Many gamblers love smartphones because they deliver online casino action into the palm of your hand. But just as quickly as smartphone gambling has risen, it may soon be overtaken by something else: virtual reality gambling.
Virtual reality (VR) hasn’t spread to the consumer masses at the time of this post. But you don’t need to be Nostradamus to predict that this type of gambling will quickly grow once more consumers have VR headsets.
Grand View Research predicts that the VR gaming market will grow to $45 billion by 2025.
The cool thing is that you don’t have to wait until 2025 to start gambling in virtual reality. You can do it right now, because there are both headsets and VR casinos available.
That said, I’m going to cover 5 major reasons why you should gamble in virtual reality now, or at least in the near future.
1. The Graphics will be More Lifelike
Online casino graphics have come a long way since the industry’s beginning in the mid-1990s. And a large reason for the better graphics is the large-scale switch from 2D to 3D visuals.
3D graphics make casino games look far more realistic, especially with regard to online slots. Even still, 3D technology doesn’t put players close enough to a lifelike experience.
This is where VR technology becomes a huge asset, because the graphics and experience plunge players right into the middle of games.
No longer are you seeing the action through a screen. Instead, the headset immerses you into the game so it feels like you’re right there.
Beyond the visual effect, you’ll also experience lifelike movements. Here are some examples of this:
- Use hand/body gestures to play card games.
- Sounds feel closer, like they’re happening right next to you.
- Detailed casino atmosphere, with lobbies, casino floors, and/or bars.
- Slot machine cabinets that make it feel like you’re sitting at a real machine.
- Tables and seats that make it seem like you’re actually at the table.
2. The Casino Experience Is Like No Other
Nothing is more realistic than visiting a real brick-and-mortar casino. But virtual reality casinos and poker rooms get you as close to the real deal as possible.
One of the best examples is SlotsMillion casino, which takes you far beyond simply playing online casino games.
SlotsMillion’s casino lobby is located on the eightieth floor of a skyscraper, where you can look out the windows onto a futuristic city.
Another fun thing to do at this gaming site is visit the bar, where virtual drinks are available. Or you can even sit down on the couch and relax in between slots sessions.
Casino VR Poker is another pioneer in the virtual reality gambling space. Their play-money site features a detailed poker room complete with six Texas hold’em tables.
You can also look forward to voice chat and realistic players who move like real humans when picking up cards and placing bets. Casino VR Poker gives players the ability to move up the stakes and become a high roller.
You can expect much more to come in terms of experience when more sites launch.
As you may know, both land-based and online casinos are “gamifying” gambling to appeal to millennials. This means including elements that relate more to video games and/or a social experience.
Land-based casinos’ answer to solving the millennial puzzle involves adding extra gamification to classic forms of gambling like slot machines and blackjack. For example, a slot machine bonus round might take you to a second screen, where you use skill to shoot enemy invaders.
I guarantee that much of this gamification will be done in virtual reality when the latter becomes popular at the consumer level.
Let’s consider some of the possible examples that could come about when more companies enter the VR space:
- A VR casino offers a licensed James Bond game.
- You can choose to be 007, or various characters from Bond movies.
- You can play baccarat or poker against villains.
- You travel to exotic casino locations, like Monte Carlo and Macau.
- You’re playing a racing-themed slot machine.
- The game has a bonus round that’s triggered with three scatter symbols.
- The bonus round sees you enter a race.
- You use your hands to turn the wheel and your feet to accelerate and brake.
- You’re playing a Wild-West-themed slot machine.
- This game also has a second-screen bonus round.
- You’re given a gun and instructed to shoot as many outlaws as possible.
- You use your hands to aim the gun and pull the trigger.
These are just a few examples of what will be possible when more online casinos and software providers become VR compatible.
This means that any scenario you can think of will translate into cool virtual reality bonus rounds and games.
3. VR Gambling Is More Interactive
Online casinos have done a good job of making the experience more interactive. This is especially the case with live dealer casinos, where you’re playing brick-and-mortar card games through streaming technology.
But not even live dealer gaming matches what VR technology brings to the table.
I already covered how virtual reality gives you the ability to walk around casino settings and interact with the atmosphere. But VR gaming also gives you a better chance to chat with the dealer and other gamblers.
This is another side of virtual reality gambling that’s still in its infancy. But the obvious route that VR casinos and poker sites are going involves letting players mingle with each other.
I’ve seen this in webcam online poker rooms, where players make themselves visible through a cam. But there are three main problems with webcam poker:
- 1 – The cam only shows your face and shoulders.
- 2 – Most players stop using a webcam once the novelty effect wears off.
- 3 – Many players who want to be seen on cams are now streaming through Twitch.
This is where virtual reality differs, because you can see full bodies while playing. And while the players are animated, VR technology still gives you a different experience than webcam gambling.
As for interacting with dealers, many players love communicating with them through the chat-box feature. You can also see the dealer the entire time through a live stream.
The one drawback, though, is that you’re still looking at dealers through a smartphone, tablet, or laptop screen. Virtual reality takes you into the screen so that it feels like you’re sitting in front of the dealer.
One more point worth mentioning is that virtual reality gambling can help prepare you for the brick-and-mortar casino experience.
Many players are intimidated to join a blackjack or poker table because they don’t want to make mistakes.
And until virtual reality came out, it was hard to prepare yourself for this through online gaming. This is even true of live dealer casinos, since you can’t see other players.
