Two Las Vegas casinos will become the first known US gambling premises to accept the increasely popular cryptocurrency. The co-owned Golden Gate (Las Vegas' oldest casino) and The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel will begin accepting bitcoins on Wednesday as payment for hotel rooms and related purchases, but, as Bloomberg Businessweek reports, state regulators are unlikely to allow casinos to exchange chips for bitcoins any time soon, according to A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The two downtown Vegas properties, which share an owner, will accept the currency at five locations, including their front desks and the D's Gift Shop. Guests also can use the currency at the D Hotel's American Coney Island hot dog shop and Joe Vicari's Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.
Alas, they won't be able to gamble with them just yet.
The Bitcoin purchases will be processed through BitPay, which allows merchants to accept Bitcoins just as they would Visa, MasterCard or Paypal.
"Downtown has really become a technology hub for all of Las Vegas," Derek Stevens, co-owner and chief operating officer for both casinos, told Reuters. "I think it is fitting that the Golden Gate and The D are the first hotels to offer (bitcoin)."
Stevens said patrons increasingly had requested to use bitcoins over the past year. By becoming the first known casino hotels to accept the virtual currency, he hoped to attract customers unable to spend bitcoins at other local businesses.
"I think that this is a technology where early adopters have an advantage," he said.
The casinos will install iPads at cashier stations and use the online platform BitPay to process the currency, which can be loaded into a virtual wallet and used with a mobile device.
But not for gambling yet,
State regulators are unlikely to allow casinos to exchange chips for bitcoins any time soon, according to A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The industry has not approached regulators about approving the currency for gambling.
"We would have to have an extremely high level of comfort with virtual currency of this kind in order for that to ever occur," Burnett said.
Interestingly - after all the extreme volatility of the past few months, Bitcoin has traded in a "relatively" narrow range between $750 and $850 in the last 2 weeks.
It didn't take long for some enterprising young chap to come up with this either...