If you thought you knew what to expect from an online casino, it’s time to think again. The power of VR is now taking everything you thought you knew about online casinos and turning it on its head! The latest virtual reality casinos are interactive, immersive experiences which won’t fail to impress even the most hardened gambler. While online gambling websites and social gaming have built up a loyal customer base over the past ten years or so, virtual reality casinos look set to siphon off gamblers and gamers alike from both 3D and 2D gambling platforms.
While it might be a little premature at the moment to say that VR casinos are disrupting the status quo on the online gambling front, it’s clear that the latest gaming technology is blowing the old gaming experience out of the water. From luxurious and expansive casinos which players can experience in an immersive three-dimensional environment to multiplayer gameplay with a high interactivity level, VR casinos could soon replace the Vegas experience.
In this article, written in partnership with BetMGM, we take a closer look at this exciting new technology that looks set to attract around $500 billion of bets by 2021.
Virtual Reality Casinos: The future of Online Gambling?
How to visit VR casinos?
What VR headset to use to play in VR?
The future of VR casinos?
What devices can you use in VR casinos apart from VR headsets
Is VR Set To Revolutionize In Online Casinos?
Back in the 1990s we saw the origins of online real money gambling. Game designers first introduced casino table games to an online market. While those early offerings were pretty basic, they set the scene for exciting developments in the field. Since those humble beginnings, the scope and breadth of online real-money gaming has exponentially increased, not least due to the arrival of affordable smartphones, and the numbers of punters have also grown in tandem. Now, VR headsets are becoming integrated into the world of video gaming, and it only seems to be a matter of time before VR casinos take over from the real thing.
The big selling point of VR is that it can remove you from the everyday and take you to a brand new virtual environment where you can experience a completely different reality. Video gamers have been exploring the potential of virtual reality for several years now, so it isn’t too hard to see why the online gambling industry are now running with the idea.
Thanks to the latest developments in virtual reality hardware and software, a VR casino can go far beyond a basic three dimensional interface. Instead, it can take punters directly to the gaming floor of a casino. By simply wearing a VR headset and using a compatible gaming platform, users are able to participate in an interactive and lifelike casino experience, engaging with other players and placing wagers all in real time.
It’s no wonder that VR casinos are being seen as such an exciting development. They can offer players such a broad and varied experience. Some of the things they can offer include:
- Casino gaming rooms in intimate detail which punters are able to explore and walk through in immersive 3D
- Realistic slots
- Three dimensional table games which allow players to choose a seat, engage with players and interact with a live dealer
- The chance to see body and hand gestures of other punters and to ability to display their own
- Authentic casino sounds with three dimensional spatial aspects
- In-game chat
There is even the opportunity for players to sit in the casino lounge or bar, enjoying real-time chat with other players. It’s an amazingly lifelike experience that can rival anything the real world has to offer.
The first online casino to adopt this new technology was SlotsMillion back in 2015. Providing a fully immersive gambling experience, SlotsMillion allows players to explore a virtual casino environment and experience the realistic sensation of actually playing in the most cutting-edge slot games. Moves are also being made towards developing VR poker rooms as developers begin to recognize the full potential that a blend of online gambling and VR can offer.
Social games like poker and craps can become even more exciting and engaging when they’re enhanced with VR. Meanwhile, sports betting becomes doubly exciting when you can place your wager and then attend the event virtually via a VR headset. It’s easy to see why developers are now working hard to push the boundaries of technology’s limits to make those dreams a reality.
VR casinos represent one of the most cutting-edge gambling developments in recent times. If you play at a virtual reality casino, you can become fully immersed in the sounds and sights of the gaming floor but without the inconvenience of having to leave the house.
Although online casinos have been around for a long time, the experience that they offered wasn’t truly appealing to the most experienced and passionate gamblers. They couldn’t offer the similar level of immersion that heading to Vegas could deliver. Watching a two dimensional roulette wheel spinning around or spinning a flat and unattractive slot simply couldn’t cut it for those who were more used to the excitement and involvement of the real thing. Even the most up to date online casinos don’t satisfy hardcore punters. That’s where VR casinos can breach the gap. By recreating an authentic and genuine real world casino feel, they can appeal to even the most hard to please gambler and offer an experience which is as close as possible to the real thing.
