Atari Planning Ethereum-Backed Casino Capitalizing on NFT Boom

Posted on: March 8, 2021, 11:17h. 

Last updated on: March 8, 2021, 12:51h.

Atari, one of the founding fathers of the video game industry, is planning to launch an online casino to tap into several scorching hot technology trends.

Atari casino
An old Atari gaming console picture here. The video game company is looking to launch a blockchain casino. (Image: New York Times)

The casino will be developed with Decentral Games and launched on the Ethereum blockchain. By market value, Ethereum, also known as ether, is the second-largest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin.

Look forward to Atari-themed games, where nostalgia-inducing games are brought back with a twist. There will be games of luck, and games combining skill and luck. There will also be an ‘Atari special’ game where you can win by skill instead of pure luck,” according to a statement issued by Decentral.

In addition to leveraging the Atari brand, which is beloved by many video game devotees, the casino will feature Atari non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which players can use to earn more Ethereum.

Founded in 1972, Atari is the publisher behind such iconic titles such as Asteroids, Centipede Missile Command, and Pong.

Crypto Casinos Getting New Life?

By the standards of financial markets, cryptocurrency is a young asset class. Bitcoin, the king of the realm, is just 12 years old.

With Bitcoin and Ethereum combining for a market capitalization of almost $1.5 trillion, digital coins are gaining credibility, and some proponents see big opportunities at the intersection of gaming and crypto. It’s an idea that’s previously been attempted with modest success, and with the concept of internet casinos booming, proponents see upside for increased use of crypto-backed platforms.

For Atari’s part, the partnership with Decentral Games is an effort by CEO Frederic Chesnais to rejuvenate a company looking to regain its footing as video gaming soars in popularity.

The companies forecast the Ethereum casino can generate $150 million in revenue this year, with that figure jumping to $400 million over two years.

Decentral Games is a unit of Digital Currency Group. That company also owns Grayscale Investments, an issuer of digital coin index funds, including the world’s largest Bitcoin index fund.

Tapping Into NFT Boom

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are the latest craze in the crypto market. NFTs don’t function as interchangeable currencies a la Bitcoin or Ethereum. Rather, an NFT is a cryptographic token that represents a unique underlying asset.

The market is drawing some big names, including actress Lindsay Lohan and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. NFTs can represent digitized versions of artwork and music, with buyers often getting involved for investment purposes.

One of the prime examples of a burgeoning NFT niche is NBA Top Shot. That company releases “packs” of official NBA-licensed highlights, and like the Atari casino, it taps into the Ethereum blockchain. Highlight packs are released in limited numbers, creating a sense of scarcity, and buyers often rapidly flip their “cards” for big profits on the Top Shot marketplace.

Sales on the platform topped $205 million late last month, with some highlights being sold for more than $200,000.

For the Atari casino, Decentral Games is allowing users to use two tokens — LAND (a non-fungible ERC-721 token) and MANA (a standard ERC-20 token) to access the platform and participate in games.