Atari Casino now operating in ‘Vegas City’—are we seeing the future of online casinos?

Cryptocurrency casinos have piqued the interest of many players around the world, with some heralding it as the future of gambling—although others are viewing the blockchain-powered gaming platforms with a degree of skepticism.

Skepticism aside, the growing popularity of cryptocurrency casinos now means that everyone wants a piece of the pie. Take Atari for example.

Virtual casino is basically online casino

In March 2021, the entertainment software company—known for pioneering arcade games and video game consoles from 1975 to the early 1980s—announced that it’s launching a cryptocurrency casino that’s powered by an Ethereum blockchain and built around “Atari-themed games.”

The Atari Casino was launched several weeks later in partnership with Decentral Games—and the launch was one for the books. The virtual event, which was live streamed in the Casino Quarter of Vegas City on Decentraland, featured electronic musician and record producer Dillon Francis as well as an auction of 3 NFTs (non-fungible tokens) created by visual artist MERDA.

According to Atari and Decentral Games, the Atari Casino will allow players to earn the latter’s $DG token and the former’s Atari token (ATRI) by playing games on the blockchain-based platform. Atari and Decentral Games are expecting to see $150 million in bets in 2021, and an estimated $400 million over the next two years, according to a Bloomberg report.

“Look forward to Atari-themed games, where nostalgia-inducing games are brought back with a twist. There will be games of luck, and games combining skill and luck. There will also be an ‘Atari special’ game where you can win by skill instead of pure luck,” the companies said in a statement.

But what is a “cryptocurrency casino” really? When stripped of its fancy tech terms, the platform is, for all intents and purposes, an online casino. The difference is that the bets and winnings are made in cryptocurrency instead of the regular fiat currencies, which is the current offering in many online casinos in India like PureWin and around the world.

India players want to play—be it on virtual or online casino

India’s gaming market is largely mobile-first, which means that cryptocurrency casinos’ added benefit of blockchain-based privacy is a pull for many players—even if they don’t use their game bonuses.

In an interview with Casino Days, ENV Media co-founder Fredrik Brännlund noted how players in India are not worried about bonuses—they just want to come and play: “We researched all the different online gambling related search terms from various SEO tools, and I think was 20 percent of all these online gambling related searches in Spain is related to bonuses, 35-40 [percent] in Italy. Know the percentage in India… 0.3 [percent].”

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India has an estimated 365 million online gamers in the financial year 2020, according to a Statista research, which noted that, “Overall, India ranked the highest in terms of the growth in online game downloads on app stores with a growth rate of 165 percent between 2016 to 2018.”

A separate study by KPMG in India and Google expects India’s online gaming industry will “become a USD1 billion opportunity by 2021.”

It noted, “The online gaming consumers market, characterized by large volumes, is rising fast in terms of usage and monetization. The local development is characterized by highly skilled manpower and expertise… In the future, India is expected to move towards value driving consumption and comprehensive local development. The industry is expected to gain momentum and reach a market value of 1 billion USD and ~310 million online gamer(s) by 2021.”

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