While the cryptocurrency community expects further record-highs throughout 2024, decentralised finances are continuing to expand into the online casino mainstream. 

With companies beginning to implement NFTs into slot titles, accept crypto for casino payments and the rise of crypto-only casinos, the CasinoBeats Summit will allow delegates to discover how cryptocurrency is having a growing impact on both suppliers and operators. 

Ahead of his appearance at the Summit, we spoke with Matthew D’Emanuele, CEO at Yolo Entertainment, about the rising use case of crypto in the online casino sphere, while analysing how crypto has “broken through antiquated barriers” to become a key tool for the industry. 

CasinoBeats: Can you explain the importance for cryptocurrency casino operators to appear at events like the CasinoBeats Summit?

Matthew D’Emanuele: The great thing about the CasinoBeats Summit is the diversity of delegates. It’s a real opportunity to listen and learn from operators working across the sector. Sure, Sportsbet.io and Bitcasino are crypto-led operators, but the fundamentals of delivering a great experience to our players doesn’t significantly differ from the fiat-only operators. 

It is very obvious that we fully believe in the advantages of playing with crypto, but we also recognise that players make choices beyond their payment method. Part of the benefit of attending the various conferences around the industry is another one of the many mechanisms we utilise to maintain a thorough understanding of the initiatives taking place around the industry. 

CB: How has the use of cryptocurrencies in the casino industry evolved in the past few years?

MD: When we launched Bitcasino 10 years ago, you could buy one Bitcoin for about $500; as I write this, Bitcoin has just surpassed its all-time high and is trading at more than $70,000. That transition from niche technology to the mainstream has been remarkable, and with it has come a whole host of opportunities to positively disrupt and transform the casino sector. Aside from crypto as a payment method, we’re now seeing some really interesting integrations, particularly around Telegram, with the opportunity to play in its native currency, TON.

The whale brand has already gained a lot of traction here. It is a fast-developing space and one we’re determined to remain at the forefront of.

CB: What benefits do operators gain from running cryptocurrency casinos, as opposed to standard fiat casinos?

MD: There are many benefits to giving players the choice of using crypto in addition to fiat. I love the transparency that crypto brings to the process, the decentralised nature of blockchain technology, which allows every network user to track all transactions in real-time is an example of this.

The speed in which we can pay our players their winnings is also an added advantage, ensuring players are paid their winnings swiftly is part of our DNA and reflects well in our ‘Fun, Fast and Fair’ pledge. 

While a handful of regulators have made some positive moves, there’s still a long way to go. We’re always open to having those conversations, as we believe that it is an important step in building a long-term, sustainable future for the space.

CB: What additional responsible gambling challenges are faced when operating an online crypto casino? 

MD: There’s still a belief that cryptocurrency gambling poses additional RG risks but if you look at the technology, you’ll see it is built in a way that makes it possible to put additional safeguards in place. 

One of the great myths around Bitcoin, for instance, is that it is anonymous. That’s not actually true. Bitcoin is a pseudo-anonymous cryptocurrency, which is a really important difference. It makes it easier to track than fiat currency in many vital aspects, and in turn provides a higher level of both RG and AML protection than you’d typically see from a traditional online casino handling bank and card transactions.

We obviously carry out  KYC procedures to verify players like any responsible operator would do. We also monitor player behaviour and offer all the tools and sense checks you would expect.  

This goes to show that there is still a lot of educational work to be done. Misconceptions around cryptocurrencies are rife and, via platforms such as LearnCrypto.com, we’re supporting those who are dedicated to helping people understand how this technology can really benefit them.

CB: Do you think that cryptocurrency casinos are now considered mainstream platforms in the gambling industry?

MD: Back in 2019, we became the front-of-shirt sponsor of Watford FC in the Premier League. It was a huge statement, putting our logo in front of a global audience totalling hundreds of millions. At the time, there was a lot of surprise, even from those within our industry, that a crypto-led brand was in a position to make such a statement.

Five years on, with main sponsorship agreements in place with Southampton, Arsenal and Newcastle currently, I think it is fair to say things have progressed a lot.

A handful of crypto casinos and sportsbooks are now among the most visible brands in all of igaming, and are also driving a significant amount of innovation in an industry that has developed – fairly or not – a reputation for complacency.

So yes, I’d say we’ve broken through those initial antiquated barriers. This doesn’t mean we’re satisfied however, Yolo Entertainment is committed to putting our customers at the centre of the universe, and whether Bitcoin is trading at $500 or $70,000, that mission will never change.

D’Emanuele is one of many decorated speakers at the CasinoBeats Summit, which takes place on May 22-23, with over 4,500 delegates from operators, suppliers, affiliates and more set to visit the 2024 event. 

You can purchase your Early Bird ticket for the discounted price of €400 (a discount of €200 off the standard ticket).

Operators – apply for a free pass!
Affiliates – apply for a free pass!