Atari Says It's Launching a Crypto Casino Based on Its Old Games

This, but virtual and Atari.
This, but virtual and Atari.
Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

In a move that’s not at all desperate, Atari claims it will be launching an online casino in May. More specifically, an Ethereum blockchain casino built around “Atari-themed games.”


The venture is a partnership with Decentral Games, and according to the company’s blog, the Atari Casino will feature nostalgia-tinged games, with some being luck-based, while others combine skill and luck. Because, you know, gambling. However, the companies also say there will be an “Atari special” game where players can win based on skill. Players will be able to earn $DG, Decentral Games’ own token, by playing with MANA, DAI, and a new special Atari token (ATRI).

According to Coin Desk, the Atari Casino will be based in “Vegas City,” a gaming district in Decentraland, Decentral Games’ metaverse. Or basically, a virtual world where you use an avatar to interact. Bloomberg cites both companies as saying they expect to see $150 million in bets in 2021 and $400 million over the next two years.

A crypto casino is essentially the same thing as any other online casino or betting agency, with the caveat that bets and winnings are made in cryptocurrency instead of regular fiat currencies. Theoretically, gambling in crypto would enable a degree of privacy, as well as ensure that games aren’t rigged by the house. That’s because, per TechRadar, betting logic is stored on a blockchain. Plus, there’s the fact that winnings are not technically subject to taxes unless you declare them. However, crypto casinos also share many of the same problems as other cryptocurrencies. Namely, they’re not well-regulated and are inherently high-risk.

As for why Atari is boarding the crypto train, it appears to be an extension of CEO Frederic Chesnais’s attempts to make Atari relevant again. Nevermind the looooong-delayed Atari VCS, Chesnais has a weird fixation with cryptocurrency in general. Atari launched its own cryptocurrency in 2018 and announced back in September that it had partnered with Ultra Games for blockchain-based game streaming on the VCS, which Atari says it began shipping in December 2020 to “overwhelmingly positive” feedback. (It also says it plans to ramp up deliveries before March 31 this year.) With this Ethereum casino, it appears Chesnais is convinced that blockchain holds the keys to reviving the Atari brand. Well, that and the new Atari hotel that’s being built in Las Vegas. It hasn’t exactly panned out so far, but OK, bud. Whatever gets you out of bed in the morning.

Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.



I doubt this has much to do with making Atari relevant again, neither is it all that odd for Atari.

The current iteration of Atari has far, far, more experience in financial scams and dodgey licensing schemes than it does in video games. Why wouldn’t they be all over crypto?

The VCS probably isn't long delayed. It's probably doing what it was always intended to. Sitting there just plausible enough to keep the lawsuits at bay. This holding company what swallowed a brand basically invented vaporware. It's not coming, probably never was.