Heard about Bitcoin? Then you probably know that the digital currency, which isn’t created or distributed internationally by traditional banks, is taking the world by storm. And you probably also know that the digital currency is usually restricted to online purchases and transfers.
So imagine our surprise when we learned that two Las Vegas hotel and casino properties have decided to accept Bitcoin onsite.
The D Las Vegas Hotel and Golden Gate Hotel & Casino will soon accept Bitcoin from gamblers. Unfortunately, the currency won’t actually be accepted for gambling. Instead, Bitcoin can be used at gift shops and restaurants at the two properties.
Bitcoin is a form of digital currency that is sent and received directly from peer to peer. That means there’s no third party involved. Users purchase them through special online Bitcoin exchanges and keep them in an e-wallet that they can access online.
Bitcoins can be used to make purchases online at retailers that accept the digital currency. Some online casinos are starting to accept Bitcoins, though it will likely be a few years before the majority of online casinos let you bet with them.
But if you think Bitcoin is just a fad, think again. There’s good reason for online casinos and other non-gambling properties to encourage the use of Bitcoin. The major reason? There aren’t any fees associated with Bitcoin.
Did you know that merchants pay anywhere from 3% to 5% in fees to the credit card companies per transaction? Domestic credit cards come in lower, but international credit cards tend to skew higher.
That means if a Las Vegas gambler buys a piece of jewelry for $5,000, the Vegas jewelry shop would ship at least $150 to Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or whatever payment type is being used.
With Bitcoin, that type of enormous fee is pretty much absent. The move by the two casinos to accept Bitcoin is likely driven in part to lower service fees, but also to be at the forefront of a big change in Las Vegas.
While some might argue that Bitcoin is just a fad, Golden Gate might be onto something. After all, the casino was the first in Las Vegas to install a telephone for public use. Oh, and they’re the first casino to serve a shrimp cocktail.
It will be interesting to see what kind of adoption rate the virtual currency has in the real world. Bitcoin tends to be popular among younger people who live, work, and play online. Those who hit Vegas usually come armed with wads of hundred dollar bills to spend, not Bitcoins. However, if the currency starts being accepted at the tables, you’ll likely see a lot more online gamblers make the move to real world betting—smoothly and effortlessly.