New Zealand's Online Gaming Industry May Be A Bitcoin Giant Hiding In Plain Sight
It’s become fairly popular to suggest that bitcoin and blockchain technology could bring about major changes in gaming industries. In fact, we posted about bitcoin, blockchain, and the face of gaming quite recently. Speaking in the most general terms, the idea is simply that stable and efficient methods for transferring wealth and data digitally opens exciting new doors in the gaming world - perhaps most notably where casino gaming is concerned.
While most of these conversations revolve around the benefits to games, gaming companies, and gamers, however, in some cases there may be something to be said for the benefits to bitcoin itself as well. Cryptocurrency may have proven to be an enduring force, but it’s still struggling with widespread consumer adoption. Crypto advocates can and do disagree on how much this actually matters in the short term, but few would disagree that cryptocurrency would be boosted by any major industry that facilitates its practical use. This is what the online casino gaming industry is poised to do - particularly in New Zealand.
New Zealand is worth this specific look for two reasons: first, that it has one of the most active online gaming scenes in the world, and second, that the country as a whole has been more open than most to assisting the rise and spread of cryptocurrencies.
Regarding the first point, New Zealand’s internet-based casino businesses consist mostly of “pokies” sites - “pokies” being their term for slot machines. These sites match the arcade-style, almost video game-like quality of the popular slot games in, say, the UK or Canada, and can be found in large online collections presenting all kinds of interesting themes and engaging bonuses and side elements. Some of the popular pokies sites can be enjoyed for free, but by and large the New Zealand industry allows for real-money gaming as well, which is where potential crypto compatibility comes into play.
As of now, the majority of the most visited pokies platforms in the country use other methods of electronic processing of fiat currency for real-money games. This can mean direct credit card deposits, linked PayPal accounts, but there are also other options available that seem to have gained popularity specifically due to gamers’ preference for swiftness and security. Several prominent New Zealand pokies sites operate via Paysafecard, which is essentially a credit card or PayPal alternative that involves only the use of a single PIN to transfer funds - no address, no expiration date, no account and password. Looking at an option like that, it’s hard to imagine bitcoin not having a similar appeal among gamers. People looking to play real-money pokies with quick, secure deposits and total anonymity would undoubtedly appreciate the perks offered by crypto transactions (and in fact some smaller casino sites are already experimenting with the idea with some success).
That speaks to why bitcoin would be likely to catch on if indeed pokies platforms gave it a chance. And perhaps that basic logic will ultimately be the reason they do give it a chance. However, regarding the second point listed above - New Zealand’s openness to cryptocurrency - we’d also suggest that the overall climate in the country could also lead to more industries experimenting with bitcoin, including that of online casino gaming.
The main indication of this openness of late was New Zealand’s decision to approve salaries and wages paid in cryptocurrencies. This is something that’s been restricted in other countries through tax policy, but New Zealand’s vote of confidence essentially sets the tone for a largely unrestrained crypto economy. So, while it’s not as if this particular step is a necessary stepping stone toward crypto-based online gaming, it does help to establish an environment in which more businesses might be open to crypto usage, and more consumers may obtain cryptocurrency to spend.
In totality, these circumstances set up New Zealand’s online gaming industry as something of a potential sleeping giant in the bitcoin space. A country open to the spread of cryptos should incentivize busy online industries to become more accepting. And should the casino industry be among those that do explore more crypto activity, it will be adding bitcoin as a payment option for gamers who are already conditioned to prefer secure digital transactions. It’s still difficult to predict any specifics, but don’t be surprised if five years from now these online gaming sites are among the busiest areas for bitcoin transactions by ordinary consumers.