A new product rolling out within the next year will utilize blockchain technology to provide casino patrons worldwide with casino chip access on the gaming floor, directly from their cryptocurrency or digital assets.
“At the end of the day, there was really no direct mechanism for taking digital assets and putting them into play in a way that was really functional for the casino space,” said Richard Jones, CEO and co-founder of Bitline, a mobile app which recently entered a strategic partnership with gaming industry leader Everi Holdings.
Jones said Bitline will give consumers access to liquidity of their digital assets within minutes.
“The objective is to build a simple elegance with it,” he said. “We don’t want this to be a long process.”
Users can access up to $10 million in casino chips even at otherwise inconvenient times like “2 a.m. on a Sunday night,” Jones said, and Bitline has made itself a one-stop-shop so that compliance, transaction monitoring, banking and other regulatory needs are simultaneously met.
After 15 to 20 minutes, a Bitline user can have access to liquidity and a casino can rest easy knowing the transaction is secure. Jones compared the app’s convenience to fast food, calling the technology a “huge win” for casinos and patrons.
“I think we fill a huge gap there in the market that people can take advantage of and that really hasn’t existed before,” he said. “So that’s one of the biggest benefits.”
Bitline—the design, development and deployment of which has been in the works for over a year and a half—was made possible through a slew of institutional partnerships, Jones said, especially when it came to ensuring security and compliance.
In addition to Everi, the company has collaborated with organizations like Fireblocks and CipherTrace to implement transaction monitoring and a lot of the “under the hood” work and verification that happens when someone uses Bitline.
Once all the pieces of compliance fell into place, Bitline had a “pretty much bulletproof” app revolving around regulation, Jones said.
“We take compliance very seriously,” said Victor Newsom, senior vice president of product management and payment solutions at Las Vegas-based Everi. “So we had to make sure they had the right compliance partners, the right financial partners, regulatory licensing and so on.”
Bitline is ultimately tokenizing, or digitizing, real world assets, said Newsom, who attributed its birth to a need for the gaming industry to process more than just cards or cash. The app is a real-world asset management system for gaming, which he believes will over time become an increasingly mainstream and convenient choice for consumers.
Before then, however, it will solve problems on a smaller scale.
“And I think that’s good for the industry,” Newsom said. “I think it gives the industry time to digest this and understand that we’re not really changing anything on the regulated gaming space at all. There’s no internal controls for the gaming systems that are affected by this. This is a financial transaction.”
Partnership is integral to making a product like Bitline work, he emphasized, not just to develop its technical capabilities but also because the gaming industry is so highly regulated.
He expressed gratitude to regulators for being open to Bitline and blockchain technology, because without it “the industry doesn’t get to advance,” Newsom said.
“All that takes partnership,” he said. “And if you don’t have a partner that’s willing to go through all that growing process with you, don’t think you’ll be successful, especially introducing something as potentially game changing as a product like this could be.”
Jones said Bitline was one of the most demonstrated products on the Global Gaming Expo floor last month.
The product will make its official debut at its first casino—“ground zero”—either by 2024 or in its first quarter, Jones said, with the potential to open up new markets for casinos and provide a platform “a little bit ahead of its time” for those in the cryptocurrency crowd.
“In the current marketplace,” Jones said, “there’s no product that’s situated like this.”
This story originally appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.