We don't even know if we can call this a big experiment, or rather the first appearance of something that is going to be inevitable, but we know that if what is getting its start these days in Las Vegas is successful, it will be a harbinger of things to come in the gambling industry - whether that is online or in the land-based environment.
Anyone who has followed Bitcoin - the virtual currency that, within just a few years has garnered much attention and been the subject of much controversy - knows that folks with an entrepreneurial spirit in this space have been thinking about ways to integrate the currency with those ordinary ways of doing business that people may be well used to. Of course, one of those things is the ATM machine. After all, what else could be more natural or commonplace, right? And what could be more of a part of the fabric of a casino, aside from the tables and dealers? People always want cash in a casino, and in New Zealand it is obviously no exception, as customers scramble for a way to play the pokies.
An ATM machine that deals in Bitcoin is being into the D Casino in Las Vegas' downtown area - the first one of its kind that is placed into a gambling facility. It's called a "Robocoin" machine, and it can hold up to a half million dollars in cash. The proprietors of this machine have experienced great success with it elsewhere; for example, when they put one in a Canadian coffee shop last year, they did $1 million worth of transactions within the first month.
There are some possibilities for those who would like to travel to Las Vegas from a place like New Zealand, let's say, and they have an appreciable amount of Bitcoin in their wallet and once they get to the casino, they want to convert that to cash. Remember that Bitcoin transactions are ideally anonymous, so no one would know the difference. What is interesting is that this has been mostly the result of the D Casino starting to accept Bitcoin in January, and it has been said that this has attracted an unusual amount of international business to the venue.
As far as security is concerned, the machines have passed muster with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which is a pretty exacting group. The more success machines like this have, the more likely you will see a spillover to the online gambling space. So welcome to a whole new era!