The idea of applying VR to gaming is nothing new. In fact during the 1990s, both VFX1 and Nintendo dabbled with the creation of virtual reality headsets for an augmented gaming experience. However both of their offerings failed to meet expectations due to the poor quality of the 1990s technology which couldn’t make the vision become reality.
All of that has changed now. Hardware and software developers are encountering no issues of this nature since technology has now progressed sufficiently to make convincing virtual reality accessible to the masses, and, with that technology, the possibility of the virtual casino. By creating a fully 3D, digitally rendered VR casino, players can enjoy the authentic feel of being in a real world establishment while sitting at home wearing a VR headset.
However, for those who are keen to take advantage of the possibilities that virtual casinos can provide, it can be difficult to know where to go to visit one. While there are plenty of apps and websites online today which enable punters to play all of their favorite casino games through their laptop, PC or smartphone, it’s harder to find a virtual casino which allows you to enjoy the fully immersive experience.
While developers are excited by the possibilities of VR gambling, only a handful of VR casinos currently exist. While many more are set to appear on the horizon in the future, there are very limited options available at the present time.
SlotsMillion is a pioneer in this field, having designed a glamorous casino with impressive views both outside and in. Outside the building, you can see a stunning night view of a metropolis while inside, the gaming floor is everything that you’d expect of a high-quality establishment. Developed by Lucky VR, SlotsMillion represents the current peak of VR casino innovation. You won’t find any card games unfortunately, but there are plenty of slots (over 40 of them) as well as a gaming floor which is virtually indistinguishable from the genuine article.
Set on the 80th floor of a skyscraper in a futuristic cityscape, this VR casino allows players to look at the panoramas, sit at the bar or relax on one of the lounge couches when they’re not gaming. Even better, SlotsMillion is a real money casino, so for those who live in areas where gambling is legalized, they can enjoy all of the thrill of placing a cash wager. There’s even customer support available 24/7 to ensure that every punter enjoys their gameplay to the max. Players can use the Oculus Rift to access SlotsMillion and to have a fully immersive three dimensional experience.
For those who prefer table games, however, there is another option – Casino VR Poker. Created in Switzerland, this VR casino features a detailed interface complete with realistic players. Punters visiting this VR establishment can play at one of six Texas Hold’Em tables and chat with other players thanks to the spatial voice chatting functions. Those who own wither a Gear VR or Oculus Rift headset can access this title however it’s important to note that the Gear VR experience isn’t quite as animated as that offered by the Rift.
The big downside of this VR casino is that it’s for entertainment only. You can’t win real money here – instead you’re gifted with free chips when you begin your gameplay and can then win more or buy more in the app. Even if you win a jackpot you can’t cash in your chips for real money. Every table offers a different buy-in level and, also like the genuine thing, players who have a higher level of skill stand a better chance of winning. If you’re a keen punter who wants to practice your skills before hitting a bricks and mortar establishment, this could be a great option for you, but for those who want to scoop a real cash win, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Of course, a major part of visiting a VR casino revolves around having a strong internet connection. The good news, however, is that VR casinos are usually pretty accessible even to those whose connection speed is less than stellar. While VR casino experiences do rely heavily on high-res images, the framerate at which they’re displayed is higher than that used in regular video games and, as a result, latency stays low for a smooth experience. You’ll find you can freely move your head amount and experience the full virtual casino environment with no lag at all.
Until relatively recently, virtual reality technology was expensive and out of the reach of average consumers. However, times have changed very rapidly. Today, devices such as the HTC Vive, Samsung Gear and Oculus Rift are commonly seen in homes around the country, and indeed, all over the world. The technology is now affordable to most and it seems clear that VR isn’t just a fad but a trend that’s set to stay and grow stronger with time. The technology used to support VR is improving year on year, and more advanced headsets are being developed all the time. So, which VR headset is the best choice for online VR casino gaming?
If punters are going to enjoy the VR gambling experience, they need to not only have a powerful laptop or computer but also a suitable VR headset. There are many different options on the market today, and since they can still be quite costly, it’s important to research which one is the best choice for you before making the investment.
First you need to decide which kind of games you’re planning on playing. Will you only be using your headset for visiting VR casinos or will you be playing other games and enjoying other virtual reality experiences too? You’ll also need to consider the headset specs since not all are compatible with every computer. Some of the available options to consider include:
- The Oculus Rift – this is arguably the top choice of VR headset on the market today. With its excellent reviews and many satisfied users, it’s a great choice for visiting VR casinos. It also comes with 6 games built in including Medium, Quill, Lucky’s Tale, Robo Recall, Toybox and Dead and Buried. Buyers receive touch controllers along with the headset but there is a downside to this purchase. The gamine experience offered to players is a tethered one. This means that you need to be connected to your PC at all times. This restricts your movement somewhat when compared with some of the other headsets on the market today. However, on the upside, it’s quite lightweight and comfortable to wear, even for players who need to wear glasses.
