Online gambling is far from being a novelty. Since the very inception of the internet, gamblers have turned to virtual platforms for their wagers while pinning their hopes of landing a winning hand on online casinos.
And with real-life casinos shuttered across the world during the pandemic, bettors have increasingly embraced virtual gambling opportunities. But one particular Sin City has risen above the rest - the metaverse. Although still a vastly unexplored concept, it can more simply be described as a shared virtual world where real-life and digital experiences crossover, and users can engage in a vast number of activities, from buying virtual goods to meeting new people and starting businesses.
Given the endless possibilities, or better yet, its estimated yearly trillion dollar money making potential, no wonder then that gambling has become a top activity in the metaverse. Players are blowing millions and raking in millions more in virtual world casinos. One such casino, ICE Poker, reported a revenue of $7.5 million in the first three months of 2022. And while it cannot be compared to the astronomical numbers pulled by the world’s gambling capital, Macau, it is yet a notable feat for an industry still taking its first steps in the metaverse.
What Is Decentralized Gambling
We can think of metaverse casinos, or crypto casinos, as extensions of regular online casinos or betting platforms, except for the fact that all transactions are processed not in fiat but - yes, you’ve guessed it - in crypto currency. Decentralized gambling can lay claim to a number of benefits. In theory, by relying on blockchain technology, crypto gambling ensures a higher level of transparency, security and privacy.
Players may also welcome the idea that their bets are not being rigged in favor of the house while, on the other hand, the more creative casino cheats won’t find much luck in trying their tricks in the metaverse. Winnings and bets are recorded on the blockchain and quite often a crypto casino won’t charge fees when entering, say, a poker tournament or other gambling events.
And the taxes, you may ask? That’s still a gray area. The crypto industry is only now starting to become a subject of regulation, but it seems Uncle Sam won’t be coming for a cut of your fortunes for the time being.
That isn't to say that gambling in virtual environments is not without risks. There are many jurisdictions around the world where online gambling is illegal, including in virtual worlds, and we suggest you get familiar with your local laws.
Decentralized betting exchanges also rely on blockchain protocols to enable peer-to-peer matching of bets in a way that removes the need for a ‘trusted middleman’ - as is the case with a traditional bookmaker or exchange. This means that not only betting can be done at a fraction of the price while eliminating counterparty risks, but also that players might feel even more welcomed.
All in all, it’s fair to say that the metaverse makes for a different and heightened gambling experience from that of physical casinos or even online platforms.
Where Can You Gamble In The Metaverse
In the midst of the virtual glittering lights and neon glow of a parade of extravagant metaverse casinos, the buzziest digital City of Lights today is located in Decentraland - a decentralized virtual world built on the Ethereum blockchain. This metaverse is entirely owned by its users, without the intervention of a governing entity, and is managed through smart contracts.
Using an avatar, users can easily enter Decentraland and be transported to a digital twin of physical locations and experiences, be that visiting an art gallery, attending a music concert or taking part in pop-up activities like a Scavenger Hunt. Users can also purchase virtual land in the platform, which gives them complete ownership and control of their metaverse properties and any applications they create within it.
Thanks to its decentralized technology, Decentraland can count on a thriving open market where transactions are made through the in-platform cryptocurrency, MANA, which has a current market value of some $4.2 billion.
And while there are endless events taking place at any given time, turns out that people really enjoy visiting Decentraland’s Vegas City more than anything else. In fact, poker rooms in Decentraland frequently host about half of the people in its metaverse.
Taking clear inspiration from the famed Vegas Strip, Decentraland’s virtual casino district doesn’t differ much from the real-life thing. Entering one of its many casinos, users are greeted by crowds of gamblers sporting (at times quite questionable) streetwear fashion, from funky wigs to extravagant shoes and, of course, the mandatory sunglasses for the poker playing crowd.
Poker is the go-to gambling choice, but this digital sin city is hardly short on other offerings. Players can hit the tables virtually and play blackjack, backgammon, roulette or try their luck at the slot machine. The sound of the cash register cha-ching, the shuffling of card decks or poker chips and the hand-clap emojis are a constant background reminder that this metaverse experience is aimed as being as realistic as possible - and, more importantly, there is real money to be made.
Top Casinos On Decentraland
Decentraland has a number of crypto casinos you might want to explore:
Developed by Decentral Games, a distributed autonomous organization (DAO), and launched in the Decentraland metaverse world in 2019, Chateau Satotoshi is an art deco inspired casino spanning across three floors, including a casino, a nightclub and a theater. Here, gamblers can find all the traditional real-life casino games and use MANA or ETH to try and make their crypto fortunes.
This Japanese-themed casino is also run by Decentral Games, but unlike other platforms, gamblers are greeted by real-life hosts instead of computer-generated bots. The casino recently went on a hiring spree and has on-boarded 20 part-time greeters and a full-time manager to help with day to day operations, according to Decentral Games founder Miles Anthony.
At Tominoya, users can try their hand at a variety of decentralized casino games including blackjack and poker using MANA, DAI, or simply free play. More risk averse bettors can also choose to place their crypto on games of chance like the slot machines and roulette tables. There is also gameplay involving real estate NFTs through which holders can earn a passive income of as much as 30% as part of a leasing agreement with the casino.
Tominoya Casino also features a conference hall where live streaming events are frequently held. Given its vast gambling offers and its interactive live staff Tominoya has fast become a favorite metaverse gambling destination.
Serenity Island is a sprawling casino laid out across three floors, including a nightclub area, all of it in a Monte Carlo-inspired architecture. Players must climb a massive island (that's part of the fun, we promise) to enter this casino and unlike some of the other virtual casinos featured in Decentraland, Serenity Island can come across more like a beach house experience rather than a full-on casino. That’s a proposition that can certainly appeal to the more low-key players.
