NEW YORK – Midday in Times Square was going about as planned as the tacky mecca of Manhattan slowly returned to its pre-COVID allure. Two young women struggled to sync their dance routine with TikTok-level dignity. An older man appears and locks behind them in a serious exercise in one-upmanship.
Tourists lined up for cheap theater tickets. A huge video billboard overlooking the Olive Garden boasted an NFT collection that missed its deadline five months ago.
Somewhere in the pulsating glow of these immersive, sensory blocks, one of New York’s first casinos might open one day. A claimant had announced such plans a few weeks earlier.
There’s a new Hard Rock Hotel right there on 48th street, and although it was ruled out for casino games, it still serves as a booster.
But New Yorkers already gamble at online casinos, even though it’s not legal here. Even with online casino gambling legal in only six states, there were still unregulated offshore options. The most recent are comically like the Times Square caricature: overt, extravagant.
Now, metaverse casinos using cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens as “legal” distribution cards and dice to avatars reach all jurisdictions with broadband, defying all gambling laws no matter how well written.
A block from Times Square, their idea took up half the agenda of the iGaming NEXT Conference.
Whether the metaverse as a staging area for online gambling is sustainable, possible, legal, or safe has remained a source of great speculation, even after a series of panels featuring devotees and skeptics.
But real and virtual money flows into this virtual space. So in the gaming industry right now the metaverse is very real.
This does not mean that no one understood it.
“We cannot say precisely how this will lead to [legal] gambling,” Ed Birkinsenior consultant at H2 Gambling Capital.
In part 2 of Play USAfrom the series on the gamblification of metaversewe explore how tech companies and entrepreneurs are trying to chart this endless and possibly lucrative digital new earth.
Part 1: Presentation
Part 2: Why Metaverse Casinos?
Entain among the first powers landed to explore the metaverse as start-ups build their own worlds
gaming giant hear in January announced plans to invest $133 million to launch Innovatea partnership with, among others, Verizon. The objective: to develop sports content in the metaverse and applications for NFT, virtual and augmented reality.
Microsoft acquired a game developer ActivisionBlizzard for $68.7 billion approved last week. The objective: to extend its presence in the interactive game.
Facebook parent company rebranded Meta.
Fortnite creators epic games raised $2 billion from LEGO and Sony to launch a metaverse expedition.
There are skeptics in the kitchen, however. The recent crash in the crypto and NFT markets highlights their points and paints a it-will-work-won’t-it? look at the faces of true believers.
“Let’s start with my personal feelings which are not necessarily representative of those of Entain”, Martin Lyckaplease for US Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gaming at Entain Told PlayUSA.
“I just don’t see why I would want to do what I can do in real life in the metaverse. Why would I want to go to the Starbucks Metaverse if my Starbucks is a seven minute walk from home in that direction? There is another, 10 minutes in the opposite direction. But I appreciate that a lot of people, for various reasons I guess, prefer to live in a virtual world.
“So from an industry perspective and certainly from an Entain perspective, as always, we try to meet the needs and wants of our customers. So we tried, along with others in the industry, to replicate the sports betting/casino experience in the digital world of the metaverse. …And I guess it’s definitely on the rise now, just like the whole younger generation of gamers.
These new landscapes could be virtual strongholds for companies seeking to win audiences and customers. Trading can be done using NFTs, tokens, or cryptocurrencies created specifically for each world, like MANA in the popular Decentralized Platform.
It was already legal repel of the Texas Securities Board on the use of NFTs for casino games in the metaverse. There seem to be more other states coming to realize that the economy is growing around them. And there is always the possibility of federal intervention.
Sure, decentralization is supposed to be a thing here, a state of freedom where users can help build a world on web3 foundations limited only by the imagination and content of their virtual portfolio.
Mark ZuckerbergThe well-known attempts to build a highly centralized metaverse made him a virtual villain on another plain.
“Will a betting shop of the future actually be headsets or 3D flat screens? We just don’t know,” Birkin conceded.
“Maybe Entain knows, or maybe they just spent $100 million on consultants to tell them.”
But there is the concession that customer demographics will be young and crypto savvy. And it looks like VR is the preferred route as online gamers go from online slot machines at live dealer poker to “actually be there,” Birkin said. This is a start.
“And suddenly if you put on a headset,” Birkin continued, “you have a more immersive experience.”
“How does that translate into the larger game genre, I know people who are at the Super Bowl on VR headsets and suddenly if they’re talking to people you can place bets and they’re kind of sitting there at halftime, get up and go roulette, rather than just watch, go on your couch watching TV with your phone in your hands.
Metaverse casinos have yet to be rooted in land regulations
Paul Rogas certainly hope that is the case. The CEO of Bet UThe sports betting and free games ecosystem of hopes to launch a metaverse casino resort in June designed to replicate the whole experience jet to Las Vegas or Macau.
“We differentiate ourselves with the whole casino aspect,” Rogash said. Play USA.
“We actually focus – in terms of games – on this specific niche, whereas many other metaverses try to create an entire world where people build on top of it.
“We are creating this casino floor, game levels to win, then the hotel, where people can furnish their rooms and create their little lives there. But that’s all we’re trying to do. We’re not trying to get other people to build galaxies or different townships or anything on top of our network.
And his company, Rogash said, is concerned about where these avatars come from in the tangible world. Decentralized Games, which is built on the Ethereum-powered Decentraland platform and is headquartered in Panama. Yet it is readily available in the United States, where a patchwork of state laws were written before crypto or NFTs as in-game currency could have been codified. Among the residents of Decentraland is a Atari crypto casino.
ICEPoker is Decentraland’s most popular destination, responsible for almost a third of its 600,000 visitors. With over 100,000 monthly active users, it had generated over $7.5 million through March. The free, peer-to-peer “poker simulation” rewards winners with NFTs in a system that Decentral Games has been careful to streamline as not constituting a game.
Advocates of unregulated, untaxed and responsible gaming and consumers with no oversight to protect users. This does not mean that they will always act with impunity, said John Holdenassistant professor at Oklahoma State University who studies the gaming industry.
“A big part of the problem is that not many people have even a basic understanding of the metaverse, NFTs, Web 3.0, etc.,” he said. PlayUSA.
“Granted, no one thought of these things when most gambling laws were crafted. The reality is that if law enforcement wants to prosecute an operator, they will. Time and Courts will ultimately determine whether existing laws apply, but there has long been debate that Bitcoin’s status was some kind of legal protection.
“The [Department of Justice] had no problem finding enforceable laws to prosecute people who commit crimes with or around Bitcoin. I expect the same to happen with the metaverse.
BeU Casinosaid Rogash, will be based in Curacao but will seek licensing in US markets when laws permit.
“Eventually, we would like to go for a lot of different local licenses in the United States, et cetera,” he said.
“It’s a bit state-run, but at this point it would be limited. And this is where one of the contradictory things in the gambling space is that there are some kind of decentralized platforms that offer gambling services.
“But to me, it’s just a very risky game when you’re trying to circumvent gambling laws, because the laws are quite strict. And the founders of things can still be held liable for the actions of the company. in the space of gambling.
“I think it’s quite a risky game to just open up these decentralized networks with especially doxx teams where people know who they are. Everyone has different opinions on decentralization, can it be stopped by governments or not ? “
“I think some people are trying to circumvent these gambling laws based on that alone, but that’s not something we want to do.”
There are a lot of opposing opinions in virtual meeting rooms right now.