The online gambling industry has become increasingly popular over the past few years with more players showing interest in online casinos and sportsbooks. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately led to numerous temporary closures of land-based casinos, which contributed to a significant increase in the use of iGaming sites. Despite these lockdown restrictions eventually being lifted, it was observed that many players continued to frequent these online casinos and are looking for new ways to connect with the product.
A New Gambling Experience
With the significant increase in demand for iGaming sites, operators have had to take measures to meet the needs and wants of online casino players by coming up with new and unique ways to make a more engaging player experience. Some initiatives taken by online casino operators include offering players new games on a regular basis or implementing live dealer games on their website.
As technology advances and players look for new and engaging features, a notably emerging trend that iGaming operators should consider exploring is AR and VR casinos. Some operators such as XR Casino, PokerStars and Slots Million have already started to implement some of these practices.
What are VR & AR? What are the Differences Between Them?
Although both VR and AR in online casinos have a similar objective of creating a more immersive experience for players, there are a few notable differentiating factors:
Virtual Reality (VR):
- 100% virtual: Players are in an “alternate world.” This is typically a computer-generated simulation, similar to a video game.
- Requires equipment: VR requires a headset, which players place over their eyes to enter this virtual world.
- Users are controlled by the system: Simulated events are created for the user to partake in.
Augmented Reality (AR):
- Real-life setting: AR users are in a real, life-like setting. They can view the scene as though they were physically entering a location.
- Can be accessed with a smartphone: AR can be easily accessed through a mobile device on a platform’s app. It uses the device’s camera lens to portray a lifelike location through the screen.
- Users have control over their presence. They can control where they go, what they want to do, etc.
What Can We Expect with VR & AR Casinos?
VR and AR casinos have the ultimate goal of creating a more immersive and engaging experience for players.
With many users consistently being on the move, AR and VR casinos offer players the option to play on the go, from the comfort of their own home or wherever else they may be, so long as they have the necessary equipment.
Players are provided with an interactive experience, where they can see a 3D version of the casino, as well as a 360-degree view of the space around them. Further, they have the ability to navigate around the casino, interact with other players and dealers, select the games they want to play, have a drink and so much more. Augmented reality casinos also allow for the player to experience exactly what being in a land-based casino is like, without physically having to be there.
What Does the Future Hold?
According to CasinoGuardian, the VR Gambling Industry in 2017 was worth $0.4 billion and is expected to grow to $2.4 billion by 2024. As this technology becomes more accessible to players, we can expect more online casino brands to jump on this trend. Further, it is predicted that “mixed reality” may become the next big thing in this industry, which is a combination of VR and AR. This is ultimately the merging of real/virtual worlds and the elements within each respective one to create a whole new experience.
With increased demand and more competition in the online gambling world, operators need to constantly find new and better offerings to give their players in order to create experiences that make players want to come back to their sites. With new technological trends on the rise and the need for flexible playing options of players, understanding and getting on board the trend of VR and AR casinos can significantly increase a brand’s competitive edge, if they are willing to invest in these technologies.