Gaming the Market: Atari to Open Online Cryptocurrency Casino
In addition to home and arcade video games and – a long time ago – consoles, well-known game developer Atari has dabbled in land-based and online casino gaming.
The Atari 2600 console featured one of the world’s first attempts at a virtual slot machine way back in the early 1980s.
Although you couldn’t bet with real money and the gameplay was rudimentary, to say the least, the game marked the start of a long relationship between the company and the gambling world.
In 2014, Atari licensed a whole bunch of online slots and casino games based on its classic game catalog in partnership with online casino developer Pariplay.
In 2021, Atari is making one of its boldest moves yet. Set to open in May this year, the Atari Online Casino will be entirely powered by the blockchain cryptocurrency network Ethereum.
Made in collaboration with Decentral games, the Atari Casino is not only a traditional online casino but also a virtual reality casino space.
Decentraland is the developer’s attempt at building a “metaverse.” Coined by the sci-fi author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, a metaverse is a shared virtual reality space that’s a cross between an open-world game, a social network, and an ecommerce platform.
Think Second Life meets Minecraft, Instagram, and Amazon.
Atari’s Online Casino will take up two blocks of Decentraland’s Vegas City district. The two developers expect the casino to pull in $150 million worth of bets in 2021.
Very High Risk
The Atari-themed games will only be playable using the following cryptocurrencies:
● Atari’s own ATRI token
No real-world FIAT currencies will be held or distributed by the platform, although users will, of course, be free to sell their cryptos for real cash outside of the casino.
Therein lies the risk. Cryptocurrencies are very volatile.
So much so that a player could theoretically purchase thousands of dollars worth of ATRI with which to play at the casino, win a lot more than they came in with – but still possibly lose money after trading out the crypto for real dollars.
This adds another risk to the gambling experience, as the digital tokens that players use could easily fall in price while they’re stored at the casino.
However, the tokens’ value could rise, too. Cryptos can see huge gains on almost random market impulses, such as a celebrity endorsement on Twitter or a social media campaign.
In fact, cryptos are so volatile that the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority has put out several statements to UK media in 2021 calling them “very high risk” and warning potential investors they “could lose all their money.”
Nevertheless, proponents of cryptocurrency (like Atari CEO Frederic Chesnais) would counter that such statements come from old-world institutions that are afraid of the decentralizing power of the blockchain.
Considering the inherent risks already involved with gambling, many gamblers might not be put off at all. They might even see the potential gains as being more likely, with more and more companies investing in cryptocurrency-powered businesses every day.
One company that will evidently be investing further in the technology is Atari, although whether it will pay off in a long-term sustainable way is anyone’s guess at this point.
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