Play-to-earn blockchain games have skyrocketed in popularity since Facebook announced its rebrand to Meta. Ironically, the crypto metaverse Mr. Zuckerberg set out to destroy has only grown in strength.
One interesting phenomenon has emerged, Metaverse gambling.In February, it was revealed that at any given time 30% of all users on the most popular blockchain metaverse, Decentraland, occupied virtual poker tables and casinos. There are already over 800,000 Decentraland citizens, more than Vegas’ 630,000 population. Maybe, Decentraland really is becoming the new Las Vegas…
Wait a second, let’s do some math. Despite having 800,000 registered users its actual active daily users are more like 18,000 people. Still a lot but not quite Vegas levels. Anyways, that means that at any given moment there are around 5,400 people actively gambling.
One of Decentraland’s biggest casinos to gamble, DecentralGames, reported $7.5 million in revenue just over a three-month period. That’s roughly $83,334 a day! In 2018, the average Vegas casino saw $662,000 per day in revenue due to gambling.
After running these numbers through one of those fancy calculator thingies, you can see that DecentralGames is currently earning 13% of what the average Las Vegas casino was earning back in 2018. That is pre-pandemic!
Since the dreaded Coronavirus took over the streets, Vegas has reported a drop in visitors by 27%. Maybe those lost visitors have favored logging into Decentraland.
Is Metaverse Gambling a Good Thing?
The main argument against metaverse gambling is the perceived young audience a lot of these worlds cater to. Decentraland does not fall into that bracket.
A small poll showed that the average age of Decentraland users falls in the 23-27 age bracket. Of course, this is not a good size nor a representative sample so we can’t hang our coattails on this.
“IN ALL CASES INVOLVING ONLINE GAMBLING YOU MUST BE OLDER THAN 18 YEARS (OR THE MINIMUM LEGAL AGE IN YOUR PLACE OF RESIDENCE).”
Sure, this may legally be all they need. But I would argue, morally, they should require some form of identification from users to start gambling.
This is not an argument made by someone who wants Decentraland, or any other metaverse, to fail. It is the opposite, community members have also raised concerns that this issue could lead to a large-scale legal or moral attack on the platform.
Worlds like Decentraland have a duty to protect their users. Ensuring the safety of children is one of the most important issues they face.