Are VR Casinos the Future?

Anyone searching for one of the biggest business success stories of the late 20th and early 21st centuries need look no further than the online casino sector. From a standing start in the 1990s, its grown to be worth over $90 billion dollars a year worldwide.

A number of factors have played a part in its phenomenal growth. One of the most important of these has been the ever-increasing accessibility of the internet, hand in hand with developments to technology too.

Currently, a great deal of the sector’s growth is coming from the US with more and more states staring to legalize online casinos, at least for those who are playing from within state boundaries.

For a prime example of this, you only need to take a look at the legal betting sites in Michigan, just like here with OLBG. The numbers seem to proliferate almost weekly and the revenue the state generates is huge. In 2021, this amounted to over £1.1 billion and contributed over $200 million in tax revenue to the state finances. Players also receive huge funds in winnings and bonuses, which you could check at to find an offer that matches you. 

The Future

As a sector, much of its growth has been down to a desire to constantly innovate and surprise. So, it’s hardly surprising that it is now looking to the fast-emerging world of virtual reality to power its next great leap forward.

Tech watchers will know that virtual reality has been in existence for several decades, but it’s seeming like it’s only now truly hitting the mainstream.

Like all technological breakthroughs, it has been waiting for sufficient momentum to develop before starting to reach its full potential. Expensive hardware in the form of VR headsets and only limited interest from developers in using it for commercial purposes have been the stumbling blocks. But now that is all changing.

There are a number of affordable headsets now widely available and many video game developers have already released VR versions of their games including Grand Theft Auto, Doom and Minecraft.

And, where video games developers go, online casino operators are destined to soon follow.

Although any are yet to appear, the word is that many of the biggest names in the online casino world are hard at work developing VR versions.

The motivation for this is simple: the striving for realism. Ever since the first online casinos started to appear in the 1990s, there has been a drive to make the playing experience as close as possible to a real casino.

One of the biggest breakthroughs of recent times has been the arrival of the “live” casino. This involves the streaming of a real game, generally roulette, blackjack or baccarat, to a player’s PC or mobile device. A dealer runs the game in real time and the game information is digitised to allow it to be played online. For extra realism, players can also chat with the dealer as they play.

The live casino has proved to be a huge success amongst players, but VR looks set to overtake in the long term. That’s because players won’t just be able to watch the action unfold on screen, they will be able to immerse themselves, right in the heart of it. 

There will be the potential to play in the casino of their choice. This might be in the stylish and elegant surroundings of somewhere like the Casino de Monte Carlo or the brasher and more vibrant ambience of a Caesars Palace-style Las Vegas resort. To take the concept even further, players might be able to get together with friends, in avatar form, to make it a shared experience.

Then there are the games themselves. Slots are undoubtedly the most popular of these, accounting for the largest share of any casino’s revenue. They also come with many themes, from exploring the treasures of Ancient Rome and Egypt to looking for gold at the end of the rainbow.

Virtual reality could plunge players right into the middle of these imaginary worlds, almost like a film set. Part of the pleasure of playing in a real casino is having the ability to move around the tables from one game to another. In a VR casino this is something that would become all too possible and easy to do.

Then there’s the metaverse to consider. A great deal has been written and said about this recently with the key idea being that our virtual and real worlds can soon be fully integrated.

One example of how this could mesh with the VR casino is in also including elements like the big shows that attract so many people to Vegas. So, players could leave the virtual casino for a while to catch a favourite performer in a virtual concert.

It might all sound like science fiction at the moment. But, with the drive, commitment and investment of the online casino operators, don’t be surprised if it also soon becomes science fact. 

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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