The online gaming industry has run pretty smoothly as is for years. However, some online casinos are attempting to shake things up with blockchain technology.
Blockchain is commonly used in reference to cryptocurrencies. Most notably, the Bitcoin network relies on blockchain to process financial transactions and remain secure.
Certain internet casinos have applied the same technology to their operations. But is blockchain really necessary in this capacity?
I’m going to discuss more on this tech along with what, if anything, it can do to improve even the best US online casinos.
What Is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain is a newer concept and one that’s not easily explained. If you look up the definition of this technology, you’re bound to see something like, “A time-stamped and immutable record of data that’s managed by a group of trustless computers.”
You’d think that blockchain was akin to unlocking the secrets of quantum computing based on this definition. However, it can be broken down into simpler terms.
Each block in the Bitcoin network includes the following:
- Date when the block was purchased
- Time when the block was purchased
- Value of the block
As you can see, the buyer’s name and other details are kept out of these transactions. Instead, only the purchasing wallet address is available to the public.
Speaking of which, everything that happens on a public blockchain (like Bitcoin) is available for everybody to see. Unlike with private databases and chains, nothing can be hidden from public view.
This visibility is exactly why the online gaming world has become interested in blockchain. The transparency can interest players who are otherwise mistrusting of casinos.
How Does Blockchain Work at Real Money Online Casinos?
Every bet placed at a casino is stored on the relevant blockchain. If you’re playing at a Bitcoin casino, for example, then your wagers will be recorded in the BTC network.
New blocks are added to the network after bets. But the following four occurrences must happen prior to a new block being created:
- You make a transaction (a.k.a. bet).
- The transaction is verified by a network of computers.
- Your transaction is stored on a block with the aforementioned three pieces of info.
- The block is given a “hash,” which is an anonymous, digital signature.
Following the last step, the block becomes publicly available for anybody to see. You, along with any other person, can verify whether or not your wager is fair.
Most online casinos and gaming providers are fair regardless. However, they’re forced to be honest when blockchain is involved.
Otherwise, they risk exposing themselves through a major cheating scandal. No casino will risk their reputation and entire business when anybody can verify if they’re offering fair gaming.
Pros of Blockchain in US Casino Gambling
Blockchain may seem confusing and unnecessary for gambling purposes at first. However, it does offer the following advantages over the current system that’s used at many online casinos.
The majority of online casinos operate through private databases. You and other gamblers don’t see what goes on behind the scenes regarding betting results.
This system has largely worked up until this point. However, a few scandals have emerged over the years.
For example, Rome Casino once offered a faulty online slot machine called Diablo 13. Developed by TopGame, this slot was missing crucial wild symbols on reels 1 and 5.
Rome management responded by claiming that they had TopGame fix the issue. They didn’t immediately, though, and only discontinued the game after more complaints.
Luckily, these incidents are rare. But blockchain ensures that such problems can be caught by players sooner.
Casinos Develop More Trust
Gaming sites instill more trust in their operation thanks to blockchain. As covered above, this technology leads to more transparency.
Players feel more secure at a casino when they can verify their results. Contrast this to the average private-database casino, which offers no transparency.
Blockchain doesn’t guarantee that a casino or software provider will never cheat. However, it severely reduces the chances of any such problems.
Continuing off the last point, casinos have little incentive to cheat you when blockchain is involved. They’d have to go through a monumental effort to pull off such a scam.
The way that this tech works presents serious problems for any nefarious operator. Here’s a rundown on why this is true:
- A blockchain stores every new block in chronological order.
- The contents of each block are impossible to alter without drawing attention.
- Each block’s hash code contains a string of numbers and letters.
- When one block is altered, its hash also changes.
- However, the next block still features its original hash.
- The crooked casino then needs to change the next block.
- But the block after this maintains its original hash.
- The casino is caught in a massive loop of altering blocks to avoid getting caught.
Unless you’ve somehow managed to place a $10 million bet, the casino will go through more trouble than it’s worth to scam you.
Cryptocurrency Offers More Banking Options
Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies utilize blockchain. Therefore, this technology allows for far more banking options at casinos.
