Las Vegas and Bitcoin: A Marriage Made in the Desert

The marriage of Las Vegas and Bitcoin is benefiting both parties

Elvis says, Bring Your Bitcoin to the Altar, Little Darling!. Getty Images

Las Vegas is the home of dancing girls, late nights, grand (cheap) buffets, big time boxing and bitcoin ATMs brought to you by Mike Tyson.

The marriage of bitcoin and Las Vegas seems to be a perfect match. After all, Vegas is unlike any other town in the world and many people come here for just that reason. Bitcoin is also unique and provides a form of currency that is unlike any that a typical Vegas visitor carries in their pockets (and ultimately loses under the bright lights).

Bitcoin has been a favored form of currency in Vegas over the recent years. It’s been commonly exchanged at casinos, hotels, bachelor (and bachelorette) parties, limos and even escort services (can’t reveal my sources).

The motto of Vegas is“what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, and the use of bitcoin in the desert city has actually helped to make this motto a reality for many visitors.

The Mike Tyson bitcoin ATMs are not the only dispensers of bitcoin in the city, as others have appeared in South Las Vegas and Henderson, NV as well. There are now as many as eleven automated BTC ATMs in use in the Vegas area.  The rates on bitcoin transactions at these ATMS have started at 7 percent on the buy and 5 percent for the sell.  But the revenue earned from these transactions are not the full story of bitcoin’s impact on the city.

Some of the off-the-main-strip establishments are actually seeing revenue from these “bitcoin tourists” who are using bitcoin to pay for hotel stays and shops over the last two years.

Derek Stevens, owner of the D Las Vegas Casino Hotel and the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, admits that his acceptance of bitcoin at his establishments “has definitely seen more business as a result.” The website, VegasNews.com wants to encourage other Vegas locations, particularly those ‘outposts’ and old-school businesses to jump on the bitcoin bandwagon as it points out that, “It’s really hard to imagine Las Vegas will ever be buried in oblivion, but, as long as Bitcoin is a greatly convenient and efficient payment solution, why not take advantage of this sophisticated modern technique to prop up the great gambling paradise and bring it up to date.”

This use of bitcoin is not exclusive to the gambling industry as in Vegas you can even find a bitcoin ATM at a mixed martial arts gym in Vegas (the ATM is manufactured in Prague, Czech Republic).  The owner of the gym is Nick Blomgren and he’s using bitcoin as a way to promote his fighters, who now wear bitcoin logos on their shorts when they battle on Pay Per View or Spike TV.

Blomgren became interested when he heard fighters talking about the virtual currency. “The fighters wanted to know if they could get paid with bitcoin,” he said. “(Bitcoin) is on the minds of the 25-to-35-year olds.”

All of this activity and bitcoin interest in the city was a reason why the 20/20 Conference last year that highlighted Bitcoin was held in Las Vegas. 

This event brought many bitcoin business leaders to the city, who were able to speak directly to those active in the city, on the benefits of bitcoin as not only a driver of financial change, but as a driver of business.  The growth in attendance of the conference over the years has also made many skeptics believers in the potential impact of the digital currency for the desert city and its businesses.

Las Vegas may actually be the place where those people who complain that bitcoin will never be a legitimate currency since it’s not physical, may be silenced when you can exchange bitcoin for physical chips and use them to play the games of chance that so many of us have lost our physical dollars at.

 

Las Vegas is still the land of hope and dreams, and may be the most appropriate place for bitcoin to grow.