Since being introduced in 1996, online casinos have mostly been on the back foot when it comes to competing with casinos. This can mostly be blamed on the fact that a land-based casino can provide a better gambling experience than its digital counterpart. There are a few experiences that can match the adrenaline thrill of playing at a real gaming table at a real casino. The solid feeling of betting chip in a gambler’s hand is hard to beat.
The allure of offline gaming has begun to pale, though. With the Internet and bandwidth improving as the years pass by, online casinos are becoming better and better at delivering gaming into the convenience of a player’s home. All the while, land-based casinos are suffering as their revenues drop because of competition and a saturated market.
US-based offline casinos tried to strike back by tightening the regulations on online gambling. The problem is that online gambling sites are very hard to shut down, especially if they are located outside of the country that is trying to stop them. Close down one server location and the site will just transfer all of the needed software elsewhere.
The start of change
As the saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” This is why offline casinos are changing and adapting to the new marketplace. This can be seen in the redesign that many casinos have gone through. The popular image of a casino is an adult place filled with older people who are out to have some straight gambling fun. The need to open up and claim a bigger share of the gambling pie has changed the look of the modern casino.
For instance, the famous Foxwood’s Casino in New England recently went through an overhaul that changed the main gaming floor to something more inclusive for the millennial crowd. The gaming tables are not totally gone, but the place is now more of a general entertainment area. People can gamble, listen to music, mingle, and even get a tattoo. Now more of a combination resort and casino, visitors can enjoy themselves more with a variety of options like shopping and restaurants in addition to gambling.
In line with this evolution is the fact that land-based casinos are opening up to actually integrating online gaming. A 2015 study showed that if properly implemented, online gaming can be a good complement to a land-based casino’s operations. Having an online component can attract new customers and encourage players to come in and enjoy the offline experience provided by the brick-and-mortar casino.
One of the bigger signs of this ongoing integration is the acceptance of Bitcoin in land casinos. The cryptocurrency is quickly becoming a critical component of online gambling. Although many focus on the anonymity and quick transactions it provides, Bitcoin forwards two factors that both online and offline casinos can treasure: security and flexibility.
As a digital currency backed by cryptography and an independent blockchain network, Bitcoin provides casinos with trustworthy transactions. There is little chance of a casino operator being defrauded by a bogus check or counterfeit money. Additionally, people would not be able to claim fraudulent chargebacks or refunds using Bitcoin since it creates a perfect digital paper trail on a public ledger. Bitcoin’s flexibility allows players to bet wildly varying amounts with ease.
These elements make Bitcoin the ideal casino chip and quite a few land-based casinos with increased revenue and attendance are finding that to their advantage, following the steps of the reported Merit Hotel Nicosia in 2014 and Princess Star network in 2015. As offline casinos continue their evolution, accepting Bitcoin in land-based casinos will be one of their secret weapons in keeping themselves relevant.