IGT patent brings Bitcoin to your local brick and mortar

Jon Pill
Posted on: January 08, 2021 11:10 PST

International Gaming Technology PLC has filed a patent that will allow players to use cryptocurrencies on their slot machines. This will include brick and mortar locations. The move follow's last year's decision by the Nevada Gaming Commission on cashless casinos. This made it easier to get cashless tech approved for use.

IGT also announced that they have the relevant regulatory approval for their new tech. The system will allow players to use a cashless wallet in conjunction with a casino specific loyalty card. With this they'll be able to feed digital coins into digital slots at physical locations.

Ryan Reddy, the IGT Vice President of VLT Systems and Payments Products, explained that the "Resort Wallet solution ensures that our customers can experience the increased liquidity, player convenience, and enhanced safety that only cashless gaming can deliver. This solution will heighten the player experience to new levels while positioning our customers as technology leaders."

IGT is the biggest maker of slot machines, with 532 current titles available in 274 jurisdictions. Their slots are enormously popular both in internet casinos and physical locations.

Bitcoin now

The patent filing most likely has an eye on current trends in the casino-sphere. Bitcoin in particular, and cryptocurrencies in general, have proved popular with poker players.

Poker players flocked to the currency as an investment, which has seen an enormous rally this year. ACR described conducting 90-95% of its cashouts to Bitcoin at one point.

This reflects in part the huge gains Bitcoin made in 2020, nearly quadrupling in value. But it also reflects the suspicion in which U.S. poker players hold the regulators after the Black Friday crackdown of 2011. Whether the view is accurate or not, Bitcoin is considered in part a way of sticking it to the Man, or at least of throwing him off a player's scent.

Numerous crypto casinos have cropped up online, but few have made great inroads to the market. People do use crypto as a currency, especially for large purchases. But much of crypto's value at the moment is as part of an investment portfolio.

However, IGT's patent future proofs them from being left behind should crypto become more mainstream. Phil O’Shaughnessy, a spokesperson for IGT, said, “IGT secured this patent to bolster its industry-leading patent portfolio in anticipation of any possible future direction in regulated gaming involving cryptocurrency.”

Cashless future

The move also follows a shift towards a cashless ecosystem. In the U.S., contactless card payments have not caught on in the way they have in Europe. As a result, this option is a real game-changer for live players.

The IGT patent appears similar in principle to other cashless casino ideas. It would allow players to use a digital wallet or a casino cashcard to make payments at slots.

Slots lend themselves to this sort of interaction. But it seems likely that the table games will also soon follow once the technology is more established. This suggests a future where you can buy into your local $1/$2 game in Etherium, run it up in dollar chips, and cash out in Dogecoin.

The new IGT system will appear first in Nevada casinos.

Bitcoin's day is coming. See our piece on cryptocurrency buying trends for more.

Featured image by Jorge Frangilo, sourced from Flickr