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Rise and Impact of VR Casinos in the iGaming Industry

For the last few years - at least, dating back to the turn of the decade, the iGaming industry has been on the edge of major change - at least technologically and from the perspective of significant evolution.

The rate at which technology has advanced over the last two decades alone has been considerable, with many of these developments being utilized in and benefitting the online gambling industry.

Integration has been a fundamental part of technological progress over the years, with the iGaming sector often being one of the latter industries to integrate it into the product. While live betting was a standalone; this effectively used a similar technology to that of financial trading platforms.

Meanwhile, the growth of the fintech sector led to many more payment solutions being developed, with online gambling sites eventually then deciding to integrate these as deposit and withdrawal options to give customers more variety.

The emergence of blockchain subsequently led to not only some online gambling sites integrating cryptocurrency deposit and withdrawal functions but also the development of standalone cryptocurrency casinos utilizing blockchain technology.

Over the last couple of years, there have been steady improvements in other areas, such as gamification, which is anticipated to be primed for major growth, while the forecasted rise of Virtual Reality casinos is another prediction.

Virtual Reality casinos

What Is VR and How Can It Be Applied in iGaming?

Essentially, VR (Virtual Reality) is an immersive multimedia that conveys computer-simulated reality, with the intention to accurately as possible, replicate real or imagined surroundings.

The technology can be used for many different industries with multiple applications; however, it is fast emerging as being recognized as one for the medium to long-term future in the online gambling industry.

Integrating VR with iGaming is not at all beyond the stretch of the imagination, bringing to life an authentic gambling experience for users. When the live dealer concept was introduced to the industry, this was a significant hit with customers, who were craving the authentic feel of brick-and-mortar casinos from the comfort of their own surroundings.

It is anticipated that VR will take this a few steps further, with customers being able to feel as if they are in an actual casino and immerse themselves in the various games. Certainly, the table games element is easy to imagine, while it is also possible that the live dealer integration might be incorporated with this as well.

Where it becomes more woolly guesswork is predicting how the actual VR casino slot machines might work and whether customers are able to essentially feel that they are inside the slot. Another school of thought is the particular slot is displayed as actually being in a casino and customers walk up to it and start playing.

What is likely to happen is that there will be standalone VR online casinos that especially integrate this technology for the purposes of creating a more seamless experience that is dedicated to players who wish to enjoy this.

It could well be the case that some sites are specific to a particular casino game, such as poker or blackjack, which might make the development less difficult while also speeding up the launch to market date.

The buzz around VR in the gambling industry is, for now at least, tempered, with the majority of players perhaps not realizing the potential and possibilities that may arise from this. As such, it will be interesting to see what the initial response will be and what the statistics may reveal after a few years.

Role of VR and AR in Revolutionizing Online Gambling

Many people are perhaps not too aware of the differences between VR and AR (Augmented Reality), though the two closely relate and, in most cases, complement each other.

Indeed, in terms of the online gambling industry in this case and the purpose of VR gambling sites, these would unlikely be possible without the application of AR. That is because it is a technology that combines the virtual and real world, thus making the whole experience possible.

As such, it means that players can use their smartphones or other devices to utilize virtual objects and games that can be found or associated with physical objects. Because of this, players can enjoy a more wholesome experience of both the real and virtual worlds.

Enriching a player’s online gambling experience has for years been a priority of many organizations in the industry, and, no doubt, this will be the latest arms race. Integrating AR with VR is no doubt a masterstroke that is likely to add considerable value.

The Emergence of VR-Centric Gaming Providers in Online Casinos

Just in the same way that some software providers began to focus more on products related to live casinos following the development of this technology than traditional casino games, it could well be that they do the same here if VR casinos and their products prove to be popular.

We may even see a specialist VR software provider emerge in the industry, in the same way that Evolution Gaming became the undisputed leader in live casino products, even creating their own unique products.

Over the last few years, we have seen an explosion in the number of online gambling software providers, many of which have been able to differentiate from their competitors by essentially creating their own micro-niche, such as creating specific types of games in a certain way.

This certainly suggests that the same thing could happen in this case, and we could see at least one move in the VR niche forward by creating types of products that take the technology to new heights.

Could VR Casinos Contribute to Increased Industry Profitability?

Because of the increased experience levels that the application of VR technology provides, there could be an argument to suggest that this could contribute to an overall greater top line in the industry.

With players being more immersed than ever before and gaining the benefits of an almost real-life casino experience, it could well be that they become more tempted to wager bigger amounts for longer than they usually would.

It is often the case in land-based casinos; players find it hard to walk away from the tables because that would essentially mean that they have to leave the casino and find something else to do or somewhere else to go.

Gamblers playing at VR casinos could seem themselves encounter a similar scenario, especially if they become so immersed that they believe they are in a real casino.

One factor that is likely to influence this is the particular market, and it will be interesting to see how different ones respond to VR casinos. The UK gambling market could certainly (at least at first) be the largest, with it being one of the oldest regulated markets in the industry.

Meanwhile, the US is predicted to become the largest in the world over the next few years, and having only just launched live casino products in numerous states, which have proven to be a big hit, this could prove to be a positive sign for the growth of the VR casino niche.

Gamblers playing at VR casinos

VR Gambling’s Impact on Land-Based Casinos

Following the launch of online casinos over 20 years ago, there was a sudden decline in the number of visitors to land-based establishments, and this is a trend that has continued over the years.

There were many benefits that online casinos offered, not least of which was convenience and the ability for players to gamble from the comfort of their chosen environment. This only increased after the improved development of mobile technology, which saw the introduction of smartphones to the market.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen customers flock back into land-based casinos (especially in the US), with many resorts offering numerous incentives in addition to having modernized and renovated their establishments. However, as VR casinos become more widespread and due to the fact that these will likely offer the most realistic gaming experience than any other product in history, it may lead to more land-based casinos being affected.

One way that land-based establishments may be able to stay in the game is by developing and launching a VR version of their own casino that customers can use from the comfort of their own surroundings.

Could Traditional Forms of iGaming Keep Up?

There will be a number of variables that affect this, and there isn’t necessarily a correct answer. Everyone is different and has their own tastes, and this is the same with their gambling preferences. Some people also don’t like change. However, the temptation to experience VR for some, may be too strong.

Ultimately, marketing will be key to whether VR casinos are a success, which will also determine the number of users. As a result, instead of overtaking traditional forms of gambling, it is more likely that VR casinos may compete with the more mainstream online gambling brands (or forms of gambling).

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