The discussion of how blockchain and cryptocurrency can be used in the betting and gaming industry has typically revolved around payments, but there are other avenues beyond this, it is argued. 

Whilst attending the WGES conference in Barcelona, CoinGeek’s Becky Liggero moderated two panel discussions and also spoke to attendees individually about the potential blockchain has for the gambling industry.

On one of the panels, Nick Hill, nChain Sales Director, was keen to focus on the regulatory and compliance benefits of blockchain. This is an area nChain has shown specific interest in having developed its Kensei data verification product for this purpose. 

Hill commented: “If you can get the transaction fees down to an acceptable level, a set or two sets, or half a set, you can start to manage a business. This is where blockchain can start to be used as a utility application, and it will benefit the operator in the long-run, the player and the regulator.”

In a post-panel interview, Hill emphasised the importance of education and engagement with consumers to promote the positive aspects of blockchain and its potential usage as a gaming mechanism. 

“We have a very good proposition and a very unique proposition that we’re taking into the marketplace,” he said. “From the regulators, we’re being very well received because they’re seeing blockchain as a progressive technology that is enhancing and protecting the players’ experience.

“From the operators, we’re seeing a great response from them because they’re suddenly seeing the benefits of using blockchain technology to notarize and document the actions of their players, and the documentation that is needed for them to maintain their regulatory obligations – compliance, AML, KYC etc.

“It’s about educating the audience into the benefits of utilising the blockchain other than the usual payments, NFTs and Tokens – there are so many more applications for the use of the BSV technology.”

Meanwhile, Hippodrome Casino Executive Chairman Simon Thomas asserted that whether or not the industry fully understands blockchain, it must acknowledge its presence and its status as a secure means of transferring and storing data. 

Ultimately, operators must “find the positives with it and minimise any negatives and worries that people have about it”, he maintained. 

“Anything we can do that makes it more secure for us, for our customers – all the better. There are a lot of people who have concerns about ‘Big Brother’ and the conspiracy-type theories about where the data is being used and who gets to see it, so we have to be mindful of customers and their acceptance.”

Summarising the key conclusions she had observed during the conference, Liggero noted that there is considerable interest in the use of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in gambling, as well as the aforementioned compliance benefits.

“I think that within the gambling industry when it comes to blockchain technology, people are really interested about NFTs – this is what they get excited about straight away – but no one really knows how to use them in the gambling space just yet, even if we will be able to use them is a question.”

Noting an additional ‘step forward’ in how the gambling industry is engaging with blockchain and cryptocurrency, Leggero observed that very few people were asking her about the price of coins. 

She continued: “Crypto as payments is still interesting for people. I’d say the idea that blockchain tech can be used for regulatory compliance, like Kensei that nChain has built, is something new for people here at WGES. 

“There is clearly a need for more education on this, and that is clearly on nChain’s agenda going into 2022. The idea of blockchain as a utility application in the gambling space is where the most excitement is.”

Blockchain’s potential in the betting sector is a topic that has been regularly revisited by CoinGeek over the past year, with the firm having spoken to a diverse range of industry leaders such as Phil Runyan (CEO, Veridat) – who also attended WGES – Robert Rice (Founder, Transmira and Developer, Omniscape), Dr Craig S Wright and Alex Shore (CTO, BitBoss).

CoinGeek: How blockchain can benefit the operator, the player and regulator