Macau gaming company Dragon Corp. is looking to raise half a billion dollars through an initial coin offering (ICO), in an effort to integrate blockchain technology into the world’s largest gambling market.
The tokens issued in the ICO would be utilized by VIP junket operators, which are middlemen who act as facilitators for the multi-billion dollar casinos, by offering credit on behalf of casino operators.
“This is the first time anybody has allowed the public to invest in a public junket or become a shareholder of a casino,” said Chakrit Ahmad, CEO of Wi Holding, the Thai-based company behind the blockchain technology. “You’re basically becoming a shareholder in a junket, utilizing blockchain technology, getting revenues from that, and plugging that back into the token.”
Ahmad said the money raised from the sale of digital tokens would go in part, to fund construction of the Dragon Pearl Casino Hotel, an ambitious 16,000 square meter, floating structure, scheduled to be deployed from Norway, where it is currently being built, to Macau by 2019.
The group also plans to develop a debit card or “social wallet” that holds the digital currency, so players can withdraw fiat currency from an ATM, Ahmad said.
“We basically provide liquidity via our own exchange, and also major exchanges in the world for the digital currency, so that token will be listed in multiple exchanges,” he said. “You can have a digital exchange in Hong Kong or in Thailand or elsewhere, and you can cash out.”
While the digital tokens won’t be issued until October 27, Ahmad said the group has already secured $265 million.
The use of cryptocurrencies in the gaming sector has largely been limited to online gambling until now. Dragon Corp. and Wi Holding are looking to bring the technology to casino floors, with junkets contributing more than half of Macau’s total casino revenues.