Gambling is one of the oldest and most established businesses in the world. And, like many industries in the latter part of the 20th century and over the subsequent past couple of decades, the gambling world has moved and transformed online.
The biggest casinos in the world don’t have a strict door policy anymore, nor do they care what shoes you’re wearing. Indeed, nowadays, the biggest casinos don’t care if you’re sat in your underwear. And that’s because the internet has revolutionized people’s relationship with betting. Poker, roulette and blackjack now take place in online halls ranging from animated simulations, to live video feeds from studios featuring events using real-life, real-time croupiers and the like.
So, is the iGaming industry now set to take a leap back into the casino – at least in virtual reality?
Virtual Reality Poker?
One of the games to undergo the most drastic and volatile transformation since the inception of the internet has been poker, which has – quite fittingly – gone through a boom and (almost) bust scenario. With the inception of broadband, online poker exploded in popularity – and especially so at the start of the century, with the so-called “Moneymaker effect”. Players could play around the clock, and take on players of varying capabilities from around the world – and many, many strong poker players quite literally raked it in. But the the industry matured, and the bots came.
Nowadays, online poker is riddled with grinders – taking the game well away from its people-reading and psychological roots – with statistical software replacing and outperforming these skills in the online world. Much of online poker these days involves software facing software looking for an edge – making the game full of grinders and providing very little value to real players.
So, could virtual reality save poker? Many people think so. After all, poker is – or at least was – a social game. Therefore, virtual reality and poker seem a natural fit in terms of returning the game to the people by increasing human interaction, and all that entails with bluffing and the like.
Other Virtual Reality iGaming Opportunities
But what other opportunities could virtual reality hold for iGaming or interactive gaming? Well, surprisingly, lottery, sports betting and other casino games could prove to be big hitters for virtual reality. Indeed, virtual reality is a particularly intriguing opportunity for second-life simulation games such as the Sims or Grand Theft Auto. So why not combine the second-life experience with some aspects of real life?
Virtual reality in lottery ticket purchases and even draws is something brands already seem to be looking into. For example, while playing as a Sims character – in other words, as an avatar – a player could enter a shop and purchase a lottery ticket. Considering the only way to play the lottery used to be buying a physical ticket in person, but the internet now allows for betting on the results of lottery draws, regardless of where you are located in the world, it looks like lottery brands are eager to embrace technology. To take things further, a sports bettor’s avatar can be used in VR to place a real wager on their favourite team. Or bet on roulette in a virtual casino with the prospect of real winnings.
The opportunities to combine virtual reality and real-life are endless – especially in the iGaming arena. It’s an area where lateral thinking is key – and the fusion of real-life and a virtual world can join as one. Just as is the case with digital advertising, iGaming is on the verge of an intriguing new dawn thanks to virtual reality.