New technologies and the rapidly growing digital world continue to transform and shape the global gambling industry. Within the course of three decades, land-based casinos have evolved into online casinos, and online casinos have branched off into mobile casinos, VR casinos, and crypto casinos. Now, in the early beginnings of 2022, it seems NFT and the Metaverse could be the hot trends to spark the next iGaming evolution.
In fact, if NFT gambling and Metaverse gambling truly take off as some expect, iGaming could be completely revolutionized.
But what exactly is NFT and the Metaverse? More importantly, what impact can they have on the online gambling industry or on your plans to start an online casino business or expand your existing brand? Are these technologies something you need to think about, integrate as part of your platform, or need to invest in to stay ahead of the curve?
Here, we’ll reveal the details about these emerging gambling trends (or potential fads), including how they can disrupt the traditional online gambling scene and the target market most likely to be interested in spending on it. Our goal is to provide you with insight that can help you determine what is the most ideal path for your budding operation.
NFT and the Metaverse – What Are They?
Before we explore how NFT gambling and Metaverse gambling can affect the iGaming market, it’s first prudent to understand what is meant by the terms “NFT” and “Metaverse”.
What is an NFT?
NFT stands for non-fungible token. NFTs are crypto assets that exist on blockchains, which are cryptographic digital ledgers. Each NFT is completely unique and allows people to tokenize non-fungible assets, things like digital collectibles, art, an in-game item, a ticket to an event, a coupon, a domain name, real estate, etc. Currently, most NFTs incorporate digital artwork in the form of images, GIFs, videos and music.
That said, in essence, anything digital can be converted to an NFT and NFTs represent ownership of one-of-a-kind items. NFTs are typically exchanged for crypto (often Ethereum), but technically any NFT owner can sell their NFT for whatever currency they want. In fact, millions of dollars have been spent on non-fungible tokens in the last few years.
According to Forbes, NFTs launched into the mainstream spotlight when Beeple sold his “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” digital artwork for over $69 million (€61.8 million) in partnership with Christies. This mind-blowing sale took place in March 2021 and the person behind the purchase, Vignesh Sundaresan (more commonly known in the crypto community as MetaKovan), is the founder of crypto-based fund, the Metapurse NFT project.
While NFTs are popular in the digital art community, digital art is not the only way that NFTs can be utilized. In reality, they can be used to represent ownership of any unique asset, including a deed for an item in the digital of physical realm. NFTs can also be won in slot games or at NFT casinos, as we’ll discuss later in the NFT gambling section.
An NFT can have only one official owner at a time and these tokens are secured by a blockchain. They cannot be duplicated and the record of ownership cannot be modified by someone else. Unlike fungible items, it is the unique properties of the non-fungible tokens that determines their value.
Fungible Vs. Non-Fungible Assets
The primary difference between fungible and non-fungible assets is how they are traded and exchanged.
|Fungible Asset|| Fungible assets are exchanged every day, all the time. For instance, any time a person uses cash (or even cryptocurrency) to obtain goods and services (e.g. buying groceries, buying gas, or even using cash to wager on a slot at a casino) they are exchanging or trading fungible assets. Fungible assets are interchangeable with each other and their value defines them. |
Examples of fungible assets: currency, stocks and mutual funds, and precious metals.
|Non-fungible assets|| Non-fungible assets are unique. The value of a non-fungible asset is determined in its entirety (it cannot be separated into smaller parts and sold in pieces) and its value is judged on a variety of factors. Among these different factors considered by buyers and sellers may include: who previously owned the item (e.g. celebrity), how unique it is compared to other items (e.g. rarity), and how the market for non-fungible assets has changed over time (e.g popularity). |
Examples of non-fungible assets: NFTs, trading cards, and real estate. £1,115,003
Ethereum’s NFT blockchain evolution
Ethereum is much more than a cryptocurrency (ETH). It is a decentralized blockchain platform. Ethereum’s multipurpose platform enables developers to implement packets of code linked to a digital asset that authenticates this asset to be individually unique, traceable and verifiable. These are known as “smart contracts” and the digital assets connected to them essentially cannot be copied or hacked. NFTs are attached to smart contracts and most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain. That being said, NFTs are not exclusive to Ethereum. Other blockchains can also implement their own versions of NFTs.
