- How has sports become more prevalent in sports and betting?
- How do you bet with cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin?
- Which professional sports teams and groups are adopting cryptocurrency?
The world of sports is slowly embracing cryptocurrencies in the same way online gambling has done over the past decade as league and team owners become convinced by the viability of products such as Bitcoin.
Sporting institutions in the NFL, MLB and Premier League soccer have begun using ‘crypto’ as a means of payment.
Cryptocurrencies are a form of payment both buyers and suppliers can utilize. They are logged on an online ledger and can be exchanged for real currency such as dollars or euros, while their values rise and fall just like currency fluctuations.
Using virtual currencies is seen as the next venture for sports as owners, agents and players seek to maximize profitability in contracts—We could very soon see fans paying for hotdogs and beers in stadiums via crypto.
And one place sports can look for success in virtual currencies is in the betting sector.
Crypto in Betting
Online gambling has been using cryptocurrency as a form of payment for account deposits and withdrawals since 2013. The first online casino to accept Bitcoin as a payment method averaged $5m a month in the first three months of the operation.
“I wouldn’t be surprised that in the next CBA, you might see that as a topic. One of the bargaining points might be receiving payment in crypto. That negotiation is just starting in baseball, but you have that happening in other sports too.”
These days scores of casinos accept Bitcoin and other virtual currencies as payment methods. The cryptos can be converted into credit – just as traditional currencies are – and bet with on casino games and in sportsbooks. Players can then withdraw their winnings and convert them back into crypto.
Using this form of payment method has helped both players and casinos expand their horizons. Benefits to using cryptocurrencies in online casino games include:
- Lower costs
- Higher security
- Cash-back options
- Quick withdrawals
- Spreading risk
This last point about spreading risk is one of the major incentives players have to using crypto in casinos, as the Bitcoins or other virtual currencies they’re using may be worth more now than when they bought them.
Crypto in Sports
This is the ideal many sports teams are also trying to tap into. In late 2020 it was confirmed the Carolina Panthers would pay 50 per cent of Russell Okung’s $13m contract for that year in Bitcoin. The player himself is a big fan of the cryptocurrency and brokered his contract with the Panthers himself.
Elsewhere, Premier League soccer team Southampton FC have signed a sponsorship agreement with a betting company that includes “performance-based bonuses in Bitcoin at the end of each season”. Other soccer clubs in Europe – such as Juventus and Legia Warsaw – now accept blockchain-based fan tokens as forms of payment.
And Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval has admitted the MLB’s next collective bargaining agreement could involve virtual currencies, telling SportTechie: “I’ve talked to some of our players, and yes they are. I wouldn’t be surprised that in the next CBA, you might see that as a topic. One of the bargaining points might be receiving payment in crypto. That negotiation is just starting in baseball, but you have that happening in other sports too.”
While Bitcoin’s impact on professional sports remains a long way behind that experienced in the online casino sector, it is clear the relationship between virtual currencies and entertainment is growing increasingly strong.
Don’t be surprised if, in the future, you can use crypto to buy merchandise at an NHL game, just as you can convert Bitcoin into chips at a casino.
All the while, Bitcoin’s value in 2021 continues to grow, with the cryptocurrency currently worth around $62,300 per coin.