Unless you have been living in a cave for the last five years, you have probably heard of Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency that has completely changed the way we transact online. At a starting value of just a few cents, Bitcoin quickly grew to a value of over USD1000.
Today it is sitting around the $1700 mark with no signs of slowing down. For those not familiar with alternative currencies, Bitcoin was a bit of mystery, an intangible, almost mythical energy that somehow objectified wealth. It left people asking why it was worth money at all and how its price got determined?
Bitcoins to Cash
In time, all the questions were answered and the general public grew to accept Bitcoin as just another way to pay for goods and services on the Internet, just like internet banking or web-wallets. As is usually the case, Las Vegas was fairly quick to find ways of cashing in on the Bitcoin revolution and funnel some of that cryptocurrency into the casino tables.
It didn’t take long before visitors could spend their Bitcoins at restaurants, hotels and stores at major Las Vegas resorts. At this point in time, spending Bitcoins at Las Vegas is about as convenient as drawing cash at an ATM.
While not yet fully integrated, Bitcoin can be used or drawn from specific Bitcoin ATMs in Vegas where it is converted to USD for use on the tables. The good news is that these ATMs are fairly spread out and distributed just minutes from most casinos and resorts around the city.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible, just yet to head to a Las Vegas casino and ask for a Bitcoin wallet address, transfer the funds and start gambling. However, this scenario might be coming sooner rather than later. If you make your way to Downtown Las Vegas or “Old Vegas” you will find yourself in the most Bitcoin friendly area in Vegas.
Derek Stevens, the man responsible for the transformation of Fremont Street was also the first to see a future in Bitcoins. He was the first, and certainly not the last to adopt the cryptocurrency for direct use at the casino. Stevens own both the Golden Gate casino and the D, who now both accept BCT directly. The casinos also have a number of Bitcoin ATM machines for players to draw cash if need be. If you want to gamble on the casino floor though, you still need to get cash from the Bitcoin ATMs. Paying for a hotel stay, dinner or store purchases can be done directly with Bitcoin. All you need is access to your Bitcoin wallet and your transaction is a breeze.
Changing Bitcoins into cash at ATMs in Las Vegas does carry a higher rate of exchange compared to most online companies. That being said, having a Bitcoin ATM on the casino floor is a convenience that is simply unmatched. The owners of the Bitcoin ATM’s know this and will charge players for the service. The fees are not criminal though, in fact they are in line with ATM frees around the world. Like all products and services, as the landscape for Bitcoins changes and the market becomes more competitive, we should be seeing a sharp decrease in exchange fees.
Betting with Bitcoins
While you are unlikely to accept a withdrawal fee of 5% on your debit card, Las Vegas Bitcoin ATM machines will eventually become more affordable and competitive. As we have seen with Bitcoins themselves, the world is ready to believe in the cryptocurrency and deal with it as a regular form of cash. The question now is, will Las Vegas ever accept Bitcoin on the casino floor?
In other words, will we get to a point where you can walk up to the cashier, whip out your Bitcoin wallet, and transfer funds to the casino? Undoubtedly the answer to the question is yes, Bitcoin will eventually get to the point where it can be accepted as regular cash, even on the casino floor.
Already there are two casinos that accept Bitcoin for use on the premises. While not yet on the casino floor, it is just a matter of time before the conversion takes place. What we have to realise is that new technology always takes a bit of time to get used to. Think of mobile technology. It wasn’t too long ago that smartphones were unheard of and accessing the Internet was done at home or at an internet café.
All of a sudden, there was an explosion of technology and just about anyone could get a smartphone or tablet. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a single person who does not carry their smartphone or tablet with them wherever they go. The same scenario can potentially be forecast for Bitcoin. It may not be long until everyone has a Bitcoin wallet installed on their mobile device for everyday transactions, but then again, it may be one of those digital trends that simply passes on by.