Every year things become more digital, and there’s a growing need to replicate the uniqueness, scarcity, and proof of ownership that is afforded to physical items, for digital items. For instance, a person can buy an mp3 on iTunes, but they cannot re-sell it, nor can they exchange one company’s loyalty points for another company’s credit, even if a market exists for it. Basically, NFTs and Ethereum help to solve these problems by providing an un-hackable, uncopiable certificate of authentication.
What is the Metaverse?
In all honesty, there isn’t one single definition of what the metaverse is or will be. Broadly speaking, it is a real-time network of 3D virtual worlds in a constant state of existence that combines aspects of both the digital and physical worlds, with a major focus on social connection.
Perhaps one of the best definitions of what the Metaverse is can be summed up by Venture capitalist Matthew Ball:
“The Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”
Broadly speaking, like the Internet, the Metaverse is an entity on to itself. It isn’t defined by one type of technology; it is the resulting evolution of how we interact with the technologies (present and future) that are incorporated and used within it.
The Metaverse can include virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and extend reality (XR). However, as Ball points out, the Metaverse is commonly, erroneously described as virtual reality. He explains that while VR is one of the ways that the Metaverse can be experienced, VR isn’t the Metaverse any more than the mobile internet is an app nor are VR headsets the Metaverse any more than smartphones are the mobile internet.
Additionally, the evolving Metaverse isn’t only about creating an avatar, gaming (and even Metaverse gambling), and wandering around a digital universe socializing. It is also a digital economy where users have the power to create, buy, and sell goods (including assets like NFTs), allowing a person to not only take the persona they create everywhere from one platform to another, but also their inventories of virtual items (e.g. clothes, shoes, art, etc.).
Of course, even though some aspects of the Metaverse exist, not only has it yet to be fully defined, but it also does not exist in any mainstream capacity. According to Meta (formerly Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s estimate, it could take anywhere from five to ten years before the key features of the Metaverse become mainstream.
The Impact of NFT, Metaverse, and Decentralized Currency on Gambling
So, with all that said, how does knowing what we know about NFTs and the Metaverse today have any relation to or an impact on present day and future online gambling?
Non-fungible tokens have generated a secondary crypto market. Unlike crypto casinos which are decentralized but are still fungible assets, NFTs have a higher level of security due to being non-interchangeable, unique, and irreplaceable.
The idea behind the NFT gambling industry is that it will offer casino players:
- The chance to play games that feature one-of-a-kind NFT artwork
- The ability to win NFTs and authentically own the goods they win
- The chance to enjoy a share of casino profits
- Other VIP-like benefits
Obviously, the winning factor for iGaming businesses who offer NFTs is that they get to cash in on the popularity of this trend.
Though NFT iGaming as a whole is still in the early development stages, some online gambling sites and firms have begun implementing NFTs. The following are some notable examples.
King Bill Casino
King Billy Casino – an online casino that offers crypto slots – is credited as being the first online casino to create and offer a unique NFT, which it did back in June 2021. Its token – the “King Before the King” – is a one-of-a-kind collection that features five original designs that celebrates King Billy, the casino’s 3D hero. The rare artwork – like all NFT artwork – is “destined” to appreciate in value. The collection is priced at 1 ETH per item in the opensea.io marketplace.
Another way that NFTs are influencing the iGaming industry is by appearing in the games themselves. For instance, software developer Evolution Gaming – best known for its live casino products – announced in September 2021 the launch of the world’s first slot machine to integrate NFTs – NFT Megaways.
