Seeing is believing, even in virtual reality. And what we’re seeing is so spectacular that our belief is slowly getting stronger. But are these first virtual reality games and handful of available VR casino sites enough to prove that virtual reality is the future of online gambling?
A quick shop around will reveal that right now, traditional online casinos have far superior offerings than virtual reality casinos. Will this change? Let’s take a virtual look together.
Since their conception, online casinos have always tried to mimic brick-and-mortar casinos. Gambling sites are riddled with pictures and illustrations of elements you would normally find inside a real-life casino, such as neon lights, slot machines, chips, playing cards and other things that instantly teleport you to a land-based casino you would find in Las Vegas.
Virtual Reality takes this simulation a step further.
Through the use of special equipment that creates a computer-generated environment, players are now able to experience an online casino in an immersive three-dimensional way, where you can interact with the synthetic world around you.
Okay, so you won’t be pushing real coins inside a slot machine, but you will be able to pull the levers and watch the reels spin. You can walk around the artificial casino that looks just like the real thing, with real-money slots and live tables, avatars of dealers and other casino players. You can hit the floor looking for a table, sit down, have a ‘real’ conversation with the other players’ avatars and place your bets, all from the comfort of your home.
VR headsets and touch controllers are the key that open the door into this virtual computer-generated world. Apart from that, there's also hardware, software and internet connection speed to consider.
For starters, you’ll definitely need a VR headset. There are plenty of models on the market, with prices currently ranging from $250 to $1,200. Oculus rift, which is now superseded by Oculus Quest 2 are an example of extremely popular VR headsets. These VR headsets (or VR goggles) use twin displays to ensure that the user’s eyes do not feel tired or strained after using the headset for a long time. These displays are the windows into the virtually created world where you’ll be playing VR slot machines or VR live casino games.
Straps make sure that the goggles are fitted tight to the face and a face cushion ensures there’s no light leakage while using the device. VR headsets come with built in headphones as well. Using head and motion tracking, the VR headsets enable the picture in front of your eyes to instantly move as you move your head.
Touch controllers communicate with your VR headset to track your hands in virtual space. They precisely recreate your hands, their gestures and interactions, enabling you to point at, grab, pick up, and interact with virtual objects. When you point your finger while holding the controller, the virtual finger of your avatar will perform the same gesture.
Your VR headset needs to be connected to a source with processing power. Although most modern VR headsets can be hooked up to a high-end smartphone, most suppliers will recommend using a computer, laptop or console with enough computing power to ensure a smooth VR experience.
Take a look at your VR headset guide to ensure that your hardware and software specs meet the minimum requirements and are able to handle the demand.
VR technology relies heavily on your internet connection, so your connection speed can significantly impact your gameplay.
With the metaverse becoming a ‘reality’, one might say that the future is already here. More and more people are buying VR equipment to explore the Metaverse. This means there’s a good chance they’ll go looking for a VR casino within this virtual world.
This is why many industry leaders are investing heavily in virtual reality platforms for gambling. They see an unprecedented opportunity, that of creating virtual spaces that let casino players interact socially while playing their favorite slots or live casino tables.
Perhaps a new mecca of gambling is being created right now, in a virtual reality that’s just a click away.
Gambling sites are investing in Virtual Reality platforms that support VR slots and table games, so it’s expected that very soon, the number of casinos offering virtual reality slots, live casino and table games will multiply quickly.
Regulating bodies, such as the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission have already started updating their licenses to incorporate virtual reality regulations.
One casino that is making a name in the industry as a pioneer of virtual reality gambling is SlotsMillion. This virtual reality gambling site was launched in 2014 and has embraced VR technology since the beginning. Here you have a selection of over a hundred VR slots which you can play for real money.
NetEnt has introduced a number of VR slots, among them Gonzo’s Quest VR, Jack and the Beanstalk, Miss Midas, Thunderstruck II, Twin Spin and Starburst.
Other games that are rapidly becoming popular among virtual reality players are VR versions of roulette and blackjack, although not all of them support real-money modes.
