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Two downtown Las Vegas casinos will be first to accept Bitcoin


Derek Stevens has no idea what to expect when the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate begin accepting the digital currency Bitcoin for nongaming transactions starting today.

The majority owner of the two downtown hotel-casinos, however, knows there is excitement surrounding the idea.

When word of the plans leaked Tuesday, Stevens said several people showed up at the D Las Vegas’ American Coney Island, looking to pay for several of the restaurant’s signature hot dogs with Bitcoin.

“There is a lot more excitement around the idea than I first thought,” said Stevens, who said he’s been looking into the Bitcoin concept over the past 18 months. “I’m not really sure how this will evolve.”

He said customers approached him off and on and asked about his properties accepting payments with the virtual currency.

The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate will become the city’s first resorts to accept Bitcoin for payment. Bitcoin will be accepted at five locations, including both hotels’ front desks and in the D’s Gift Shop. Guests at the D also will be able to use the currency at American Coney Island and Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.

Bitcoin purchases at the hotels will be processed through BitPay, a service that streamlines transactions using tablet and mobile interfaces. Tablets programmed with BitPay will be installed at each cashier, allowing Bitcoin users to pay for services using their mobile wallets.

Stevens said he purchased the technology to process Bitcoin payments. He said the idea gives his two casinos an edge with customers looking to use the virtual currency.

“We’re located in the growing high-tech sector of downtown Las Vegas, and like all things downtown, we’re quickly adaptive to new technology,” Stevens said. “The timing is right for us to launch this initiative, and I’m happy to be able to offer this to our customers.”

Bitcoin will not be allowed for use in the properties’ casinos.

Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said Tuesday there haven’t been discussions with casino operators on using Bitcoin for gaming.

“So far we have not allowed it,” Burnett said.

Stevens agreed that Bitcoin should not yet be used in any gaming transactions.

“I think it’s too early with the technology,” he said. “We need a lot more information.”

Stevens said the hotels will keep detailed accounts of all sales using Bitcoin. The transactions will be converted to U.S. dollars and the properties will make sure all normal sales and room taxes are included.

He said the information would be shared with state gaming regulators.

“I think 2014 is going to be an interesting year for Bitcoin,” Stevens said. “There are a number of companies beginning to accept the currency. We do need a lot more direction from the IRS and the U.S. Treasury.”

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

 

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