The “ground-breaking online slot” features four unique CryptoPunks digital artworks (914, 3008, 4701 and 8143) that Evolution purchased earlier that year for 86 ETH. In the slot, which was built by Evolution Group brand Red Tiger, the four CryptoPunks come together on the reels to multiply (and multiply again) the value of the cash prizes on offer to players. Evolution’s proof of ownership of these CryptoPunk NFTs (unique collectible characters created by Larva Labs that are among the earliest examples of NFTs) is stored on the Ethereum blockchain.
Founded in February 2020, the Rollbit platform specializes in cryptocurrencies and offers a variety of online games, among which include slots, table games and games shows, as well as exclusive in-house games. More recently, in 2021, the platform was the first to launch an NFTs project that allows users to buy, sell and win NFTs by creating Rollboxes. They can also get NFT collateralized loans with no fees.
A Rollbox is similar to a slot machine, which a user can set up by using their Rollbots NFTs. Rollbots are Rollbit’s unique 10,000 NFTs collection. Each Rollbot is a unique piece of digital art on Ethereum blockchain. Holders of Rollbots can transfer their existing NFTs to their Rollbit account and create a Rollbox. Rollbit casino users can then play on this Rollbox and win the NFT. In return, the creator of the Rollbox receives commission (a notable percentage of the wagered amount as profits).
Additionally, Rollbots provide special privileges (like a VIP membership) to ensure utility from the moment of launch. Beyond Rollbox commission, other benefits include earning increased rakeback for a Rollbit account, earning a share of the profits from Rollbit-themed games and the Rollbit NFT marketplace, and access to the weekly Rollbot Lottery.
Slotie is not a casino in itself. It is a collection of 10,000 unique ERC-721 NFTs created on the Ethereum Blockchain. Slotie NFT was launched in late 2021 by Elia Software, which is a leading gaming software organization that serves over 150 digital casinos, providing games, casino engines and payment integrations.
Slotie NFTs cost 0.08 ETH for the first 2,500 pre-sale mints, and 0.16 ETH for 7,000 public sale mints. Some obviously sold higher.
Slotie brings multi-utility benefits to their owners. Among these benefits include DeFi gambling – the ability to stake any of their NFTs in their partner’s casino’s slot games and receive revenue from the house edge, Slotie owners can also get tickets to the weekly “scratch and win” lotteries, a VIP membership that grants each NFT holder up to a 20% rakeback, and the ability to generate WATTS.
WATTS are a token that are like energy in the Slotie’s world. Every day, each Slotie owner gets 10 tokens. By accumulating WATTS, Sloties owners can breed their Sloties to create another series of NFTs called Junior Sloties. Owners of Junior Sloties double their rewards. To breed Sloties, an owner must have 2 sloties and 1800 WATTS.
If Slotie takes off as its creator intends, it could be the first NFT to generate real money from online gambling. This type of NFT gambling could truly revolutionize the industry.
Gambling Apes, a crypto casino, introduced an NFT collection of 7,777 unique apes that were created on the Ethereum blockchain and were minted in September 2021 for 0.07 ETH each. They sold out in 7 minutes. The Gambling Apes NFTs give owners utility, including co-owning a casino in the Metaverse, invitations to exclusive meetups and weekly competitions with big prize pools, and more.
The Gambling Apes Metaverse casino will eventually be located in Decentraland and will be decentralized and owned by all Gambling Apes NFT holders. Players who visit the Metaverse casino can play casino games with cryptocurrency.
Although the Metaverse is currently in a continuous state of evolution, Metaverse gambling does exist. More specifically, there are Metaverse casinos. These are virtual casinos with games played with cryptocurrency that exist within a larger digital universe that features other activities beyond casinos. In Metaverse casinos, players can interact with one another and even play games together.
More than just a place to enjoy casino games, Decentraland is a place where users can interact, create, explore, play and trade. It is the first fully decentralized virtual world and is controlled through the DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). The DAO is the owner of the most important smart contracts and assets of Decentraland. Through the DAO, users decide and vote on how the world works.
