Where else but Las Vegas would you expect bitcoin to be accepted as valid currency?
The land of slot machines, poker games, and expensive vacations may become a home to the increasingly popular digital currency, bitcoin. Two Las Vegas hotels, The Golden Gate and The D Las Vegas, accept payments in bitcoin form. However, this does not apply to the casino floor.
Use of digital currency in gambling is still up in the air due to government regulation - and fear of government regulation. Derek Stevens, co-owner of the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate, told Wired his company stopped accepting bitcoin on the casino floor because it's too early to tell how the government will react. The Nevada Gaming Control Board is equally unsure how the federal government will view the use of digital currency in real-life gambling houses.
"We need to have greater clarity from the U.S. Treasury, the Department of Justice, the IRS," he said. "Once we have more from our government, we might be able to implement bitcoin for casino gaming, but I think we're still a ways away from that." For now, bitcoin can be used to pay for rooms, meals, and items from the hotels' gift shops.
Fred Ehrsam, the co-founder of a bitcoin payment processer called Coinbase, says he's no longer worried about the federal government approving payments in bitcoin. Senate hearings on the topic were "almost comically positive," Ehrsam said.
Bitcoin is moving forward, but it needs policies and approvals from regulators and the government before it will be widely accepted. Stevens said more people ask him if he accepts bitcoin, noting the demand has arrived. If any gambling house were to accept digital currency, you can bet it would be in Las Vegas.