Frank Schuengel is the person behind the first-ever licensed Bitcoin sportsbook and casino in the Isle of Man. He has almost twenty years of gaming industry experience, working at the highest levels in Europe and Asia.
How did you start being interested in Bitcoin gambling?
I always try to stay at the forefront of innovation in our industry and there is no more exciting and innovative area right now than that of crypto currencies. Therefore it was almost a logical conclusion that I would end up working on a Bitcoin related project sooner or later.
What do you think are the advantages of bitcoin gambling over traditional one?
Bitcoin, and crypto currencies in general, can help operators overcome payment issues in many regions by offering an easy, secure and decentralized way for players to deposit and withdraw. We are at the point right now where Bitcoin is about to hit the mainstream. With fiat payments becoming ever more difficult, costly, and risky to facilitate for gaming operators, now is the absolutely perfect time to add Bitcoin as payment method.
Why are operators still resilient in adding crypto in their operation?
Many operators, especially in the regulated space, still don’t seem to realize that they can offer secure, stable and fully compliant payments via Bitcoin. The regulations covering this are also still very new, with the Isle of Man only having brought in the amendment covering Virtual Currencies, and therefore Bitcoin, in 2016, with practical guidance following in 2017.
Do you see any value of adding other crypto options in casinos as of the moment?
What coin to add to the system entirely depends on the risk appetite of the operator. Using any altcoin next to BTC Core on a betting website or online casino can certainly give it added commercial value, but this must be balanced with the risks posed by doing so.
Share with us some insights and challenges of running a successful operation in a highly competitive market.
The industry is getting more competitive by the day and the key is to anticipate upcoming trends and the next big thing. Finding the right niche and USP is becoming crucial. At the moment, I believe that any firm offering trustworthy Bitcoin casino gambling (meaning licensed in a Tier 1 jurisdiction, just like the big fiat companies are) can have an edge over the competition.
How are you dealing with regulation? Does Bitcoin make things easier or trickier?
Regulation governing crypto currency gambling is still relatively new, just like Bitcoin itself. Often, technology is ahead of regulations supposed to govern it and operators as well as licensing bodies need to be flexible enough to work together on this. Done right, it is no more difficult than fiat operations and often even offers functionalities that are not available in the fiat world.
What is your prediction for 2020 in terms of sports betting?
Responsible Gambling will continue to dominate the discussion and we will see continued changes in the way betting products are advertised and viewed by the public.
Do you believe that iGaming will drive the mainstream adoption of crypto? What are the steps to take?
Yes, there is a good chance it will, especially as I know of some big names who are about to accept crypto and will therefore help to alleviate concerns of users by offering trusted casino games.