- The HTC Vive – rivalling the Rift in terms of quality, the HTC Vive is its closest competitor but it also comes at a higher cost, although the motion controllers are included in the price. The experience offered here is also a tethered one which again restricts your movement and the set up process isn’t the easiest, but the experience you can enjoy is pretty impressive in terms of realism.
- The Samsung Gear – the Gear is another option when it comes to accessing VR casinos however it doesn’t offer the best user experience. With its Android driven hardware, the graphics are less impressive and the whole experience is less immersive. However, the price is more affordable
- The Google Daydream – if you’re looking for an affordable controller and VR headset package, the Google Daydream is a possibility. Designed to function in tandem with an Android smartphone it offers a less than stellar experience when compared with the leaders like the Vive and the Rift, however it’s a more accessible option for those on a budget. While it isn’t officially compatible with today’s limited VR casinos, Casino VR Poker is currently experimenting with it and in the future it seems likely that it will be embraced as another compatible option for VR casino gaming.
In fact, you don’t actually have to have a VR headset to physically play at a VR casino. You could always access the gaming floor by just using the Windows version of the software. However, what would be the point in that? You’d only be served with a three dimension version of the gaming platform which is no different from any other online casino. Without the fun and realism of the immersive virtual experience, there would be little point in accessing the casino without a quality headset.
Casinos are nothing new. In fact, the first bricks and mortar establishment was first set up in Italy during the 17th century. The Casino di Venezia as it was known set a high standard for other casinos, which were all based on its model. Its basic layout shaped not only how future real world casinos were set up, but also online casinos and, more recently, VR casinos too.
Of course, bricks and mortar casinos were the only option for centuries, and they proved to be very popular. Cities like Atlantic City and Las Vegas became famous for the gambling opportunities they provided and the glamorous casinos that could be found there. Many cities all over the world had at least one casino providing for the needs of local punters, and even in spots where gambling was illegal there were rumors of underground gambling dens to cater for the wagering habits of local players.
However, during the 1990s, the internet took off in a big way and it was only ever going to be a matter of time before developers cashed in on the possibilities of using the world wide web for online gambling. The earliest online casinos may not have been fancy, but they did fill a gap for many players who wanted to indulge their gambling passions but who had no convenient local casino or simply couldn’t get out of the house to place a bet. As online casino software became more impressive and the options increased, more players began to jump onboard. They were attracted by the benefit of playing from their sofa without ever having to leave their homes, and when smartphone gambling was introduced, even more punters recognized the potential of being able to play from their device at any time and in any location.
Virtual reality casino gameplay was always going to be the next logical step, and now that the technology has reached a suitably advanced stage, it’s no surprise that land based casinos have already seized the opportunity to release VR experiences for players inside their own establishments. One example is the Orleans Virtual Zone – an in-casino VR experience which allows punters to battle each other and win prizes. Zero Latency at the MGM Grand is another in-casino VR experience which encompasses an impressive 450 square feet and offers full motion immersion.
Yet these in-casino VR experiences can’t compete with the convenience and thrill of being able to access an actual full-scale virtual casino from the comfort of your own home simply buy wearing a headset. This is the experience that is now possible thanks to VR casinos like SlotsMillion, and current player numbers indicate that there is a strong demand which is only set to grow as technology advances still further and the offerings become more widespread and varied.
At the moment, it may sound far fetched to say that VR casinos are the future of online gambling, especially since there are limited options at the moment for those who are keen to take advantage of the experience. However, with the advances that are being made in technology and the speed of take up which virtual reality has seen among the gaming world, it isn’t too unrealistic to say that VR casinos are the way that things are going to go.
Currently, bricks and mortar casinos are working hard to improve their offerings and to compete with the accessibility of online casinos. After all, real world establishments simply can’t compete in terms of breadth of games, convenience and bonus deals for players. However, online casinos can’t rest on their laurels either. A new generation of gamers are now turning to gambling as the next logical step, and they’re hungry for a much more interactive and exciting experience than any simple online casino can provide. Non-traditional casinos are set to the be the way forward and that opens up a world of potential for developers of VR casinos. After all, who wouldn’t want to play poker under the sea or spin the roulette wheel in space?
