The gambling industry has come a long way since its early days, thanks mostly to the evolution and growth of technology. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that the industry began to experience change, with the introduction of the World-Wide-Web. Let’s take a look at this remarkable journey, and explore the past, present and future of the player-to-casino relationship and the role crypto gambling is about to play.
The early days
Gambling has been an activity that, according to religious scholars, dates all the way back to the days of Jesus! However, for the benefit of simplicity, we’ll fast forward a couple of thousand years to the erection of the Las Vegas Strip in the 1930s. Land based casinos all share similar characteristics. Much like in the case of Las Vegas, they are normally spread-out sporadically, forcing the citizens to travel long distances just to have a chance at playing the many games on offer.
Next, players must exchange real-world money for chips, and then reverse the process should they walk away a winner. Gameplay is often quite slow, as in the example of roulette, the spin of a wheel will only occur once all bets have been placed. Furthermore, remaining anonymous is an impossible task, as if the floor walkers don’t remember you, the 100+ face-recognition cameras certainly will! Unless living within close distance to a land based casino, this type of set up is only suitable for the occasional visit.
The Internet Revolution
Once access to internet facilities started to become more wide-spread, casinos figured that there was an opportunity to modernize the industry in its entirety. Online platforms popped up left, right and centre, allowing players to access the very same games that they would do in a land based casino, but instead in front of their 56k modem driven Windows 98 PC. Instead of using cold-hard cash, players would open an account and then deposit using their debit or credit card. Back in the early days of online gambling, anti-money laundering policies were not really a thing, so the identification of players was not something casinos readily followed. However, upon pressure from national regulators, customer due diligence became a requirement, forcing all players to submit a variety of documentation such as a passport and proof of address.
Smart Phone Convenience
Next up in the timeline of gambling transition came the ability to gamble on the move. By downloading a casino app to one’s phone and having a stable internet connection, it was now possible to game anywhere in the world. Casinos often target this form of online betting more than any other, knowing that people have their mobile phones on them at most times. As a result, players became more and more active, especially those from the younger generation.
So what’s next for the online gambling industry? They have gone from bricks and mortar, to online, to smart phone betting. However, the real transition is happening as we speak. All of the aforementioned platforms have one thing in common – they are all centralized. This means that the casino operator has full control over the players they serve. For example, when you deposit funds in to your account, you are trusting that the casino will not attempt to scam you. In most cases your funds will be safe, however history suggests that rouge casinos do pop up from time to time.
Next, when playing your favourite games such as roulette or blackjack, there are no mechanisms in place to check that the odds on offer are actually being honoured. This is because the casino keeps all of the gameplay data behind closed doors, with no opportunities for the public to verify the legitimacy of each outcome. Finally, when it comes to withdrawing your funds, you will have no choice but to comply with any identification requirements that casino imposes on you. Although in most cases they are just following regulations, casinos have been known to request unreasonable documents such as a passport signed by a government official, with the view of delaying the withdrawal process as much as possible.
Baring all of these issues in mind, blockchain technology has created a fantastic opportunity for crypto gambling websites to completely revolutionize the industry. This is highly evident in the amount of new operators entering the market. Firstly, when you open an account with a crypto gambling website, you normally need to provide nothing more than an email address. The reason for this is that you are depositing, staking and withdrawing funds in cryptocurrency, which doesn’t fall under the scope of anti-money laundering regulations.
When it comes to trust, which is potentially one of the most important aspects to the player-to-casino relationship, blockchain technology ensures that each and every transaction can be independently verified on the public ledger. By combining a provably fair protocol with a cryptographic algorithm, it is now possible to audit previous gameplay data to ensure each outcome was randomly generated.
Finally, when it comes the withdrawal of winnings, those using crypto gambling operators often get their funds back in a matter of minutes. As we mentioned earlier, blockchain casinos are not required to follow the same set of regulatory burdens as their fiat counterparts, allowing operators to process withdrawal requests without delay. Moreover, unlike debit card withdrawals which often take three-to-five working days to show up in your account, wallet-to-wallet transfers usually take no longer than 10 minutes to process.