VR casinos, on the other hand, allow you to get used to the voices and mannerisms of other players. This is the closest thing to actually gambling in a table game.
The more time you spend at virtual reality tables, the better equipped you’ll be to handle a real brick-and-mortar casino environment.
4. Virtual Reality Gambling Is the Future – So Get Ahead of the Curve Now
According to a 2016 study by Juniper, virtual reality gambling should increase to $520 million by 2021. This is an 800% increase dating back to 2016.
The biggest reason for the big jump is that more headsets and accessories will be sold within the next few years. Juniper values this market at $5 billion by 2021.
That said, it’s no wonder why major tech companies like Facebook (Oculus Rift headset), Google (Daydream), and Samsung (Gear VR) are dumping millions into the market. Given the giants entering this space, it’s only a matter of time before virtual reality becomes more popular on a consumer level.
Currently, VR casinos are doing their best to create a realistic land-based gambling experience. And this figures to draw a large number of gamblers on its own.
Imagine yourself playing blackjack at a seaside resort, where the waves are crashing just below you. Or picture yourself sitting at a private poker table in a Las Vegas penthouse.
Based on the potential of VR technology, it’s only a matter of time before more gamblers are joining the virtual reality party. But the good news is that you can already enjoy some unique experiences now.
And if you start playing virtual reality casino games right away, you’ll get to see how the industry grows and changes over the next several years.
5. You Can Use VR Headsets for Many Other Purposes
While I’m most excited about what virtual reality is doing for gambling, there are also a number of other entertaining experiences you can have with a VR headset. This is especially important if you’re on the fence about buying an expensive device just for gambling purposes.
One of the coolest experiences I’ve seen is the ability to go skydiving. This gives you a chance to experience exactly what skydiving feels like – without the potential danger.
If you enjoy first-person shooter video games, then you’re going to love how they’re presented in virtual reality. One game called Bullet Train takes you into a lifelike train station, where you blast thugs that are terrorizing people.
You can also visit theme parks and ride roller coasters while sitting on your couch. No Limits 2 is one of these simulators, and it lets you pick different roller coasters to ride through a first-person view.
Of course, virtual reality is used for more than entertainment.
One practical use is the ability to see how a home or building will look before it’s actually built. The NBA’s Sacramento Kings used a program called Arch Virtual to see how their Golden 1 Center arena would look before completion.
Another helpful use is virtual real estate, where you can take virtual home and apartment tours without leaving the house.
Here are some other uses and experiences that a VR headset provides:
- Simulator where you can fly like a bird
- Plane flight simulator
- Extreme mountain biking
- Tour college campuses virtually
- Make art in virtual reality
- See shows like Cirque du Soleil
- Watch movies on a 60-inch screen (projection from headset)
- Virtual racing
- Virtual skiing
- Virtual surfing
Downsides to Virtual Reality Gambling
Not everything is perfect with VR gambling. In fact, there are some definite drawbacks to consider before you join the virtual reality gambling world.
Here are three downsides that you should be aware of going into VR gaming:
1. Not Many VR Gambling Options Are Available Right Now
Virtual reality technology has been around since the 1960s. But it wasn’t until the major advances in mobile technology–much of which corresponds with VR–that this service has become realistic.
VR is in its infancy on a consumer level. And it should be no surprise that there are few virtual reality gaming options beyond SlotsMillion and Casino VR Poker.
Even SlotsMillion, which is considered the best in virtual casino gambling right now, has its limitations. This site features just over forty VR slots and zero table games, which doesn’t give gamblers much variety.
The lack of options will change greatly over the next few years. But right now, virtual reality gambling just doesn’t have a lot to offer.
This is true in terms of unique features, too, including the elaborate backgrounds and settings we’ve discussed. While VR gambling has a lot of potential, it’s largely untapped at this point.
2. Gaming Headsets Are Expensive
Virtual reality is still in its early adopter phase, because the average consumer isn’t buying this technology right now. A major reason why is because people are unwilling to spend several hundred dollars on something that’s not yet popular.
Oculus Rift, the premier gaming headset due to its computing power, costs $399. While this is roughly the same price as a new video game system, the problem is that people aren’t used to playing VR games like they are consoles.
Add in the fact that Oculus Rift needs to be powered by a PC, and this isn’t the handiest device, either.
Google Daydream ($99) and Gear VR ($40) are much cheaper options, and they work with smartphones. But the problem is that neither of these devices is currently compatible with virtual reality gambling sites.
Headset sales figure to skyrocket in the near future. And this could help bring down costs on gaming-centric headsets like Oculus Rift.
3. You Can Get Lost in the Experience for Hours
Much has been made about how addictive modern online slots can be. Casinos use aspects like partial payouts and fun bonus rounds to keep people playing longer.
The good news is that many gamblers have adapted to these aspects and become good at bankroll management. But VR gambling figures to present a new problem with regard to managing your bankroll and gambling time.
The chief problem is that virtual reality creates such a realistic experience that you may get lost in games for hours. And when it comes to gambling, this means that you’ll be betting more money.
VR isn’t some fad that may or may not become prevalent in online gambling’s future. Instead, virtual reality is the future and will soon play a large part in the gaming world.
The only question is how many years until it’ll be before VR gambling takes off like mobile gaming has. Many studies conclude that this should happen within the next few years.
You can either get a start on this future now, or wait until headset prices drop and more consumers are using these products. But regardless of when, it’s likely that you’ll be gambling through a headset soon.