Players flock to virtual casinos in the metaverse app

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A Decentraland ICE Poker lounge (Decentral Games)

Metaverse tourists are now sending themselves to virtual poker rooms to bet on crypto wealth.

In Decentraland, a virtual space accessible through a web browser, visitors can choose an avatar to visit a wide variety of destinations, Bloomberg reported. But the hippest virtual hangout is ICE Poker casino.

Inside, hundreds of cartoonish people dressed in streetwear and sunglasses hover near the poker tables to hear the sounds of a winning hand – a cash register or the bursting of emojis.

To play, online guests must borrow or buy a piece of virtual loot sold by the casino — a hat, sunglasses, shirt, cigar — which can then be sold for cryptocurrency, Bloomberg reported. . Poker chips can be used to upgrade items and increase their value.

A Decentraland ICE Poker lounge (Decentral Games)

Decentraland’s four poker rooms frequently host about half of the people in its entire metaverse.

In Decentraland, the poker rooms known as ICE Poker are operated by a company called Decentral Games, a money-making gaming leader founded in 2019 and based in Virgin, Utah, according to Crunchbase. The company does not have a gambling license in the United States and claims that it does not need one because players do not directly cash in the chips after playing.

Decentraland is an amalgamation of the two themes most sought after by tech investors: the metaverse and Web3, a blockchain-based decentralized online ecosystem, according to Bloomberg.

An ICE Poker game (Decentral Games)

People buy and sell the app’s custom currency, MANA, which has a market value of $4.7 billion. Some 600,000 people use the app each month, according to its creative director.

Betting houses have become the hub of the metaverse economy.

Financial speculators spent over $500 million last year to buy virtual real estate in Decentraland and three other metaverses, according to data from MetaMetric Solutions reported by CNBC.

A Decentraland ICE Poker lounge (Decentral Games)

“The main problem with the metaverse now, even in the early days of ICE Poker, is the fact that it’s empty,” Miles Anthony, founder of Decentral Games, told Bloomberg. “So we’re trying to fill the metaverse, basically, with that, and it seems to have worked so far.”

Anyone can play poker in Decentraland as long as their character has the digital swag known as ICE wearables. Decentral Games sells them on its website for around $5,000 apiece. Each is a non-fungible token (NFT), meaning it is unique and can be resold on marketplaces such as OpenSea.

Owners can also loan them out, often taking a share of the borrower’s earnings.

Decentral Games has paid players the equivalent of $15.4 million, said Ryan De Taboada, the company’s chief operating officer. One day in February, nearly 10,000 people played poker at Decentraland. Of these, only about 11% had the NFT used for entry. The others borrowed one.

[Bloomberg]Dana Barthelemy

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