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Bitcoin now accepted at two Las Vegas casino hotels, but you still need US dollars to gamble

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FLICKR (MISS SHARI) Golden Gate Casino Las Vegas
FLICKR (MISS SHARI) Golden Gate Casino Las Vegas

You can now fund a Vegas trip with bitcoins. Two casino hotels in Las Vegas' old Downtown are now accepting the cryptocurrency — but there's a big caveat. Your bitcoins will only be welcome at the front desks of both The Golden Gate and The D hotels, as well a few locations around the properties. Significantly, that means Bitcoin will not be accepted at casino tables, and there will be no way to gamble with the virtual currency. Instead, it seems that bitcoins are limited to paying for hotel rooms and a few meals and gifts. Gambling itself is highly regulated and A.G. Burnett, the chairman of Nevada's Gaming Control Board, tells the Associated Press that it's unlikely that Bitcoin would be approved anytime soon. He added, "We would have to have an extremely high level of comfort with virtual currency of this kind in order for that to ever occur."

Nevertheless, the decision to accept Bitcoin for hotel stays makes The Golden Gate and The D new entrants to a relatively tiny club of places around the world that will offer accommodations in exchange for the cryptocurrency. Currently, travelers looking to use Bitcoin largely rely on travel agencies that accept the currency.

The two Las Vegas casino hotels have the same owners, and they're located on Las Vegas' Fremont Street, the traditional downtown of the city. The street is only a few blocks from the area that Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has been working on rejuvinating and turning into a hub of activity for tech startups. A co-owner of the two hotels says in a press release that they decided to accept Bitcoin after "several" customers asked about it, but it seems like the move — following on the heels of news that online retailer now takes payments in Bitcoin — is designed more to stir up positive news coverage than to truly embrace the virtual currency. Like, the two hotels will immediately convert Bitcoin payments into US Dollars, as the value of the cryptocurrency fluctuates far too wildly for most anyone other than speculators and investors.