Decentraland Gets Its First Casino and Slot Machines: Soon You Will Be Able to Gamble Using MANA and Ethereum at Chateau Satoshi

Don’t forget to register for the upcoming Decentraland Game Jam, where you have an opportunity to win a share of 2,500,000 MANA cryptocurrency tokens and 200 LAND virtual land parcels, prizes worth an estimated US$275,000 in total value. You don’t need to own any land to take part in the contest, and they’re even offering training sessions all next week (online via Twitch and at various real-world locations) on how to use the Decentraland SDK to create contest entries.


Although the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland (DCL for short) is still in closed beta test, with countless users impatiently waiting for their chance to be admitted, the first casino has already opened! So this evening I decided to pay a visit, take some photos, and even play the slots!

Chateau Satoshi
A closer look at the rotating Decentral Games logo

Decentral Games, a company that is building gambling games, has opened its first casino, called Chateau Satoshi:

The demo is now accessible to core community members and is hosted on our site and viewable in a Chrome browser. We felt this was the best means to gain valuable feedback on gameplay, scene design, on-screen UI, and overall experience. After testing and optimization, we will deploy this casino scene to 19 parcels of LAND at the entrance of Vegas City, Decentraland.

In this closed beta demo, the default gameplay is in fake PLAY currency with no blockchain interaction. It may take a few seconds for the scene to render and the games to be playable. The Free-to-Play version serves as a taste of the Decentral Games experience, without the need to register an account with us. However, in the on-screen UI gameplay box found in the lower right hand corner there’s a toggle that allows the user to switch to the MANA Payout and ETH Payout gameplay. 

(For those not familiar with the terminology being used here, LAND is the name of the 16m-by-16m virtual parcels of land in Decentraland, MANA is the cryptocurrency used in DCL, and ETH is, of course, the Ethereum cryptocurrency. Gambling using MANA and ETH are not yet available, but the company says they will be available soon.)

Here’s a few more shots of the casino interior, which is decorated in a luxurious gold-and-white Art Deco style with many grand staircases throughout:

The box in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen pops up automatically when you enter the casino grounds, and it helpfully informs you how many credits you have left, what your current bet is, and how much you have won:

Here’s a look at the slot machines, located at the main entrance of the casino, next to a soaring spiral staircase:

As you can see from this short video clip I recorded, they are actual working slot machines (I won 25 credits on the pull just before this one!):

However, there are many jurisdictions around the world that prohibit online gambling in virtual worlds (most notably, the FBI investigated gambling in Second Life in 2007, which led to Linden Lab shutting down all forms of online gambling). Decentraland Games states in their blogpost:

To comply with online gaming legislation, the MANA and ETH Payout versions will require age and location verification. We will also request authorization to transfer MANA on behalf of the player. Although an early implementation of this process is currently offered on our site, we are still optimizing its ease of use. Please just test our Free-to-Play gameplay for now. 

Using the link provided above, I did a quick check and Decentral Games is clearly screening out Americans, although it’s not clear what other countries will be banned from gambling. The company adds:

We’d like to give a big thanks to the Matic Network and Decentraland teams who have been very supportive throughout development. If you don’t yet have access to the closed beta and you’d like to join the community dialogue, join our Discord channel, direct message us on Twitter, or reach out to hello@decentral.games to request access. We’d like to welcome any feedback the community may have regarding improvements to the slots game or suggestions for new games to build in the future. 

For more information on Decentral Games, here is their website. It would appear that the company is planning to produce more types of gambling games than just slot machines, including roulette wheels:

Decentral Games website

I was actually very surprised to see this already up and running in Decentraland! And this is not some cheap-looking low-poly building; it is a very attractively-designed virtual casino, one of the nicest builds I have yet visited in-world. One thing I will say: there are a lot of people who have a lot of incentive to make DCL work, because they invested millions of dollars of their hard earned money into it. And obviously, gambling is going to be one way to monetize the outrageously expensive LAND which some people have bought.

It will be interesting to see what impact gambling will have on Decentraland, how successful it will be, and how DCL and Decentral Games will deal with the jumble of regulations around online gambling around the world. It is estimated that the size of the online casino market is roughly $40 billion or $50 billion a year, and obviously many DCL investors hope to put their LAND to good use to capture some of that money. And no doubt, there will be customers.

