Is it finally time for Blockchain to make its mark on iGaming?

During the recent CoinGeek Live 2020 conference, one of the key events on Day 3 was a presentation about the impact of blockchain technology on the iGaming sector. Despite being linked to the remote gaming sector since its inception, blockchain tech is yet to achieve the industry-wide shake-up that crypto-enthusiasts once predicted.  

However, according to the ‘iGaming Future: How the Bitcoin Blockchain Can Power More Efficiency and Transparency Across the Industry’s Value Chain’ discussion, Bitcoin SV offers a wealth of benefits to operators across the iGaming spectrum that they just don’t know about yet.  

Headed up by Premier Consulting’s Nick Hill, Day 3’s session brought together a variety of panellists from both the iGaming and blockchain worlds, including BitBoss CTO Alex Shore and Carl Brincat, Malta Gaming Authority’s Chief Legal and Enforcement Officer.  

An effective tool for operators 

Opening the discussion, Shore explained that despite the link between blockchain and transparency, there were “almost no examples of that being executed in the gaming space” – something that, under Shore’s leadership, BitBoss is looking to change.  

The Bitcoin SV-based eco-system aims to offer up the power of blockchain as a tool, rather than a sales point. Instead of operators viewing it as something that needs a completely new platform for, blockchain needs to be seen instead as “just another technology” to be “compared with similar technologies to see what the benefits are”.  

By viewing it in this way, operators will be able to make better-informed decisions about the pros and cons of applying blockchain to their offerings, as well as access all those transparency and efficiency benefits that naturally come with using the technology of this nature.   

Provably Fair Gaming  

A key topic that came up during the discussion was that of Provably Fair Gaming.  

Currently, legitimate and well-established online casino operators like PokerStars Casino adhere to Provably Fair Gaming regulations through the use of a Random Number generator, which ensures that all of the games offered by the operator including popular variants of online slot games have a completely random outcome. But the application of blockchain could take PFG compliance to the next level.  

Like all transactions that take place on the Bitcoin blockchain, individual game data for each game played using the blockchain will be recorded on the public ledger. This means that everything from spins of the slots wheel to histories of winning hands in poker games will be available for gamers to view.  

For new players, this gives peace of mind that games are indeed fair. It empowers them to make effective choices when choosing both a casino operator and specific games to play. More experienced players, meanwhile, will be able to track each and every wager they make, since information stored on the blockchain is stored for all time.  

Smart Contracts  

Taking transparency, security, and efficiency to the next level, smart contracts could be the future of blockchain-based iGaming and even allow room for brick and mortar casinos to get on board. Blockchain has massive scaling potential, meaning that every single transaction the real money gaming industry generates can be instantly recorded and stored.  

The benefits of these smart contracts are numerous and widespreadplayer privacy and anonymity, transaction speed, and reduced costs to name just a few. They all benefit operators as much as they do individual players. There are, however, some barriers in the way of an industry rollout for smart contracts, namely in the form of regulators.  

According to Shore, regulators like the Malta Gaming Authority view smart contracts as a “mixed bag”. For all their benefits like “fairness for the player” and the potential for operators to avoid “disputes, non-payments” and the like, as yet there is no industry-wide solution to the very necessary “adherence to certain regulatory requirements”. Although fundamental regulations for the iGaming industry remain the same across the board, each individual gaming authority does set out certain conditions that operators need to meet.  

The general consensus, however, is that meaningful change is not going to happen on an industry-wide level unless “someone agitates for it”. Operators need to push to be ahead of regulation. In order to properly disrupt the iGaming space in the way that it can, blockchain tech needs “an ambassador…somebody to work with operators” to encourage them to evolve and embrace all that this technology has to offer.  

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