Las Vegas's Oldest Casino Now Accepting BitcoinsJanuary 22, 2014 1:57 pm
On Wednesday, two of Las Vegas’ gambling establishments, the Golden Gate and The D hotels, started accepting bitcoin as currency and allowing its customers to pay for their rooms, restaurants, and gift shops using the online digital payment system. However, bitcoin use has not yet been extended to the gambling floor, where US dollars still remain the only accepted currency.
The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino are both run by co-owner and chief operating officer Derek Stevens. Interestingly, the Golden Gate is the oldest operating casino in Las Vegas, having opened up for business in 1906, and allowing it to accept bitcoins offered a unique opportunity to marry up the old and the very new. As Derek Stevens, explains:
“I think it is fitting that the Golden Gate and The D are the first hotels to offer [bitcoin]. I think that this is a technology where early adopters have an advantage.”
Consequently, the two Las Vegas casinos have installed iPads and other mobile devices at cashier station in order to process the bitcoin transactions through online platform BitPay. Bitcoin payment processor BitPay, which handled more than $100 million of transactions last year, currently handles 6% of all global bitcoin transactions, and is available in over 200 countries.
Bitcoin was originally introduced as a digital currency in 2009, and after a shaky start in which US lawmakers highlighted their concerns over its money laundering potential, Bitcoin recently has gained in popularity. The virtual currency’s big break came after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, said it could hold “long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system.”
As a result, Bitcoin, which was worth just $0.30 in 2009, and around $18 at the beginning of 2013, has seen its value soar over the past months and is currently worth $963 as of today. Not surprisingly, more and more businesses are beginning to adopt Bitcoin, including other casinos in Europe. As Harold Solomons from digital marketing agency Matrix Internet, explains:
“We recently picked up some business in the US and the fact that we will accept bitcoins might put us in the frame for more business opportunities. We’re putting the time in now in order to develop it. One of our clients in Ireland owns a casino and we’re talking about the potential of the casino accepting bitcoin payments, for example.”