Last year, iconic video and arcade game maker Atari partnered with Decentral Games to launch the Atari Casino in Decentraland. The project is yet to be fully launched but according to Atari it will feature a number of arcade games through which users will be able to find nostalgic titles along with some new games where gamblers will have to use a combination of luck and skill. Players will also be able to search for the gaming company’s exclusive wearables located throughout the casino. The platform is supported by Matic Network, a move aimed at making game transactions cheaper and quicker when compared to other casinos. The Atari Casino is expected to rake in $400 million over 2 years in bets alone. Gamers will be able to play with a wide range of tokens, including ETH, DAI and Decentraland’s own cryptocurrency MANA. Moreover, a so-called “gaming mining” program will reward gamblers with Decentral Games’ governance token, $DG.
The undisputed go-to metaverse poker parlor is ICE Poker, with all the real-life trappings of the poker life included. That’s because new players are expected to live up to the poker swag and purchase at least one ICE Wearable before being accepted. Trouble is that they’ll have to cough up thousands of dollars just to have a foot in the door as the minimum price for such NFTs commands a minimum price of nearly $7000 on marketplaces like OpenSea. Fortunately, interested players can simply rent a wearable from other players who get a generous cut of their profits, an arrangement that’s become increasingly popular.
ICE Poker has become a favorite with Decentraland’s residents also thanks to its daily challenges, through which users can earn real cash prizes, and it’s poker tournaments. The casino attracts 6,000 daily poker players to its many poker halls where players can not only earn crypto tokens but also upgrade their wearable NFTs by beating opponents and completing in-game challenges. ICE Poker alone is bringing an estimated $3.2 million in monthly revenue for Decentral Games, while the company claims to have paid some $15.4 million to players across its multiple casinos.
How to Start Playing In A Metaverse Casino
Gambling is fast becoming one of the top immersive experiences in the metaverse and platforms are working on making it as seamless as possible. One key aspect to keep in mind before entering the world of crypto gambling is that different digital currency tokens and NFTs can be used by different casinos and across the multiple experiences they offer. The learning curve can appear a little daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, playing becomes much easier.
Here are a few steps you might want to follow:
1. Find the right metaverse casino for you
We’ve focused on Decentraland as this is currently the metaverse with the highest number of casinos and the one that is widely seen as the most trustworthy.There are other virtual worlds with great gambling platforms. However, you’re able to find casinos in other virtual worlds like The Sandbox. But, again, we’ll keep it down to Decentraland for the sake of simplicity.
In the casinos we mentioned earlier, you should be able to find a range of games similar to those you’d typically encounter in a traditional real-life casino, such as slot machines, poker, roulette and blackjack, as well as proprietary games based on luck and skill.
Based on the crowds they attract, each metaverse casino will have their own look and feel, as well as different rules. But when choosing the best casino, we recommend you keep an eye out for a few key features, including:
Security measures: Whenever personal and financial data is at play, online security is paramount. Metaverse casinos rely, as previously explained, on blockchain. This already ensures a high degree of security backed by cryptography, but feel free to ask the casino operator about any additional measures they may have in place to guarantee the online safety of its users.
Game variety: Much like in a real-life casino, players will want to have an exciting range of options to choose from when gambling in the metaverse. A good casino will try to cater to the tastes of players from all backgrounds, offering games from the usual classics to more modern options.
Attractive prizes, tournaments and promotions: You’ll want to be engaged with a casino that puts effort into creating a tight community - and rewarding its members accordingly. A good telltale sign could be the welcoming package a casino gives to its newest players. When it comes to games such as slots, for example, players will also be given regular free spins. Other types of loyalty programs with plenty of benefits and rewards.
Reputation: Decentraland has a large community of users you can easily reach out to. If you’re unsure of where to start, find a group of users you can chat with for their impressions of the metaverse’s casinos. You are sure to find other players who’re already well versed in the gambling scene and you’ll be in a better position to inform you about the best casinos on the platform.
2. Open a crypto wallet
All services and transactions within the metaverse go through some form of cryptocurrency. You’ll need a digital wallet in order to hold your cryptocurrency and there are plenty of secure and user-friendly platforms you should consider. We suggest you start with Metamask, but really there are a number of equally good wallets out there.
3. Purchase crypto currency
You’ll need money to place bets and enter gambling events, and the currency itself will vary from casino to casino. Decentraland uses the MANA crypto currency token and most casinos will also accept ETH, so those are two safe currencies to load your digital wallet with. You’ll need to do this via a crypto currency exchange like Binance or Coinbase, among others.
In addition to the steps mentioned, entering and playing in the metaverse will require that you choose your personal avatar and customize it. That is also a great share of the experience of being a metaverse user and having fun, so we’ll leave all of that to you.
The metaverse is only now really taking off, but virtual worlds are quickly becoming better, more immersive and dynamic while enabling high-quality experiences that can realistically mimic some of the emotions we get in real-life. In this sense, the metaverse is the perfect playing ground for something like gambling.
Traditional online gambling might be easy to jump into, but metaverse casinos are where the most enthusiastic bettors are now heading for the chance of hitting the jackpot. Decentraland’s Vegas City in particular is bringing in enthusiastic players who enjoy having rewarding gaming experiences where, with the help of virtual reality and blockchain technology, they can be even more involved while experiencing highly immersive events.
Given the current popularity of metaverse casinos, we can expect to see decentralized gambling overtaking both real-life and online gambling sometime in the near future.