International Game Technology PLC (IGT), the world's biggest maker of slot machines, has filed for a patent that enables gamblers to transfer Bitcoin (BTCUSD) from their online wallets to their account at a gambling establishment. "IGT secured this patent to bolster its industry-leading patent portfolio in anticipation of any possible future direction in regulated gaming involving cryptocurrency," a spokesperson from the company told Bloomberg.

According to the patent, "… the instructions cause the gaming establishment component processor to escrow the amount of cryptocurrency, establish a line of credit based on the escrowed amount of cryptocurrency, and modify a balance of a gaming establishment account based on the line of credit."

Key Takeaways

  • IGT has filed for a patent that enables slot machine players to transfer Bitcoin from their online wallet to their account at a gaming establishment.
  • The move could open up new markets for Bitcoin.

In simple words, this means that, until the time that the actual cryptocurrency transfer takes place between the crypto wallet and the player's account, the gambler will be able to fund his gaming by using a line of credit at the establishment. While it details the operational aspects of the transaction, the patent does not provide detail on associated fees and transaction costs for the transfers.

Millennials and those between 18 and 29 years of age comprised a majority of visitors to slot machines in Las Vegas, according to 2018 statistics. That should be good news for casinos with this technology because the younger demographic is comfortable with Bitcoin as a concept and its use as a transaction medium. The proliferation of smartphones also means that it should be relatively easy to implement cashless systems for transfer between two accounts.

IGT's patent could open up new markets for cryptocurrencies. While there are several Bitcoin ATMs in Las Vegas, casinos have only allowed use of the cryptocurrency for the purchase of food and drink and shied away from allowing it on the casino floor. The Nevada Gaming Commission decided last year to allow transfers from digital wallets (and not bank accounts) to gaming accounts. IGT recently announced a digital wallet, called Resort Wallet, to enable transfer of money from and to slot machines.