Already, casinos in the US have begun to make investments in virtual reality gaming platforms which can be played by punters in their establishments. It could only be a matter of time before they consider developing their own virtual reality casinos, perhaps as replicas of their own bricks and mortar establishments. And it’s easy to see why real world casinos might want to consider making this leap into the world of virtual gambling. After all, VR casinos offer a host of benefits.
For a start, the online experience is fully immersive and is hard to beat. The sounds, atmosphere and sights have all been designed carefully to enjoy the player’s maximum enjoyment. Not only that, but it’s possible to play alongside or against other punters in real time. You can even look directly at the other player and communicate with them, just as if you were both at the gaming table in the real world. Not only can you interact with other players, you can engage with a live dealer too in VR casinos thanks to the voice chat functionality. You won’t need to distract from the convincing experience with text chat – you’ll simply talk to the other people around you as if you were actually there. It’s revolutionary!
Since there are plenty of different characters and avatars in VR casinos, you can also have the fun of choosing your own alter-ego. Perhaps you want to choose someone who looks just like you for a more realistic experience. Or perhaps you’d like to try out a different gender or appearance for size. It can add a lot more fun to your gameplay to create your own avatar to represent you at the gaming table.
Since VR casinos are quite new, the possibilities are exciting. New features and games are being included all the time, and this means that there’s always going to be something new and cutting edge to enjoy in a VR casino. Real world casinos, on the other hand, can’t really compete and offer a very similar experience every time you visit.
Another great advantage of VR casinos is that they can offer generous bonuses and promotions to players. This is something that real money online casinos have been offering for some time which have given them the edge over bricks and mortar competitors, but VR casinos look set to take those deals to a whole new level of appeal. With such attractive offers to pick from, it’s no wonder that players are set to be turned towards the VR experience rather than the real world one where you get no extra value for money and no rewards for returning time and again to the table.
The future of virtual casinos looks set to be a successful one for many reasons, but not least because of the realistic experience they offer. Unlike regular online casinos which offer all of the games but not of the authenticity, VR casinos don’t just offer a great choice of titles, but they also give punters the freedom to discover and explore the environment at their own pace, with spaces to visit away from the gaming floor. With such great graphics and clear resolution, the experience is a smooth and rich one which won’t disappoint.
Virtual casinos are also set to transcend the usually boundary which exists between gambling and video gaming. The virtual reality casino places its focus on making gambling more attractive to an older age group who have the disposable income and the leisure time to spend on real money casino gaming. Players aged 30 or over are beginning to embrace the concept of VR gaming as well as the possibilities that online gambling have to offer and, as a result, the VR casino games library has already begun to grow. Blackjack, poker, roulette and slots are all available.
VR casinos offer players a fully immersive and exciting experience when they wear a headset however they also offer 3D alternatives which can be viewed on a regular computer screen. Of course, that pretty much defeats the object of using a virtual reality casino. You can’t be truly immersed in the environment if you’re only seeing it on a screen. So, it’s clear that a headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive is a necessity. However, that isn’t all you’re going to need to get started with VR casino gaming.
VR headsets all have their own specs and requirements. If you’re to see high-quality VR casino images through your headset, the computer which you use will also have to meet specific criteria. A VR casino has to display 90 frames per second if the gameplay is going to be sufficiently smooth. Some minimum requirements for typical VR headsets include:
The Oculus Rift
- NVIDIA GTX 970/AMD 290 graphics card
- Intel i5-4590/AMD FX8350 processor
- 8GB of RAM
- HDMI 1.3 display
- NVIDIA GTX 970/AMD 290 graphics card
- Intel i5-4590/AMD FX8350 processor
- 4GB of RAM
- DisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 1.4 display
- 1 USB 2.0 port
- Windows 7 SP1 operating system or later
As you can see, you’ll require a powerful computer if you want to use a VR casino, although the HTC Vive is more accessible than the Rift since its minimum requirements are achievable by more mid-range PCs. Remember, however, that if you want the best possible gameplay experience you will require a computer which offers maximum processing power to handle the graphics. At the moment, VR casinos are only accessible through desktop PCs and not mobile devices however this will almost certainly change at some point in the future.