The awesomeness of playing a table game in a virtual reality casino is that if you’re playing casino VR poker, blackjack or roulette, you can use your avatar to interact with the dealer and the other players at the table, use your virtual hands to place virtual chips on the table, peek at your cards, and perform other functions just like you would in a real land-based casino.
Netent, Microgaming and Lucky VR are among the names that already have designed and released virtual reality casino games. These include virtual reality slots like Gonzo’s Quest VR, Twin Spin, Starburst, VR Roulette and VR Poker tables.
Microgaming’s innovative roulette VR table won the Digital Gaming Innovation at the Global Gaming Awards in 2015. Lucky VR (creator of the PokerStars VR poker game) is a modern software developer focused exclusively on developing virtual reality casino games.
The main limitation of virtual reality gambling is the cost to get you started – VR headsets are still quite expensive if you’re buying one just to try out a virtual reality casino game.
Will they become cheaper? Undoubtedly. Technology has made giant leaps in recent years, and gamers all over the world are buying VR headsets to keep abreast with the new virtual reality games that are becoming a trend right now.
According to Statista.com, in 2021, the reported global sales of VR headsets was a staggering 9.86 million units. The predictions for 2022 are that sales will reach 14 million units by the end of the year. This is a huge growth, and a very encouraging one for gambling sites investing in offering a VR casino product to their customers. Increased production numbers means that prices will go down, and the potential virtual reality casino players will increase.
Another limitation is the bulkiness of the VR unit itself. Playing your favourite online slot on your mobile is easy, and can be done from practically anywhere in the world. It’s definitely not the same with a VR goggles strapped to your face.
Keep in mind that to use a VR headset as it is designed to be used you will need an unobstructed area of at least 2 by 2 meters. Of course, if you don’t have such a luxury, you can still use VR Headsets in a stationary position, for example playing while seated or standing still. But where’s the fun in that?
Virtual reality is by design more immersive, for adults and children alike. And that raises a big challenge for regulators and operators. As regulations become better at ensuring that people with gambling problems do not fall prey to their addictions, developers and operators need to find ways to make their VR offerings safe for their customers.
The metaverse and virtual reality worlds offer escapism from the real world and escapism is an invisible enemy that is difficult to fight against. Existing virtual casinos are taking this into consideration so that their products are compliant with regulations even in the strictest regions like the UK and Sweden.
You’ve just unboxed your brand new VR headset and touch controllers, hooked them up to your laptop and are head over heels to try gambling in virtual reality. What do you do?
You have two options. Search for Metaverse worlds where you can get a sneak peek into what’s coming – there are already a handful of virtual worlds like the Sandbox Game and Decentraland that are exploring the concept of decentralised casinos inside the Metaverse. In the near future you will be able to play at these sites for real money using cryptocurrency. For now, you’ll be able to play some VR slots, VR roulette or VR blackjack just for fun.
If playing for real money is your only objective, SlotsMillion Casino is your go-to virtual place. Visit their website, download the SlotsMillion VR app. Create a new account and you’re done. You can now use your VR headset to enter the SlotsMillion VR casino on the 80th floor of a simulated skyscraper, with views of an awesome futuristic city right below you.
There are quite a few distinguishing features that separate vr casinos from traditional online casinos. We’ve put these in a list below:
Virtual reality makes online gambling much more immersive, fun and exciting. In fact, VR technology provides an experience which is closer to real-life land-based casinos more than ever before. It also enables game providers to come up with new concepts for new online slots that incorporate virtual reality elements.
There’s still the issues of high initial cost and tricky compliance risks, but all the signs indicate that the future does hold a place for gambling in virtual reality.
Colm Phelan has spent several years working in the iGaming industry and has plenty of experience when it comes to writing, researching and rigorously testing online casinos and sportsbooks. While Colm has invested a lot of his time into the digital marketing world but his other passions include poker and a variety of sports including golf, NFL and football.Read Full Bio