Experts: Nevada’s casino industry can’t ‘bury its head’ over cryptocurrency
Derek Stevens accepted Bitcoin for non-gaming transactions at the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate casinos. He installed a Bitcoin exchange kiosk at Circa Resort & Casino in October 2020. The machines convert cash to cryptocurrency and take deposits more often than withdrawals. Some observers wonder if cryptocurrency might find its way into casino table games and slot machines. Omer Sattar, co-CEO of digital payment provider for the gaming industry, believes it's a good idea. Raul Sood, CEO of Irreverent Labs, thinks traditional slot machine manufacturers don't address the interests of their customers.
Cryptocurrency trading platforms and businesses have garnered enormous attention nationally over the last few months. During the Super Bowl, cryptocurrency companies purchased nearly a dozen different advertising spots that each cost between $6 million and $7 million for 30 seconds of airtime. Only a handful of Las Vegas gaming operators are pushing cryptocurrency for non-gaming purposes. Resorts World Las Las Vegas announced a partnership with Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange. MGM Resort International has heard from guests who want to use cryptocurrency at its Strip properties. The resort has added a coin exchange machine near the Famous Foods dining area.
FinCEN has not commented on the use of cryptocurrencies in the casino industry for more than two-and-a-half years. American Gaming Association has focused on payment modernization in casinos. Wyoming allows sportsbooks to accept wagers in digital, crypto and virtual currencies. Nevada's gaming commission should ensure the taxes are paid in U.S. dollars. The association is engaged with its members about what they might want to see. It is still unknown what will be permitted. “People are spending a lot of time and money thinking about how do you deliver for the next generation of gaming customers. [Cryptocurrency] is certainly going to be part of that conversation”
Nevada gaming regulators are concerned about fluctuation in value of cryptocurrencies. Sattar is hopeful about a casino management system built on a blockchain. He believes it would satisfy anti-money laundering and know-your-customer concerns. Kahlil Philander believes the industry should adopt the technology. He thinks it will attract new customers. The generation Z is more digital-savvy. It is growing up and embracing new technologies. They are more interested in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies than cash. In January, Bloomberg News reported the Biden Administration was preparing an executive order on cryptocurrencies and asked federal agencies to determine their risks and opportunities.
Jerry Rau, managing director for Eilers and Krejcik Gaming, believes there is a future for directly loading digital current for gaming purposes. Payment processors and financial technology companies with footholds in the gaming industry are exploring the topic. Everi Holdings Executive Vice President Darren Simmons has been exploring crypto space for the past few years. The gaming sector has taken a conservative approach toward cryptocurrency. It doesn't heavily advertise any ties or products. However, it does subtly introduce the idea to the customer. Zakary Cutler, CEO of North America iGaming, a division of payment solution company Paysafe, says the interest in digital payments continues to grow in gaming world.