You’ll also require casino controllers if you want the best gameplay experience. This allows for easier interaction with the games. You hold one controller in each hand which have an ergonomic design so they feel natural when they’re held. Some controllers are especially intuitive and can detect your presence automatically as soon as you pick them up due to the intelligent sensors incorporated into the device which translates movements that are then mimicked by the VR casino avatar.
While VR casino controllers offer the ultimate gameplay experience, note that it’s still possible to play at VR casinos even if you don’t have the official controllers. Most game developers have worked hard to ensure that their games are compatible with different input forms including keyboards although these offer a far more limited and significantly less immersive experience.
For centuries, gambling has been a long-established global business. During the last fifty years, it has grown even more and during the past couple of decades it has exploded beyond all expectations thanks to the arrival of the internet and cutting edge technology. VR is now set to turn into one of the latest fads in the online casino industry. Already, virtual reality gaming has taken over the world of video gaming in a big way, and with its cutting edge advances, it could easily revolutionize the way we see, use and experience the online casino sector.
At the present time, VR technology is only having a minimal impact on standard bricks and mortar casinos. While it has made inroads, with VR experiences now on offer in some real world establishments, they aren’t going to deter hardcore gamblers from heading to their local casino to enjoy a spin of roulette or a hand of blackjack. VR casinos won’t stop vacationers from indulging in a spot of wagering in Sin City, but they could very easily cause significant change in the online gambling arena.
The first VR casino was launched towards the end of 2015. This was before VR headset technology had really been embraced by mainstream consumers. However, now the technology has spread and more people than ever before have invested in the latest gaming headsets. It looks clear that more VR casinos will therefore soon be arriving on the scene, with existing ones becoming even more sophisticated.
VR casinos offer a more realistic and immersive experience than a regular online casino already, offering gamblers a much better all-round experience. As technology improves over the next few years, more gamblers are likely to join VR casinos which make the wagering experience even more exciting and relaxed for those who either lack the time, the inclination or the ability to physically visit real world casinos.
VR casinos also offer the option for real time communication with live dealers and other players. This increases the social experience which so many players hanker after. Those who love bricks and mortar casinos often cite the social side of gambling as one of the reasons why they choose to frequent such establishments. Now, VR technology is able to offer a similar experience, and this represents exciting future potential for the industry.
VR Casinos can also be easily customized. VR casinos can be adjusted to suit the preferences of individual players when paired with AI and other advanced forms of software. When the incorporated AI learns about the player’s individual favorite games and behavioral patterns, it can adjust the version of the casino the player sees to better suit their interests. Ultimately, this benefits casinos since customers will carry on playing for longer, but it also benefits players too who will have a more personalized and fun experience every time they play.
It’s clear that VR casinos will certainly form part of the future of gambling, but will they actually take over from the experiences that currently exist at the moment? That is a question which is being hotly debated by both players and developers alike.
In VR casinos, users can try out simulated games and learn more about them before actually heading to a bricks and mortar venue to try their hand at some real world gameplay. This can only be a good thing for real world casinos since more players may be attracted to come to their gaming tables for an up close and personal experience after being inspired by their VR versions.
Also, VR technology is still expensive. Although headsets have become more affordable in recent years and are now within easier reach of the masses, they are still beyond the reach of some. That means that regular online casinos are set to have a place for several more years to come as punters look for their gambling needs to be met without having to make the costly investment in a cutting edge headset or a more expensive and powerful PC.
Will virtual reality revolutionize the web based casino in the end? Who knows the answer to this question? However, it does look like there is a definite possibility that it could, bearing in mind that VR is proving to be more popular with players of all ages than anyone ever imagined. Every customer can have a much more appealing experience when playing at VR casinos, and this will entice more users to join in and try their hand at the virtual gaming tables.
NetEnt, Microgaming and other key industry players are already embracing the latest VR technology and it seems clear that more online casinos will soon be investing more heavily in the adoption of virtual reality technology over the coming years. Even despite the regulation problems in certain jurisdictions which could slow down VR casino growth, the chances are that virtual reality gambling isn’t just here to stay but will also grow and thrive with every year that passes.
Virtual reality casinos make gameplay interactive, giving users an even more convincing and realistic experience than other online casinos on the market today. Gamblers old and new alike will find it hard to resist the opportunity of interacting with each other and the dealer while playing their favorite games, and with the exciting additional elements of being able to explore a virtual gambling world, it seems obvious that VR casinos will be part of the future.