The beginning of this week saw the gambling industry gathering in the ExCel centre in London at ICE Totally Gaming. This year, blockchain made an appearance as the industry heard how the technology could improve and be integrated in the gambling sector.

Hosted by GamCrowd, which put out a report late last year on the potential of blockchain to revolutionise the gambling industry, a number of speakers presented information and use cases of blockchain technology and held panels to discuss and inform on its use. Chris North, co-founder and managing director of GamCrowd, introduced the session with a presentation on GamCrowd, which is promoting blockchain and other new technologies such as AI and IoT for the gambling industry.

Following this, journalist Matthew Warner gave a very succinct summary of how blockchain works, its features, possible benefits and some use cases that can currently be seen in the space. Detailing some of the features of blockchain, including transparency, immutability and disintermediation; Warner went on to describe how these could be applied to the gambling industry. Some examples included enabling ‘provably fair’ gambling, in addition to facilitating authentication and validation services. Warner finished his presentation by noting use cases such as Augur’s blockchain prediction market and Gulden looking to disintermediate bookmakers.

Up next was Dr Hans Lombardo, speaking about blockchain lottery developer Quanta. Lombardo discussed how the company aims to launch a global decentralised and autonomous blockchain lottery, with ticket sales offered where jurisdictionally permitted. He described the huge efficiency and payout benefits that using blockchain technology would allow the company and its users to experience – over 75%.

Co-founder and Head of Business Development at FirstBlood, Marco Cuesta described how Firstblood is using the Ethereum blockchain to build an eSports platform that allows players to challenge each other and win rewards. Still under development, it will support popular online games such as League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

After the presentations, the speakers were joined on a panel by Adam Vaziri from Diacle, Patricia Lalanda Ordóñez from Loyra Abogados, and Eddy Travia from Coinsilium. The participants discussed the following questions, as well as queries from the crowd:
– What the short and long term opportunities and disruption blockchain brings to the industry are.
– How other industries are adapting legacy platforms to the new technology.
– How disintermediation of the blockchain would affect bookmakers.
– The effect blockchain could have on regulators.
– What blockchain could do for KYC and AML compliance in gaming.

Over the duration of the panel, the speakers talked about the power blockchain has to create huge efficiency savings by automating processes, reducing settlement times and cutting out middle men. They looked at how other industries are forming consortiums and investing in start-ups to incorporate blockchain into their businesses and how complying with regulation would be easier. The effect of the technology for regulators and bookmakers was also examined, with the possibility of blockchain replacing them in the long term or, instead, enhancing their role in the short term. Other topics were also touched on but the general consensus was that the gambling industry was behind in taking on or investigating the use of blockchain, and that there was a need to step-up its involvement or risk falling behind and losing out on the huge benefits blockchain technology can bring.