But I do wonder if Decentraland is going to land up looking more like a gaudy, low-poly, crypto-crazed Las Vegas strip, with nothing but gambling sites everywhere you look. Not to mention the impact on people who are susceptible to gambling addictions, who might find it hard to stay away when the casino is as close as their keyboard. I guess we’ll see how this all plays out.

One thing is certain: you can bet on interesting times ahead 😉

Is this the future of Deccentraland?
Photo by Benoit Dare on Unsplash
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Decentraland: A Project Update

Did you know that you can help support my work on this blog (as well as the Metaverse Newscast show), and get some great rewards in return? Here’s how.


Decentraland (DCL for short) is making progress!

The company is slowly letting more and more users onto the closed beta test platform (around 50 to 75 new people per week since July, last week they raised it to 150, and this week they raised it again to 400). DCL is also running weekly stress tests to see how well Decentraland performs under maximum avatar load. I have been participating in the stress tests when I can.

A quaint little lowpoly cottage I visited during today’s Decentraland stress test
Another picture taken during today’s stress testing
A closer look at the variety of avatar customization options

There are several new features in their web-based Decentraland Explorer client: a mini map in the upper-left corner so you can see where you are (a much-needed feature!), and a small user profile icon in the upper-right corner which, when clicked, displays information about your avatar. Also, they have finally integrated the avatar customization system on their website, so that your avatar now looks the way you designed and clothed him, and has the name you selected for him.

Prior to this, your avatar just had a randomly-generated appearance, and had a name of the form Guest ####, even if you had paid 100 MANA to register a custom avatar name. At current exchange rates, 100 MANA works out to about US$3.00. I still believe that charging for a custom username is a tactical mistake, and a potential roadblock to the average, non-crypto consumer that DCL will need to market to. On the other hand, it might cut down on the number of alts, which tend to be abused by the griefers who plague other virtual worlds such as Second Life.

Overall, I do get the strong impression that Decentraland is going to be the epitome of free-market capitalism in virtual worlds, charging people left and right for things that other virtual worlds offer for free. Want to play boar hunt? You gotta pay for them arrows, bud. Ten arrows cost 10 MANA (approx. US$0.40). Living and playing in Decentraland could get rather expensive! Decentraland developers and investors may want to take a close look at the 16-year history of Second Life to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t in a virtual world economy.

Many people are busy building wonderful scenes on their virtual parcels of LAND, and there is already much to see. There’s even a spreadsheet making the rounds, listing all the places the DCL sightseer can visit!

Life on the Blockchain (a tower with scenes of everyday life),
a Decentraland scene built by Interweaver

Don’t forget to join the Decentraland SDK Hackathon (which seems to have been renamed as the SDK Game Jam), running from Sept. 16th to 30th, 2019, where you can win a share of 2,500,000 MANA and/or 200 LANDs (with a total cash value of over US$250,000)! Just click the link above for more details on the contest, and how to apply. Good luck to all the contestants!


However, one of the things that I do find a little troubling about this virtual world project is that there seem to be a lot of people who have piled onto the cryptocurrency bandwagon, and rather blindly invested in MANA (Decentraland’s cryptocurrency) or LAND (Decentraland’s virtual land) without doing a lot of proper research into the project. Some people still think (wrongly) that DCL supports virtual reality, for example. I find that people are asking the same newbie questions over and over again. It’s not hard to scroll through and find comments like the following over on the official Decentraland Discord channels:

A: Can I explore without an invitation? I set up an avatar etc.

B: Does anyone know how to get early access to DCL?

C: So can we build things & bring them into Genesis city, for example?

D: hi all. i am new. i dont know how this works. what is the first step i should take here?

E: Hello I have one parcel. Can I rent it ?

I almost get the feeling of the Yukon Klondike Gold Rush, where everybody and their dog headed north, eagerly in search of gold, fueled by greed and tales of the few people who became millionaires. It will be fascinating to watch Decentraland’s economy evolve over time.

Image of one of Decentraland’s plazas

UPDATED! A Look at the 2019 VR Industry Landscape: Are All These Companies Actually Generating Revenue?

