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Betting and COVID-19: How Blockchain is Bridging the Gap

Betting and COVID-19: How Blockchain is Bridging the Gap

In Denmark, sports betting has seen a 60% decline since lockdowns began to contain the coronavirus spread. However, gambling in an online casino in the country has recorded an 8% year-on-year growth in the country with online casino deposits increasing by 2%.

With millions of others locked down in their homes across the world, the figures reported by the Danish Gambling Authority can be extrapolated to show a picture of how the COVID-19 pandemic is driving people to online betting across the globe.

Unfortunately, those operating betting houses like casinos are in it for the profits. As such, the rules are skewed to ensure the house always wins in what they call the “house edge.”

When not defeated by a house edge, a bettor may fall victim to a natural or a predetermined outcome meant to make him the looser.

Here’s a situation that happened in 2018. During an NFL game involving Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders, a man placed an in-game wager.

“After placing his bet, the odds momentarily jumped to 750-to-1 in his favor. This error was the result of a computer glitch and not the bookmaker’s choice. The man won his bet …But FanDuel refused to pay on account of the glitch.”

Blockchain as a Solution

If the bet were being powered by blockchain technology, it would have been easier to verify whether the man won.

According to Jerry Cuomo, the VP of blockchain technology at IBM Corp, “blockchain brings a platform for trusted data exchange while preserving privacy. And that provides a foundation to do some amazing things in this time of crisis.”

Although Cuomo was referring to the COVID-19 crisis, blockchain technology is also solving  decades-old problems in the betting industry – lack of trust and fairness.

A prominent example of blockchain in the betting industry is powering an ecosystem of applications meant to remove intermediaries from financial services in what is referred to as Decentralized Finance (DeFi).

So far, Defi platforms range from trading platforms, derivatives, lending, insurance, and crowdfunding. We are also witnessing the rise of betting platforms like AlphaPlay. This site allows players to bet against each other on which cryptocurrency will make the most gains or the least losses within an interval of 5 minutes. Currently, the platform enables one to bet on four top cryptocurrencies, i.e., Bitcoin, Ether, Tron, and EOS.

To raise funds, the platform is holding a token sale for the Alpha Gambling loyalty program, which runs from April 26 to August 8, 2020, where Alpha ERC20 tokens on sale. Token owners are getting 6% of the platform’s turnover like bonuses. 90% of the turnover users are taking as prizes, and the remaining 4% is taken by users for referrals and playing with friends on the platform. There is a chance to try the game using 1000$ demo money with no registration required.

Also Read: South Africa’s Covid-19 cases now at 73 533

Most of these DeFi platforms are built on the Ethereum or EOS blockchain platforms with Ethereum having the highest number of Dapps and EOS commanding the highest amount locked in smart contracts.

Examples of DeFi projects spread across lending, insurance, margin trading, and investment include YouHodler, Opyn, BzeroX, and Melon Protocol.

Blockchain firms start COVID-19 betting, others invest

Similar to statistics in Denmark, a survey sampling betting trends during the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that 41% of new entrants on online gambling sites have admitted to spending too much money with approximately 35% saying their betting habits are likely to get out of control. Interestingly, most of the betting is happening on mobile devices.

An increase in online betting has seen blockchain-based platforms such as Waves introduce a token encouraging people to bet on whether the global number ofCOVID-19 cases will rise or fall below the ones recorded in April.

Apart from betting sites, blockchain firms are investing in the healthcare projects contributing to the fight against coronavirus.

Block.one, the developer of EOS, has invested in Agerona, Genobank’s healthcare application helping users to source for privacy-oriented COVID-19 testing kit.

As the world braces for hard times ahead, blockchain technology is providing a fairer “house edge” in the betting industry. And, at a time when betting addiction is likely to be fueled by the COVID-19 lockdown, DeFi platforms are leveraging blockchain technology to increase the odds of winning for bettors.

Elina is New York based writer and media consultant. Currently she is involved as an advisor in several ICOs. In addition to her professional interests, she loves jazz, modern art, coffee, and yoga.

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