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Baccarat dealer Ramiro Nepomuceno, right, shuffles cards as floor supervisor Sam Insyxiengmay looks on while preparing a table for play at the MGM Hotel and Casino, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Las Vegas. There are generally more Asian gamblers in Vegas because of the Chinese New Year, and it means increased traffic at high limit baccarat tables. Though not widely known, baccarat is actually the most profitable table game for casinos which try to court Asian gamblers who tie luck and good fortune to the start of the Lunar Year. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Vegas casinos now accepting cybercurrency Bitcoin
First Published Jan 21 2014 01:44 pm • Last Updated Jan 21 2014 06:16 pm

Las Vegas • Las Vegas is getting one more novelty. Starting this week, patrons will be able to use the online currency Bitcoin to pay for rooms, food and drinks at two downtown casinos.

The D casino and the city’s oldest casino, the Golden Gate, will accept bitcoins at hotel front desks beginning Wednesday. The cybercurrency will also be accepted at the D’s gift shop and two restaurants. U.S. dollars will remain the only currency accepted on the gambling floor.

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Derek Stevens, the co-owner of the two casinos, said he’s been intrigued by Bitcoin for years and had talked with patrons who wondered if the casinos would use it.

He said it’s tough to forecast how many patrons will pay for dinners and souvenirs with Bitcoin, but predicted other casinos will soon adopt the currency.

"For us, it’s going to be somewhat exciting to see what kind of impact it’ll have," he said.

State regulators are unlikely to allow casinos to exchange chips for bitcoins any time soon, according to A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The industry has not approached regulators about approving the currency for gambling.

"We would have to have an extremely high level of comfort with virtual currency of this kind in order for that to ever occur," Burnett said.

Bitcoin made its debut four years ago, and has been gaining momentum ever since, shedding its status as an internet oddity and approaching the mainstream.

Earlier this month, the Salt Lake City-based retailer Overstock.com became the first major retailer to accept the digital currency as payment for goods.


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Unlike government-issued money, the value of Bitcoin fluctuates rapidly. Like Overstock.com, the two casinos will use a Bitcoin broker that immediately exchanges the digital coins into dollars.

Advocates describe Bitcoin as the foundation of a Utopian economy: no borders, no change fees, no closing hours, and no one to tell you what you can and can’t do with your money.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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