Immersive virtual world Decentraland, a browser-based metaverse, has reported $7.5 million in income from their metaverse casino ICE Poker in the last three months. Decentraland was founded in February 2020 and is controlled by its users through the Decentraland Foundation, a non-profit organization.
Decentraland invested in Decentral Games, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), in September 2021 to deliver ICE Poker, its metaverse casino, which launched in October 2021.
According to Decentral Games CEO Miles Anthony, the casino has roughly 6,000 daily users and can have more than 1,000 gamers playing poker "at any given time."
The casino accounts for more than a third of Decentraland's daily users.
Although 1,000 users at any given time may not seem like a lot, Anthony told CoinDesk that "when it comes to the open metaverse, that's very considerable, considering the main issue right now with metaverses is that they're empty."
ICE Poker, according to Anthony, is the Web3 version of gambling.
But what is a metaverse casino, exactly?
Traditional game mechanics are not used on the platform. Instead, it's tokenized, and users must first buy NFT wearables before they can play-to-earn. NFT wearables, for those unfamiliar, are virtual jackets, sunglasses, jeans, and accessories that you can add to your digital avatar. The value of NFT wearables, like other NFTs, can increase over time. Some are currently available for purchase on the OpenSea marketplace for around 2.4 ETH ($6,500).
Players are entitled to a daily allotment of Chips once they have their NFTs, which reset every midnight UTC. The more wearables they use, the more ICE they can accumulate.
Chips are used to play poker and fulfil daily tasks. The daily tasks range from seeing the flop 15 times to completing a straight twice. Daily challenges are assigned at random, but players are guaranteed to receive one easy, one medium, and one tricky task.
Players gain ICE tokens and Experience Points (XP) for completing challenges, paid out and allotted daily at midnight UTC. A player's Chips performance on a given day affects their leader board position and is multiplied by an ICE earnings multiplier of 0.5 to 1.5.
Players can then upgrade their NFTs by burning ICE tokens, gaining XP, and depositing Decentraland Games tokens ($DG). Players can upgrade to higher-value and more exclusive wearables by burning ICE tokens, which allows them to receive ICE bonus allocations, making it easier and faster to earn more ICE.
The Sandbox, a different metaverse, is now soliciting funds to launch its metaverse-based casino, the Sand Vegas Casino. In December, Virtue Gaming's blockchain-based Virtue Poker became the first play-to-earn poker platform licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority.
It is important to note that this is still very early-stage. Playing with any online or metaverse casino that is not licensed or regulated is risky and should only be done if you are comfortable taking that risk.