The Changing Face of Crypto Gambling in 2020
Trading and speculation were the dominant use cases for cryptocurrency in its first decade, but gambling is emerging as an exciting new frontier. To say that online betting platforms have embraced crypto would be an understatement; many online gaming dens have dispensed entirely with dollars and pounds, choosing to do business with digital assets instead.
In addition to blockchain gambling apps, (e)sports books and crypto casinos, traditional platforms have added support for bitcoin, doubtless in acknowledgment of the growing number of users who choose to hold it. According to a Statista report from May, there are over 47 million crypto wallet users worldwide, with bitcoin the most popular and valuable currency. If gambling platforms refuse to open their virtual doors to digital money, they are leaving a hell of a lot of cash on the table; they’re also creating an open goal for their competitors.
The Lure of Crypto Gambling
The growth of the crypto gambling sector mirrors the expansion of internet casinos following the launch of InterCasino, the first online betting platform, back in 1996. While many people invest in cryptocurrencies purely as a means of selling it for a profit later on, others at least want the option of using their digital dollars as a medium of exchange: to be able to use their bitcoin and ether to pay for goods and services. And since people who buy cryptocurrencies are likely to fancy a flutter, what better use case than gambling?
There are other advantages too, of course: for players residing in countries where online gambling is forbidden, the crypto payment system offers a convenient, incognito form of banking. Moreover, betting with crypto is faster and cheaper, since it doesn’t entail the lengthy clearance times and eye-watering international transfer fees associated with funding accounts on foreign-based portals. Another plus is security and the fact that players do not need to share their personal banking information (which is, of course, linked to their identity) in order to fund their accounts.
Crypto gambling, as a concept, is as old as bitcoin itself: a poker client was actually concealed within the currency’s pre-release code. A few years later, a blockchain-based dice game entitled Satoshi Dice gave earlier bitcoiners the opportunity to make wagers with virtual cash. From here, the path to comprehensive bells-and-whistles crypto casinos and sports books was a natural one.
What Does Crypto Gambling Look Like in 2020?
In the first quarter of 2020, $7.9 billion of value was transacted on dApps, with Casinos ranked in the top three categories in terms of active addresses, alongside Games and Exchanges. On the Ethereum network, which handled $5.64 billion worth of volume during Q1, the number of active casino dApp addresses surged by almost 40% compared to last year. As for TRON, the network dubbed Las Vegas on the Blockchain, casino dApps represented 92.1% of total volume, with dollar volume sitting at $379 million. For EOS, 184 of 406 active dApps were dedicated betting apps.
On these three platforms alone, players spend around $10 million daily making bets, from coin flips and dice rolls to more advanced slot, table and sports games. What’s more, there are few signs of saturation: a blockchain gambling sector analysis indicates that the best dApps retain over 80% of their audience.
$10m a day might sound like mere pennies in the grand scheme of things. After all, the global market for online gambling exceeds $50 billion. But with smartphone giant Samsung making dApps available on its devices, expect a significant surge in player numbers in the coming years. In any case, dApps represent just one part of the crypto gambling market, since a plethora of online casinos either fully support cryptocurrency or use third-party custodians like BitPay to let users convert digital currency into their local fiat.
The fierce competitiveness of the industry is such that players can shop around before selecting the platform that most suits them. Crypto gambling sites are known to support high limits and instant payouts while providing hundreds (if not thousands) of games and generous promotions such as deposit bonuses, free spins and cashback. Many have their own dedicated iOS and Android apps, plus 24/7 customer support.
Needless to say, you should be wary about using any gambling site that is not Provably Fair and does not have a track record with a good number of user reviews. Whether you’re into esports, live casino games or slots, crypto gambling offers an enticing alternative to hodling or trading on an exchange. After all, if cryptocurrency is, as its proponents claim, the future of money, it needs to be spent as well as invested. And with more quality platforms vying for custom than ever before, players are very much in the driver’s seat.