Atari crypto casino makes its virtual ‘Vegas City’ debut

It’s the age of cryptocurrency, and everyone who’s everyone—or at least trying to be anyone—wants a piece of the pie. Entertainment software company Atari is the latest to tap into cryptocurrency as part of its bid to revitalize its offerings.

Atari announced in March 2021 that it’s launching a cryptocurrency casino built around “Atari-themed games” and powered by an Ethereum blockchain.

Virtual casino city—now live

Atari made good on its promise, launching the cryptocurrency casino in partnership with Decentral Games. The virtual launch party was livestreamed in the Casino Quarter of Vegas City on Decentraland, featuring a DJ set performed by electronic musician and record producer Dillon Francis. The launch also saw the auction of three non-fungible tokens (NFTs), inspired by Gerald the Pinata, created by visual artist MERDA.

The Atari Casino features nostalgia-tinged games—both luck-based and also “Atari special” skill-based games. Atari and Decentral Games said players will get to earn Decentral Games’ own token $DG as well as the special Atari token (ATRI). Atari launched its cryptocurrency in 2018 and has also partnered with Ultra Games for a blockchain-based game streaming on its Atari VCS.

“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,” according to the two companies.

Online casino players just want to play

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.

A virtual casino city, such as the gaming district that exists in Decentral Games’ Decentraland, is essentially an online gambling platform  like PureWin that offers online casino games—the only difference is that bets and winnings are made in cryptocurrency, not the regular fiat currencies. And this may prove to be a positive thing for a market like India, whose gaming market is largely mobile-first.

ENV Media co-founder Fredrik Brännlund recently explained how Indian players operate. In an interview with Casino Days, 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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So it’s not surprising that the ease of access, along with the degree of privacy, that cryptocurrency casinos and other casual gaming platforms offer play a major role in the popularity of these sites among Indian players.

In its recent report, titled State of Online Gaming – 2020, Limelight found that gamers in India spend an average of 8.61 hours weekly on games, while Chinese gamers averaged 12.39 hours of gaming per week and gamers in Vietnam spend 10.16 hours playing on a weekly basis.

Of Limelight’s respondents from India, 47.1 percent say they play casual online games, while 36.9 percent describe themselves as “experts” and 10.2 percent say they are aspiring professionals. So it’s not surprising that the country’s online gaming sector is poised to reach a new pinnacle–$2.8 billion by 2022, according to a Deloitte India report.

“In India the gaming industry is currently less than half of the box office collections. But now gaming industry is expected to narrow this gap. The gaming segment has attracted investments of about $450 million in the past few years and is expected to continue to attract more investments especially from international players,” Deloitte India partner Jehil Thakkar told The Hindu Businessline.

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