According to data from the UK Gambling Commission, the gross yield for remote casinos increased by 3.7% in 2020. Under the remote casino category, online slots also increased its gross yield, this time by 4.9%, while online or peer-to-peer poker increased by 2.7%. Meanwhile, Bitcoin transactions grew steadily in the UK during 2020 as well. In fact, the UK is among the countries which saw the highest number of Bitcoin transactions last year.
These upward trends in crypto use and online poker are no coincidence. Cryptocurrencies are paving the way for the growth and continued popularity of online crypto poker rooms – not just in the UK but around the world. Near the end of 2020, global online poker provider Winning Poker Network (WPN) had to acquire millions of pounds worth of Bitcoin to meet the rapidly rising demand for crypto transactions. “90-95% of our payouts are people asking for Bitcoin because it’s going up. We are constantly having to go out and buy Bitcoin – lots. Lots. More than we’ve even had to before,” explained WPN chief executive Phil Nagy in an interview with Bloomberg.
Earlier in 2020, WPN set a new world record when it set its jackpot at $1 million – the largest cryptocurrency jackpot in the history of online poker. While WPN operates across the globe, 60% of its players are American. This is mainly because in the U.S., crypto has another practical purpose beyond its obvious convenience and security when it comes to transactions. While online poker is very popular in the U.S., there are actually very few American states where online poker is legal. Online poker is actually only legal in Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. And even in the aforementioned states, only a limited number of poker platforms are allowed to operate. However, through the use of crypto, players from any American state can get around these gaming rules and restrictions, which don’t mention Bitcoin or any other popular cryptocurrency. As a result, the number of players on crypto online platforms continues to grow not just in the aforementioned states, but across the entire U.S.
Meanwhile, another huge chunk of the global online poker-playing population can be found in Brazil. And currently, all Brazilian states consider online poker legal, as their policymakers recognise the popular activity as a game of skill. This has streamlined the use of cryptocurrencies in Brazil’s online poker rooms. “Bitcoin is the best medium of money exchange in the poker community,” said 28-year-old Brazilian poker player, Felipe – in an interview where he withheld his last name for safety reasons.
Felipe explained that playing in online crypto poker rooms is much more profitable than his original plan of pursuing a career in corporate law. Moreover, he said that keeping Bitcoin instead of fiat money or stocks keeps the government’s hands off his assets. “I withdraw earnings as Bitcoin, or as Tether, to a Brazilian crypto exchange and sell it there.” Many Brazilians who frequent online crypto poker rooms share Felipe’s sentiments and methods. For players in South America, North America, and Europe, Bitcoin and other cryptos are providing not just a more convenient but an arguably safer way of doing global online transactions.
In other parts of the planet, global and local online poker rooms are following suit. It certainly helps that millionaires and global poker stars like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Dan Colman, and Brian Rast have long been openly supportive of cryptocurrency. With both professional poker players and everyday players alike cashing in on the crypto action, online crypto poker rooms will continue to rise globally in the coming years.