International Game Technology PLC makes slot machines — more than any other company on the globe. And progress protected by patents can make sure they stay ahead of competitors.
The company produces games with household names like Wheel of Fortune, and they’ll soon be looking to grow their own fortune by allowing players to use Bitcoin on their machines.
Popular with younger gamblers who comprise up to a third of floor traffic at places like Ceaser’s Palace, the value of Bitcoin has rocketed to an over 800% increase in value since March, at times peaking over $36,000 per unit.
Previously, such cryptocurrencies had to be transferred with specialized ATMs onto a card, which could then be used on the machines. But a ruling by the Nevada Gaming Commission opened the doors for machines to accept funds directly.
The game company wasted little time capitalizing on the potential. They earned a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a machine that draws money directly from smartphones linked to wallet apps.
And being the first to market can be essential for any business. Here, every step removed between money and machine can increase the flow of the highly valued cryptocurrency. Now other companies will have to find another way to directly accept the same digital payments.
Developing technology can be essential for driving success, but it takes patents to stay on course. While others will create new paths along the way, the lion’s share of the market will go to the innovators at the outset.