Innovation. It is what sets the “haves and have-nots” apart in today’s everchanging society. Looking ahead, the legal global betting industry has its eyes set on Virtual Reality and just how to tie in the exciting “real-life” experience into casinos’ overall wagering experience. Analysts predict that bets made through VR gambling will reach nearly $520 billion by 2021 which represents an astounding 800% increase over what we are seeing in today’s market.
Competition in the legal gambling space has been fierce since the US Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to overturn the ban on sports betting outside of Nevada. With that competition comes the intense focus on customer acquisition and retention. You can bet that the first major casino provider to launch a virtual reality platform will instantly gain a competitive edge and will see a rush of new customers eager to take advantage of the very latest in digital technology.
The race is officially on.
What is Virtual Reality or VR?
Virtual Reality, for those who aren’t familiar is a computer-generated technology that allows people to shut out the outside world, don VR headsets that immerse them into incredibly realistic scenarios. It represents “the next best thing to actually being ‘there’”.
VR will allow users to put themselves, virtually, in the middle of all of the action, whether it is the crowd at a game, sitting around the poker table or even walking down the Strip in order to gain the full Vegas experience. It aims to give users a full sensory experience, and allows them to interact with a desired environment with the aid of their own movements and control.
VR aims to transport their users into a different dimension like the ones developed for iGaming platforms and unique environments like casino floors.
Client engagement is the focus of any casino. The better the experience, the better the return for casinos around the world. While sign-up bonusses and promotions will still be a large part of the engagement philosophy, cutting edge technology is gaining popularity as casinos attempt to one-up each other going forward.
The more realistic a casino experience from home is, the more likely a bettor will visit and spend in a participating casino. Casino operators are betting on customers immersing themselves into a unique Vegas-style experience and engaging in all that casinos, online or retail, has to offer.
VR social areas and bars already exist to some extent but technological advances in this area are improving exponentially seemingly every day. Soon, books will not only offer iGaming VR opportunities, but they will also offer chances for their clients to attend Vegas shows, concerts and all the intangibles that make a trip to a high-end casino special.
Where will VR be Most Effective for Casino Operators
Simply put… everywhere. Players are already able to play in a 3D environment with the ability to compete against each other, just like in real-life casinos. Poker has been identified as the first step toward a VR/casino marriage. Replicating the tense action, the tells of competing players and the overall excitement of the game is something that casinos have already explored with varying success.
Mega Particle Inc. was first on the board with their development of a VR poker platform in 2017. It allows players to replicate body movements and conversational aspects of the immensely social game.
PokerStars has their own brand of Poker VR. It, like Mega Particle allows users to create their own avatar and create an eerily realistic scene in order to read other players’ movements and tells at the table. With the PokerStars platform, users are able to sip from a beverage at the table and even light up a smoke while enjoying the action at the table.
Companies like DataArt are already providing vast VR solution-oriented consulting to Betting and Gaming companies and boast the ability to bring their solutions to market quickly. Their granular focus is what could make VR a game-changer sooner than later.
It Won’t Take Much on the Bettors’ End
The prices of VR devices and accessories are dropping day by day. VR Headsets are widely available already and most can be used with any PC or mobile device.
Linking technology with people’s attainable technological home devices is increasingly in the works and should be widely available to consumers at a decent price in the not-too-distant future. VR providers are hoping that this brand of gaming, with the technological advances and ability to access from home will become an industry standard going forward.
VR is Coming… and it is Coming Fast
The legal betting goldrush and the rash of new and existing providers has made it incumbent on providers to build and maintain a solid client-base. Money is being splashed around legal betting like never before.
VR is here to stay – it is both the present and the future of the gambling industry. With technology moving at the rate it is, immersing players into a VR world is becoming easier and more important by the day. VR will be the standard by which all casinos and sportsbooks strive for if it isn’t already. It won’t be long before a quality VR platform defines success in the casino business.