Blockchain Brings the Casino to Your Living Room

Bring on the bookies! Or at least bring them out of the dark alleyways and sketchy pubs.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states outside Nevada can legalize sports betting, paving the way for casinos and racetracks to let patrons wager on (or against) their favorite sports franchises.

Some states, like New Jersey, already have legislation in place that would allow bettors to start wagering immediately, while other states have plans to follow.

The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on U.S. sports and $500 billion globally every year. As my astute colleague Mike Carr points out, legalizing and regulating this practice could be a boon for publicly traded racetrack stocks Churchill Downs Inc. (Nasdaq: CHDN), Penn National Gaming Inc. (Nasdaq: PENN) and Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: DDE).

But these companies aren’t the only ones to benefit from less restrictions on gambling. There are also blockchain-based projects poised to take market share from casinos and racetracks.

And not only will these platforms allow you to sit at virtual poker tables and sports betting rooms, you’ll be able to do it from your living room couch.

Virtual Casinos

Singapore-based FunFair recently raised $26 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) to provide a platform for licensed, Ethereum-based casino games. Ethereum is a public blockchain that supports smart contract functionality, and would allow for casino rules to be programmed and run on the blockchain.

Blockchain technology is notoriously slow. However, the team at FunFair has architected a platform to allow for faster games.

Here’s a video of FunFair’s virtual roulette wheel:

FunFair founder Jez San has a storied history in technology and games. In 1982, he founded Argonaut Games, which produced video games for the iconic Commodore 64 and Amiga.

After closing Argonaut in 2004, San founded the real-money online poker site, where players could create their own 3D avatars. The audience grew to more than 5 million users. However, online poker became an increasingly tough business, and finally shut down last year.

FunFair believes it has figured out a framework to solve some of the problems of slower, blockchain-based casino games.

Its platform sits on a layer on top of the blockchain connected by “fate channels.” This permits a faster network that offloads most of the work the blockchain would normally do, then pushes the result to the blockchain. This resembles the “lightning network,” an off-chain solution to scaling and speeding up the bitcoin blockchain.

This development allows FunFair to calculate real-time numbers and micropayments, which are necessary computations for wagers and wins.

The biggest blockchain benefit to the online casino world is the ability to operate at a much lower cost. Casino operators pay hefty fees on server infrastructure, but in this case, the blockchain replaces expensive servers with smart contracts that reside on the Ethereum blockchain.

A FUN Cryptocurrency

FunFair’s token, called FUN, will be used by players to bet or play games within the online casinos. The token will also be used to compensate game developers and casino affiliates. Think of it like an arcade token that can only be used in a specific arcade where it was issued.

For investors, FUN is listed on the Binance exchange. It started trading in September 2017 at $0.025, and then rose tenfold to $0.22 by early January 2018.

The recent crypto bear market has been brutal to FUN, however, as investors watched the price collapse 84% to a current price of $0.035.

Bookies aren’t the only ones to benefit from less restrictions on gambling. There are also blockchain-based projects poised to take market share from casinos and racetracks.

There are 4.8 billion tokens available to trade, and the market cap now sits at $171 million. The potential supply of tokens is limited to 11 billion, implying that only 40% of the tokens have been issued.

One note of caution on the issuance is that only 21% of all FUN tokens were sold to the public, while the rest were given to the founders and the FunFair Foundation Trust. Founders’ tokens are subject to an 18-month vesting period, which means they will be available for sale in December 2018.

If you’re looking to gamble on FUN tokens, they can only be purchased using bitcoin. That means you need to trade your fiat money for bitcoin first, and then transfer those bitcoins to the Binance exchange, where you can then exchange bitcoin for FunFair tokens.

Note: I don’t own any FUN, nor do I intend on purchasing any.


Ian King

Editor, Crypto Profit Trader

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