The final panel of CoinGeek Live’s gambling track was a look at ‘iGaming Future: How the Bitcoin Blockchain Can Power More Efficiency and Transparency Across the Industry’s Value Chain.’ Moderator Nick Hill, Director of Premier Consulting, honest a group of panelists around the world, including Phillip Runyan, CEO of Hold Gaming, Alex Shore CTO & Co-Founder of BitBoss, Lloyd Purser, COO of FunFair Technologies, and Sam Brown, COO of Hero Gaming, and Carl Brincat, Chief Legal & Enforcement Officer of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).
After introductions were made, Brown kicked off the panel by explaining why the innovations the gambling industry has drummed up have yet to impress him. “The word blockchain obviously conjures up a lot more ideas for us around transparency, around efficiencies, and there were almost no examples of that being executed in the gaming space.”
BitBoss is looking to change that, and Shore explained that they’ll do it by using blockchain as a tool, and not the sales point. “The first important lesson that we learned is not to lead with blockchain being something that was the reason that we’re building the platform that we have for iGaming. It was just another technology that you need to look at and compared with similar technologies to see what the benefits are and figure out how you can offer a more cost effective and efficient platform using that underlying technology. It doesn’t mean it’s the only technology that you have to use.”
He then explained how a public blockchain, like Bitcoin SV, can become a better data network solution for operators, thanks to the security created by a massive, highly valuable network, with inherent security and privacy controls.
Purser pushed blockchain’s ability to make a better system for everyone: player, operator, affiliate or regulator. The benefits created by the medium’s transparency and audit trail, he believes, will beat out solutions created on Web 2.0 once a slick experience is created for each party.
Runyan broke down the benefits he anticipates most from blockchain as well, starting with Provably Fair Gaming. He seems big benefits from players being able to prove for themselves that they lost fair and square. But then he was quick to talk about the cost savings possible by putting this on the chain.
Purser then gave a full walk through of a player’s experience using a blockchain casino, keeping their account balance totally within their own custody, having a provably fair experience, and with third parties like affiliates getting their fair share, with much of the experience enabled by smart contracts. The explanation is worth watch in full, as he describes it beautifully.
That type of solution may work best at scale with BitBoss. Shore explained that they are implementing smart contracts for casinos, both online and brick and mortar, on the Bitcoin SV blockchain. Thanks to the massively scaling blockchain of BSV, it will be able to handle all the transactions the industry currently creates.
But regulators like the MGA are not yet excited about smart contracts. “Smart contracts are a bit of a mixed bag for a regulator,” Brincat said. “On the one hand, as my fellow panelists have said, there are a number of benefits, when it comes to fairness for the player, when it comes to automated payouts, and obviously from a player protection and avoiding complaints perspective, having smart contracts where the operator doesn’t even have custody of the funds, avoids a lot issues of disputes, non payments, etc.”
“That being said, there is also a question then of adherence to certain regulatory requirements,” Brincat added. “Take for example, under AML legislation, you need to have the possibility of, if a particular transaction elicits suspicion, you need to report that suspicion.” He added that the technology needs to have the ability to freeze that transaction if those flags are considered valid.
Runyan believes that may not change unless someone agitates for it. “With regards to regulation, we’re always going to be ahead of it, and more than anything right now, what BSV needs is an ambassador,” he said. “They need somebody who’s working with regulators, they need somebody who’s going to work with operators. Because at the end of the day, they don’t evolve, or they do at a glacial like speed. There is no innovation at either one of these, and if somebody is not consistently giving them a kick in the ass, it’s just not going to happen.”
Hill then pressed Brincat on the question of transparency, asking if it doesn’t truly benefit regulators to have a clear view of everything that happens. The problem, Brincat noted, is the solutions that have been brought before them don’t have everything on chain, with some kept on private servers. That complicates matters, and hasn’t been something regulators can entirely buy into yet.
Hill asked Brown if he sees anything that he likes that will make him want to get his site on the blockchain. “The most obvious benefit I would see as an operator is an immediate and free and transparent flow of payments and contracts, and allowing people to be paid. I think probably, to be successful you’d need to be paying on volume rather than game win. If you could immediately return money to your affiliates, your affiliates have more cashflow to generate more traffic, they generate more traffic, we get more players. If game suppliers are getting more readily and predictable cashflows into their businesses, and not having to win about a big winner at the end of the month, then smaller game studios can invest more effectively.”
After a short break, Hill asked the panelists if Remote Gaming Servers (RGS) work in a blockchain environment. Purser explained that there’s really no need for them, but that does create some sacrifices, as some game developers are so used to working within the constraints of an RGS.
Shore explained how BitBoss handles this problem. “We completely abstract the blockchain. This API that we give content creators, they are running embedded inside our mobile app, which is also a crypto wallet, and they get the players balance, they place a bet, they receive the bet results, they get game history all through our client API, which behind the scenes is handling all the blockchain transaction, sending, receiving, indexing, things like that.”
Hill asked finally “What do we need to do the adoption of the iGaming community?”
Purser answered first, and said “adoption is key,” noting that once traction can be proven, the dominos will fall.
Brown responded, “it’s about breaking this down into manageable chunks.” There’s just too many complicated aspects to the blockchain world, and change is hard and risky, he noted.
Brincat agreed with the earlier panel that suggested operators need to do more to educate regulators. “The people involved in the industry, the people who touch the technology on a daily basis, those are the ones that have the most information. I think it’s important that this communication is increased.”
Shore suggested that the platform needs to get to a point where people have trust in it. That will pave the way “for us to have a much easier pitch to regulators.”
Runyan closed it out by saying regulators need to be at the forefront of the conversation. Operators won’t take risks on this technology unless regulators give a green light for it to be fine.
Hill summed everything up with a message to the entire industry. “Bitcoin, blockchain is here to stay. It’s not a case of if it’s going to be adopted, it’s a case of when. And it all comes down to events like this, because we need to educate, and educate, and educate.”
CoinGeek Live has half a day of educational content still in store. You can still register for Free to watch everything, or check out our coverage of what happened on Day 1 and Day 2 of the conference.
You can watch the entire CoinGeek Live gambling track in the video below: