Who Invented the Casino Crash Game Genre?

Crash games are a novel concept gaining popularity at regulated online casinos in the US. Players make a wager and watch their initial stake grow, deciding on the best moment to cash out before a crash causes them to lose their bet. Most attempts to innovate in the casino space fail, so it’s impressive that crash games have managed to stick around. But where did crash games start and who invented them?

DraftKings Rocket is probably the most notable example of a successful crash game in the legal US online casino market. It launched in September 2021.

DraftKings has most recently released a second game in the genre, NHL Slapshot. Mechanically, Slapshot and Rocket are very similar, but Slapshot has a more unconventional hockey theme, as the name suggests.

That said, the crash concept has been around much longer in the unregulated cryptocasino space. Bonus traced its origins to 2014 and a thread on the BitcoinTalk forums. Here’s a brief timeline of the genre.

2014 – MoneyPot Pioneers the Crash Concept

The original crash game went by the name MoneyPot and had its own website. It was the brainchild of Eric Springer, a Canadian developer and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Mexico at the time. So it’s Springer who holds the honor of having made this contribution to casino history.

That site is now a Bitcoin wallet – a different sort of crypto product – and the game has undergone a rebranding and at least two changes in ownership since then. Some of the game features have also changed, so it’s hard to call it the same game.

Most modern crash games feature flying themes. For instance, DraftKings Rocket has the player flying a rocket, obviously. Meanwhile, Rivalry’s 90’s nostalgia product Casino.exe includes a crash game for Ontario players called Aviator, which naturally features a plane.

However, MoneyPot didn’t involve literal crashes. It took its inspiration from the volatility of cryptocurrency itself. Trendy products in the crypto space tend to multiply rapidly in value until, one day, they go to zero very quickly. Those who get out in time get rich, while those who stick around too long lose everything.

Springer simply took that real-world trend and turned it into a game. The genre probably owes much of its success to the fact he was capturing a feeling crypto speculators were already seeking out with their investments.

2015 – MoneyPot Becomes Bustabit

The following year, Springer sold his game to another crypto community member, Ryan Havar. 

Havar changed its name to Bustabit and moved it to a new site, where it continues to operate to this day.

Under Havar’s ownership, Bustabit continued to function in the same way as MoneyPot. That included some rules not present in most modern crash games.

Most notable among these was a last-longer bonus. Crash games are multiplayer in the sense that multiple users bet on the same outcome and can see when other players cash out. Usually, there’s no interaction beyond this.

However, MoneyPot and Havar-era Bustabit also collected 1% from every player’s wager to create a bonus prize. This went to the last player to cash out successfully before the crash. That added a small skill element and made the crash genre a digital game of “chicken.”

2018 – Bustabit Changes Hands

Finally, Havar sold Bustabit to yet another crypto developer, Daniel Evans, who has operated it ever since.

Evans made a few changes to the game, including removing the bonus system. He also offered third-party investors the option to bankroll the game in return for a share of its profits.

More recently, crash games began to appear in the non-cryptocurrency casino space. The international market was quicker to adopt them than the US, with some sites like LeoVegas having entire categories dedicated to the games. DraftKings Rocket brought the genre to the US in 2021, and if the international popularity is any indication, we’re likely to see more sites introduce them in the near future.

About the Author

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon is an online gambling industry analyst with nearly ten years of experience. He currently serves as Casino News Managing Editor for Bonus.com, part of the Catena Media Network. Other gambling news sites he has contributed to include PlayUSA and Online Poker Report, and his writing has been cited in The Atlantic.
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