Bitcoin is definitely the most prominent coin found in the gaming industry. However, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin have become more notable within gaming.
Crypto offers notable advantages over traditional banking options. The biggest benefit is that cryptocurrencies aren’t controlled by a bank or government.
Crypto also lets you gamble with more anonymity. You’re only identified by a wallet address when making deposits and placing bets.
Cons of Blockchain at Casinos
Blockchain can definitely help the gaming industry in certain ways. But it’s not perfect and comes with some notable downsides.
Learning Blockchain and Crypto in General
If you’ve never dealt with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies before, then you won’t automatically know how to use them. Instead, you’ll have to invest time into understanding crypto.
First off, you need to know how to deposit at a blockchain casino. Most of these sites only accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Luckily, exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini have made the process easier. Even still, depositing with crypto isn’t as easy as entering your credit card numbers and the CV2 code.
You might also want to know how to verify bets on the blockchain. This process is more complicated than making deposits.
Assuming this complication turns you off, then the transparency aspect goes out the window. You’ll have to rely on somebody else to keep an eye on casinos.
Cost to Implement Blockchain
Again, most real money online casinos run on databases. They need to switch over a lot of processes if they suddenly want to go blockchain.
Established gaming sites are less likely to do so. They may only consider this option if the majority of the industry turns to blockchain.
Therefore, only newer casinos are actually running their sites through blockchain. These sites are often referred to as “provably fair” casinos.
Plenty of other gaming sites accept Bitcoin as a deposit method. But they’re not actually using blockchain as their platform.
Crypto Has a Bad Name
If you bring up cryptocurrency or blockchain around anybody, you’re likely to get eye rolls. Most people still associate crypto and even blockchain tech with scams.
Bitcoin has been frequently labeled a scam by mainstream news outlets and financial analysts. Warren Buffet famously called BTC “rat poison squared.”
Crypto’s case wasn’t helped by the ICO scams in 2018. Many projects used initial coin offerings to gather millions of dollars in funds.
While some of these ICOs were legit, others were nothing more than money grabs. The founders either outright scammed investors or did very little work on projects after collecting the money.
None of this proves that blockchain casinos can’t work. However, the general population is more hesitant to use such gaming sites.
Is Blockchain Necessary in Casino Gambling?
The online gaming industry can run just fine without bringing blockchain into the fold. After all, you don’t hear about many scams in gaming anyways.
But blockchain isn’t just about changing the way that things are done. It’s about improving certain aspects of the industry.
It brings more trust to the online gaming world. Casinos and software provides are very unlikely to engage in shady practices when considering how many eyes could be watching them.
Blockchain has already improved the number of banking options at casinos. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin are some of the many cryptocurrencies that have invaded the real money online gambling space.
Some players prefer crypto due to its decentralized nature. Gamblers who deal with restrictive online gaming laws (e.g. Americans) can use Bitcoin to work around the issue.
Of course, blockchain isn’t 100% perfect; otherwise, every casino would’ve implemented it already. The chief problem is that it requires changes for both you and the industry.
If you’re not already familiar with crypto, you need to learn how to use it. You may also consider figuring out how to check the authenticity of your bets.
In summary, the question isn’t whether or not the gaming industry needs blockchain. Casinos are already using the technology indirectly when accepting crypto deposits.
Instead, the question is how far blockchain will go in the gaming world. Time will tell if more casinos implement this tech on a widescale level.
Blockchain is a confusing concept at first, especially when relying on the definition. But it’s not as hard to understand after unpacking its function. Simply put, this tech stores digital blocks of information on a chain. It essentially acts as a private or public ledger for the user.
When public, blockchain offers incredible transparency to the gambling industry. You can verify bets by using the info stored on the chain.
Of course, many gaming sites don’t feel that they need to feature more transparency. They feel that their operations are already reputable and honest.
This line of thinking is totally fine when considering the rare gambling scandals anyway. But certain casinos have gone the blockchain route to promote more trust in their brand.
Regardless of if more casinos implement this tech into their operations, many will continue accepting cryptocurrencies. At the very least, blockchain will become a larger part of online gambling through crypto alone.