As the world continues to transition into the digital age, Blockchain-based technology is expected to become increasingly popular and adopted into most aspects of our life.
The entertainment sector, namely casino’s, seem to be next in line to integrate and benefit from this technology.
Igaming Future spoke with Michael Pedersen, Chief Commercial Officer at Livespins to get his thoughts on the future of Crypto casinos and understand why the industry’s eventual transition to the Blockchain is inevitable. More importantly, he will also explain how we can best prepare for this new frontier, as an industry, and be part of this exciting growth opportunity.
What is the current state of play when it comes to crypto casinos? Are they growing in popularity? Why?
“Crypto casinos are becoming increasingly popular, and this is linked to digital currencies becoming more widely adopted by society. This is also being driven by a greater awareness that crypto casinos exist and that they provide a destination for the early adopters of digital currencies to use them to play slots, table and live dealer games. In my experience, the majority of these casinos are licensed in jurisdictions such as Curacao as these regulators are a little more open to, and understanding of, cryptocurrencies, but we are starting to see tier-one brands in core regulated markets offer players the option to deposit and withdraw via Bitcoin and other big digital currencies, too.”
What makes crypto casinos so popular among particular audiences?
“I think it is important to point out that there are two types of crypto casino – pure crypto casinos and hybrid crypto casinos. The former are early adopters of the technologies that power digital currencies and facilitate transactions, and, in most cases, they will only offer crypto deposits and withdrawals. The latter is more of a traditional online casino that also accepts crypto payments. Of course, under the hood, both casinos are really quite similar in terms of having a platform, plugging in games, undertaking KYC, etc.
“What sets the two apart is how they position themselves. Crypto casinos use this as a brand USP and consider it a powerful niche to target where there is less competition. Hybrid casinos simply see it as another way for players to deposit and withdraw. Of course, the pure crypto casinos are bargaining on the future of crypto being bright and that they will have built a large and loyal player base by the time the rest of the market has caught up.”
How do crypto casinos and streaming align? Are they popular with the same audiences?
“Streaming and crypto casinos align in several ways. The most obvious is that both are new technologies that have initially been embraced by savvy early adopters. Both are now moving towards the mainstream and have the potential to change the game in terms of the fundamentals of an online casino and how players engage with slots and other games. The other way they align is that crypto casinos lean heavily on streaming as a way to make players aware of their brands and drive acquisition.
“Right now, both appeal to similar and the same audiences. The core demographic of these audiences is those that are really into technology and the latest ideas and innovations. Of course, due to products such as Livespins, streaming is quickly becoming a mainstream entertainment option and thanks to our bet behind feature, offers a new way to enjoy online casino play. As both streaming and crypto casinos become more mainstream, the addressable audience for both will grow exponentially.”
Are they subject to the same consumer concerns – lack of trust, wild west (in the case of Twitch)? What are the main concerns?
“Trust is actually less of an issue with crypto than you would think. By definition, those already using it are not worried about some of the concerns that others have and that are currently deterring them from embracing digital currencies. Of course, trust is always a factor and that is certainly the case when signing up for an online casino or a crypto casino. That is why players will always migrate to reputable brands, so those that sign sponsorship deals with football clubs over those that are written in broken English.
“In terms of streaming and Livespins in particular, there is no trust issue with our product as it is integrated directly into the operator’s casino. That means we are targeting players that are already engaged with the brand and continue to play because they are happy with the experience they are receiving.”
How can these concerns be overcome?
“As mentioned above, trust is not such an issue for the early adopters of crypto casinos and for Livespins. What I would say is that in order for crypto and live streaming to become mainstream, an education process does need to take place to ensure that operators, players, regulators and wider society clearly understand the ins and outs of both. Right now, this lack of understanding is slowing down the progress of both entering the mainstream.”
Do crypto casinos provide Livespins with any new opportunities? If so, what?
“Yes, absolutely. The majority of crypto casinos are familiar and comfortable with streaming and make use of streamers in various ways. They understand the space as they too are early adopters of cutting-edge technologies and innovative consumer experiences. What Livespins enables them to do is leverage the power and popularity of streaming by allowing their players to not only watch their favourite streamers but also bet behind the action.
“This opens up huge possibilities when it comes to using brand ambassadors and this is something we can and do help our partners with. There is a big difference between passively watching a brand ambassador play a slot or table game compared to being able to bet with them, and that is exactly what we can offer.”
Do crypto casinos have a place in the industry for the long term?
“The term crypto casino will ultimately disappear because all casinos will eventually offer crypto payment methods and the technical gap between pure crypto casinos and hybrid crypto casinos will close. This means the only difference will be brand and some operators will still want to push their position as a crypto casino. These operators will always be early adopters of new payment technologies, coins, etc and the more traditional, hybrid crypto casinos will always follow their lead but a couple of years later. Generally, the world will become more comfortable with digital currencies and this, in turn, will push gaming regulators to be more open and receptive to including them in their frameworks.”
Editor: cryptocurrencies can face challenges in their own markets right now, but it’s clear that no matter what payment methods or financial transactions internationally are delivered, it’s up to the various players who operate online to embrace it for themselves. Whether it’s online casinos or basic online stores, whether it’s bitcoins or something that’s just coming up – then the gaming industry is always one of the trendsetters and pioneers when it comes to digital platforms.