As you may know, rumors fly about wildly when it comes to large companies adopting Bitcoin (nope, you still can’t send it via PayPal). So instead of pushing an unconfirmed rumor, I’ll instead outline the three primary reasons PokerStars can’t afford not to take Bitcoin much longer:
1. Easier global cash-outs means more customers. Some states around the world try to prevent people from playing games for money. They threaten to punish any companies caught letting people who live in specific areas participate in gambling. Many players get around these threats by using virtual private networks (VPNs) to use the Internet infrastructure of other lands to access gaming sites.
But that still leaves the banking hurdle—how do you cash out when your bank cooperates with a state to prevent you from playing online poker? This is where Bitcoin comes in. You don’t need a bank to cash out or ante up. With Bitcoin, you are your own bank.
2. Diminished rake provides serious competitive edge. Bitcoin is cheaper to use than fiat. This is because fiat has to be transferred via third parties (PayPal, banks, Western Union, etc.), and third parties take a fee.
Because Bitcoin employs no third party, but rather transfers value through an open-source protocol that’s free to all, its fees are miniscule. This means that an online gambling site can lower their overhead costs of operation, and pass those savings on to the players in the form of a lower rake. Lower rakes—like all lowered prices—attract customers.
3. Cryptocurrency eliminates costs of fraud, banking, and customer data breaches. Online casinos stand to increase profitability by cutting out the costs of dealing with fiat. In addition to the fees of third-party transfers mentioned above, there are additional costs that Bitcoin eliminates.
How about chargebacks when it turns out that someone’s credit card or bank account was hacked and used to play poker? How about overdraft fees and transfer fees charged by banks? And how about the ridiculously real threat of hackers accessing the database where all your customers’ financial data is stored? Bitcoin decouples personal identity from payments, making identity theft impossible.
And if the word on the street—that “everything that can be decentralized will be decentralized”—holds true, then PokerStars may eventually fold altogether (if they don’t become programmers). Why? Future peer-to-peer gambling protocols like CyberDice will offer provably fair odds, 0% house edges and rakes, and zero state-imposed restrictions.
But in the meantime, Bitcoin is ready and waiting.
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