogical to these people and overcoming this reticence to actually use their Bitcoin or Ethereum would be a hard sell.

Online casinos that offer the option to use cryptocurrencies undoubtedly hold an advantage over the competition, but that advantage remains slim and not catering to crypto users isn’t fatal, yet. The status quo continues and cryptocurrencies probably are the future of gambling transactions, but the wait continues. The upcoming and economy-boosting metaverse or a vast reduction in Bitcoin energy consumption could hold the key and iGaming’s relationship with cryptocurrencies remains intriguing.