Peter Graham, a senior staff writer for the popular VR news website VRFocus, reports on an infographic published annually by the San Francisco-based venture capital firm The Venture Reality Fund, in an article titled The Venture Reality Fund’s 2019 VR Landscape Highlights 550+ Companies Generating Revenue:

Image from VRFocus (full-size version available here)

He writes:

Every year San Francisco-based venture capital firm The Venture Reality Fund (The VR Fund) releases a report on the industry as a whole, detailing the major or most influential players across a range of categories. The new 2019 VR Landscape has just been released, this time based on those who have revenue only, with over 550 companies making the cut.

So, of course, I used my handy image editor to zoom in to take a closer look at the companies listed in the Social box on this graphic (see image on the right). I do see that all of the usual suspects are represented 😉 (for example, Against Gravity is the maker of Rec Room). But I must agree with a commenter on Peter Graham’s article, who said:

Glad to see the updated version of this graphic, but many of the companies in this list are no longer active or totally defunct.

For example, underneath Orbus is the steampunk-themed logo for Surreal, a social VR platform I blogged about before. A company that has revenue? I doubt Surreal has earned a dime in profit for this busted product. Surreal (still) completely fails to work with my Oculus Touch hand controllers, despite reporting on their Steam page that version 3.0 of the software has Oculus Touch support. The fact that Surreal is even listed here on this infographic makes me seriously doubt how thoroughly all these listed companies were vetted.

By the way, according to their Wikipedia page, Against Gravity is now known as Rec Room Inc., and is now using the orange Rec Room logo instead of that stylized A. Also, that VRChat logo looks very dated to me. All of this information could have been easily checked before publishing this infographic by doing a few Google searches.

Another thing that sticks out like a sore thumb to me is the Decentraland logo (to the right of the Salin logo near the bottom of the box). That’s also an outdated logo, and even worse, Decentraland does not even support VR, and it is unlikely to do so anytime in the near future! Another mistake that makes me question the validity of the rest of the information presented in this graphic. Somebody did a really sloppy job in checking this infographic for accuracy.

I see High Fidelity listed in this box, too. They are relying on the US$72.9 million they raised in venture capital, and I’m quite sure they are feeling some pressure from their financial backers to turn a profit, but I rather doubt that they have generated any actual revenue from customers. As someone once memorably said on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server (and I am sorry, but can’t find the exact quote, so this is a paraphrase), “You can’t make it difficult to give the company money.” And High Fidelity’s over-complicated Marketplace submission process, with their originally ambitious plan to screen every single submission for quality, and to ensure it was not someone else’s intellectual property, was a classic textbook example of making it very hard to give them money.

UPDATE Aug. 29th: I now remember who first voiced the idea that High Fidelity was making it difficult to give them money—it was Dale Glass! If you’re interested, Dale has written a guest editorial on what he thinks is wrong with High Fidelity.

There are also a few companies listed here I have never heard of before: Cluster, Salin, Teemew, and Normal. Which of course means I get to do more exploring! Yay! 🙂 I’ll keep you posted as to what I find.

DCLBlocks: A New In-World Building Tool in Decentraland

Decentraland is inviting participants from its June Hackathon to post to their official blog about their achievements. This week’s guest blogger is Interweaver (a.k.a. Noah), who shared his experiment with in-world building blocks in Decentraland:

In this blog post I’ll be talking about how I designed and implemented my Decentrablocks project. The idea for this scene was simple: I wanted to be able to intuitively build things while actually standing in the scene, not in a separate Builder or with an external text editor and modeling software (as one does with the SDK). Also, I’m not a 3D artist, so it had to be made entirely of primitive shapes.

As you can see, this is a tool very similar to the prim-building tools offered by Second Life, as well as High Fidelity’s in-world building tools.

You can read Interweaver’s blogpost in full to get all the details on how he did this. He’s placed all his code for this project up on GitHub.

Don’t forget to register for the upcoming Decentraland SDK Hackathon. There’s still time to enter the contest, which runs from Sept. 16th-30th, and you could win your share of over US$275,000 worth of prizes, in either MANA (DCL’s cryptocurrency) or LAND (DCL’s 16 m by 16 m square plots of virtual land). Enter today!