There are many different lands in Decentraland. One of these is Vegas City. In essence, it is a digital Sin City, a party town gambling town of Decentraland. Here is where users will find Metaverse gambling. There is more than one casino, but one of the most popular in Decentraland is Tominoya Casino, which is owned by 25-year-old, Miles Anthony.
Tominoya is well-liked among Decentraland users for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include:
- The casino accepts crypto coins – Players can bet with cryptocurrency and win cryptocurrency, this includes MANA, an Ethereum token that powers the Decentraland virtual economy. Other currencies include DAI, ATRI, and USDT.
- Decentralized gambling – Decentraland casinos run on blockchain, this means no fees, no regulators enforcing laws, and no country restrictions, making it open to anyone from anywhere in the world.
- Interactive live staff – Residents of Decentraland work as staff, which means players get to interact with actual people as they would in a land-based casino. In fact, Decentraland takes it to the next level, because players can interact with casino employees even when they are not playing the game.
- It’s nearly impossible for people to set up bots – Since it is run on blockchain, it is difficult to exploit Decentraland. Due to its complex nature, it is almost impossible for people to set up bots, a problem that is common in traditional online poker rooms with high stakes games.
- Highly social and immersive experience – Similar to a VR casino, those who play in Decentraland enjoy a truly immersive and interactive experience.
It’s not only Tominoya Casino that can be found in Decentraland. There is also the Atari Casino, which accepts ATRI, MANA and DAI. Beyond that, Atari is building a Metaverse on the Atari Chain that will have unlimited space and potential games and NFT collection. Each user will have an avatar to enter and explore the Metaverse.
The casino will include slots, poker, blackjack, roulette, and more. The Metaverse will be powered by the ATRI utility token, Atari’s ERC-20 token built on Etherem. It allows users to seamless connect to the blockchain via the Atari Chain digital wallet. Atari remains an active participant, developer and land-owner across several metaverses, including Decentraland and The Sandbox.
Decentral Games launched in unison with Decentraland in February 2020, and released its first casino in Decentraland’s Vegas City – Chateau Satoshi. Since then, it has launched five more casinos in that virtual world and reached a transaction volume of over USD$100 million. Among its casino partners include Bored Ape Yacht Club and Atari.
Decentral Games is a DAO and is attempting to establish a market for its own coin, a cryptocurrency called DG token, which is stored on a blockchain. Players of its casinos can earn rewards for playing games, which provides liquidity and participation in governance. The idea is to build the only casino where the players own the house.
Additionally, Decentral Games launched a new metaverse poker game called ICE Poker. This project allows players to earn money by competing against other players in free-to-play poker and completing daily challenges. It also introduced wearable NFTs. Players can receive Chips daily to play-to-earn ICE and XP. Players can then burn the adequate amount of ICE and XP to upgrade their existing NFTs, and pay 0.1 DG to burn the old NFT. These wearable NFTs can also be purchased in the Decentral Games NFT Marketplace. Decentral Game’s goal for the ICE token and the NFT wearable market is to create an ecosystem that incentivizes gameplay and competition.
Decentralized Gambling – Crypto Gambling
Presently, the gambling industry is extremely centralized, with gambling operators and regulators calling all the shots and FIAT currency the primary finance option. Although it is important to have regulations and control to prevent gambling-related harm (e.g. addiction, underage betting, etc.), at the same time, too much power has led to some gambling companies engaging in questionable conduct and unfair practices. Over the years, the abuse of power has become a source of concern for some companies and players, who feel the gambling industry would do well to incorporate decentralized finance.
Decentralized casinos are gambling platforms that function on blockchain technology. Instead of data being stored in one place, this technology disperses and scatters data across various networks and computers, which are visible and verifiable by anyone who chooses to inspect them.
In essence, the theory is that gambling decentralized applications (Dapps), provide greater anonymity, fairness, faster and smoother transactions, and lower operational costs, which means more money for operators and a lower house edge for players.
While there are many casinos and betting sites that use common cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc., there are others that use there own token, such as the newly launched Chipz DeFi* gambling platform, which could be a game-changer if it takes off.
