Two Las Vegas casinos will now accept the virtual currency Bitcoins in payment for rooms, food and drinks, but not gambling.
The D casino and the Golden Gate casino began accepting Bitcoins at their hotel front desks last week. The virtual currency will also be accepted at the D’s gift shop and two restaurants.
Gamblers, however, still have to use cash.
Derek Stevens, a co-owner of the two casinos, said he’s interested in Bitcoins and has talked with customers who wanted to use the currency at the casinos.
“For us, it’s going to be somewhat exciting to see what kind of impact it’ll have,” Stevens told the San Francisco Examiner.
The two casinos will use a Bitcoin broker that immediately exchanges the digital coins into dollars.
Considering the up-and-down nature of Bitcoins—their value fluctuates widely—it’s unlikely Nevada will approve them for casino use anytime soon. But Bitcoins continue to make inroads even as many countries—such as China and India—have recently moved to curb their use.
Many advocate the computer-generated currency, which first appeared four years ago, as a new currency, but Bitcoins are not controlled by a financial institution or country. That has led to concerns that Bitcoins and all virtual currencies can be used for illegal activities and money laundering.
Still, their use is growing.
Earlier this month, the Salt Lake City-based retailer Overstock.com became the first major retailer to accept the digital currency as payment for goods.
Meanwhile, Bitcoins lost some more traction when Finland’s central bank ruled earlier this month that Bitcoins fail as a currency and should be regulated as a commodity.
Though the bank rejected Bitcoins as a legal form of tender, Finns can legally use the software to make payments. Capital gains made on Bitcoin investments are taxed, though losses aren’t deductible, according to guidelines by the tax authority. Finns are required to pay income tax on mined Bitcoins.