Published: May 3, 2022

Atari’s dive into metaverse crypto casino gambling

Online casino gaming is continuously evolving. But, over the past year, it has entered a revolutionary stage in its development by branching off into metaverses. These are virtual shared spaces where users can interact with others via avatars and conduct cryptocurrency transactions. Thus, the term cryptocurrency casino has now attained a whole new meaning, as people no longer gamble on traditional games of chance using only standard digital coins. They also bet utilizing unique fungible tokens in vast networks akin to open-world games.

In March of last year, Atari, the former video game behemoth, announced that they struck a lease agreement to build a metaverse casino inside the Vegas City district of the virtual shared space Decentraland. That is a platform that the Digital Currency Group, the parent company of CoinDesk, has an investment in and where multiple such gambling establishments exist. Atari's digital gambling venue accepts multiple fungible tokens for wagers, including Decentral Games, and marks a significant step forward for the gambling industry. Below, a short breakdown explains its ascension and how it affects this sector.

Atari’s Historical Relevance Explained

When someone says Atari, the first association that comes to mind is old school home gaming consoles, and with good reason, the company’s 2600 video game system. Released in 1977, the Atari 2600 popularized microprocessing-based hardware and helped make swappable ROM cartridges mainstream. By 1982, the Atari 2600 was the most dominant console around. Unfortunately, investing vast amounts of money into several licensed games for this system, such as E.T and Pac-Man, resulted in poorly converted copies that eroded consumer confidence and diminished the Atari brand. Their downfall got exacerbated by the 1983 video game crash when the industry went into a large-scale recession that lasted two years.

In 1984, Commodore International bought out Atari’s home computing division and created a new entity altogether named the Atari Corporation. Over the years, this company released multiple media entertainment systems, many of which underperformed, leading them to stop producing consoles after the failure of the Atari Jaguar. In 2001, the brand sought to re-invent itself by releasing gaming products and stepping back into console production. Today, they are making headlines with their crypto casino in Decentraland, trailblazing a new frontier in online gaming/gambling.

Crypto Casinos Defined

A crypto gambling site is an internet gaming platform that hosts traditional and novel games of chance and accepts bets made in digital money forms such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other established cryptos. They differ from standard fiat gambling sites in that they offer provably fair games and have promotions/site options specific for crypto casinos only. These include promos that give away free gaming funds through chat rain and free faucets, unavailable at any fiat online casino.

Metaverse gambling spots differ from a Bitcoin gambling site in that they allow users to enjoy a far more social wagering experience than what they can find on a website. They also feature innovative products that cannot get found at any land-based or internet gaming spot. That is due to the fact that they do not get burdened with having to fulfill any regulatory criteria and pretty much have free reign for now.

What are NFTs & Their Connection to Bitcoin Casino Gaming?

Everyone has likely heard of the acronym NFT by now. It refers to unique digital assets that are unreproducible. Nevertheless, people do not gamble using these non-fungible tokens at metaverse cryptocurrency casinos. There, they utilize fungible ones based on the ERC-20 standard (Ethereum). For example, in Atari’s metaverse locales, crypto gamblers can bet using the platform’s native token, MANA, the Decentral Games one, or the Atari Token. These work essentially like most popular cryptos and can get traded at the most renowned crypto exchanges.

The Atari token is also an ERC-20 token, created to become a reference for the interactive entertainment industry. It even features an Atari decentralized exchange, or Atari Dex, where holders can swap different pairs of tokens. It is a cryptocurrency asset with smart contract security and enables simple blockchain-based applications for games. Hence, it can also get used by other metaverse casino operators.

What Games Does the Atari Cryptocurrency Casino Offer?

It primarily sticks to supplying traditional table games and slots, like the ones that online gamblers can find at Bitcoin casinos. So, patrons can enjoy classics like roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and casino poker variants inside Atari’s Decentraland’s gaming venue. Everyone that visits this locale can test their luck by going up against ball-shaped robot dealers.

Expect to see Atari implement games of chance based on some of their famous arcade titles relatively soon.

The Virtual Real Estate Explosion

Yes, there is a virtual real estate boom taking place. For those out of the loop, metaverses feature enormous maps that users can traverse. These maps get divided into plots of land, which are NFTs. Parties interested in owning virtual land in any metaverse can attain some via an initial coin offering. Or at a primary/secondary marketplace. Landowners can purchase multiple plots and fuse them into an estate.

Most metaverses have dedicated districts where only specific buildings can get constructed. Or where distinct businesses can get run. Atari is looking to launch a virtual hotel to complement its announced future physical chain. Aside from the mentioned Vegas City gambling district in Decentraland, that platform also has a Fashion Street district.

Per a report from MetaMetric Solutions, virtual real estate sales on the top four metaverse platforms reached over $500 million in 2021, and expectations are now that they will grow at a rate of 31% per year until 2028. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect many new metaverse gambling establishments to pop up in the coming months. Consequently, these may be as common as the everyday Bitcoin casino in no time.

Are Metaverse Cryptocurrency Casinos a Worthwhile Investment?

Putting money into any new technology or trend is a risky endeavor. Atari dared to get in on the metaverse craze early, hoping to promote their existing catalog of gaming products and attain exposure through a new medium, opening the doors to potential new demographics. They also did not mind the free publicity that came with launching this virtual locale. Still, there is no promise that the NFT or metaverse sectors will bloom to the degree that many assume. Moreover, it is also a question of time when they will run into licensing and regulatory issues. That applies to metaverse crypto casinos and any other virtual business. So, one can say that Atari is rolling the dice by going all-in on the metaverse wave. Though, as the saying goes – you cannot win if you do not play. Life’s a gamble, and it is better to come in early than late.

© Public Gaming Research Institute. All rights reserved.