*DeFi stands for Decentralized Finance and is an emerging financial technology that is based on secure distributed ledgers that are similar to those utilized by cryptocurrency.
Chipz is a crypto-based gambling platform that uses blockchain technology to change the way players experience gambling platforms. CHIPZ is an ERC 20 utility token and it powers the Chipz network. This cryptocurrency can be traded on Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Pancake Swap, Uniswap, and others.
Chipz offers players decentralized no-limit betting and no KYC. It is the first to introduce DeFi-backed solutions for betting. It allows gamblers to stake assets and earn yield over time based on the result of major events.
The Chipz platform gives players the power to bet on any topics around the globe ranging from mainstream sports and politics to eSports, live streams and even cryptocurrency. Unlike traditional betting platforms, users can enjoy certain benefits that can enhance their betting experience. This includes speculating on the value of the CHIPZ token while betting on the games, so that while their bet is live they can also accrue value via an increase in price of the CHIPZ token. The platform also offers a 15% APY staking rewards as the bet is happening
Start a Crypto Casino
Interested in adding cryptocurrency to your online gambling business or want to start a Bitcoin casino? There are several trusted software platforms that can help you start a crypto casino or include cryptocurrency as one of your payment options! Some of the software solutions TCS recommends include:
NFT and the Metaverse – Fad or the Future of iGaming?
While there’s no certainty on what the future holds for the iGaming industry, the online casinos of the future aren’t likely to resemble the online casinos of today.
That being said, in ten years from now will everyone be wearing VR headset wandering around a digital universe as their own unique avatar playing slot machines, or buying unique NFTs to become shareholders of the casino’s house edge? Maybe, but before then, VR will need to become widely accessible and cost-effective, and NFTs will have to prove that they have long-term value, and are more than just an explosive fad.
The issue with NFT gambling is that it relies on developers staying engaged and building value long-term. If gambling operators are not interested in signing up to support NFTs, there won’t be any value for NFTs outside of the art. The reality is that while utility NFTs like Slotie and Rollbot have the potential to generate indirect, passive income from the iGaming industry, at the same time it could be a disaster for both developers and operators if buyers lose interest or confidence in these projects. Considering it’s a young and tech-savvy audience (18 – 34-year-olds) with a disposable income who dominate the NFTs buyer market, it’s hard to say how enduring these NFT gambling projects will be.
The primary issue with Metaverse gambling is that no one knows what the Metaverse will be in the next ten years. This means investing in it is a long-term play that’s sure to have lots of hurdles and unknowns to overcome. Moreover, due to current Metaverse casinos being totally decentralized and run by the people who contribute to the world, there’s no regulation, which opens the door to issues like problem gambling and underage gambling.
However, NFTs and Metaverse aside, experts predict decentralized gambling on the whole isn’t a fad, and we have to agree. Though it is still much too early to tell if NFTs and the Metaverse will become mainstream forms of gambling capable of completely revolutionizing the iGaming industry, there’s no question that blockchain is gaining a stronger foothold in digital gambling.
This foothold is only likely to dig in further in coming years as younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z – who are more familiar, comfortable and interested in blockchain technologies and assets – make up the bulk of the players who partake in online gambling activities.
The trends that thrive – be it NFT gambling, Metaverse gambling, or some other yet-to-be-introduced digital wonder – will be the trends that most appeal to the dominant demographic. We believe decentralized gambling is one of these trends that will thrive in the years to come as its young and tech-savvy users continue to give it value.
TCS Can Help!
Do you have questions about NFTs, the Metaverse, or decentralized gambling? Are you interested in how you can get started with your own decentralized casino business? Get in touch with the TCS team. We can guide you toward finding the answers you need and connect you with the right online casino software partner who can help you realize your goals.
It is important to invest in a project that interests you. Whether you’d prefer to take a traditional centralized approach to starting your online gambling business, a decentralized approach, or a combination of the two, TCS can help!