Could Virtual Reality threaten land-based casinos?

With new VR sets coming out every other month and lots of money being poured into this industry, guest blogger Dean Lovett ponders over how VR might affect the gambling industry. Reports from Forbes have indicated that in less than 10 years, the industry in Las Vegas has seen incredible highs as well as devastating lows partly due to the recession. Gaming in Las Vegas peaked in 2007 with revenues of $6.83 billion. However, land-based casinos have shown a decline in growth, even in the promising region of East Asia, as more and more people are turning towards online gambling.

casino tokens
Casino tokens

Studies published by the University of Lethbridge showed that there were four main reasons why players preferred to game online than in land-based casinos: “(a) the relative convenience, comfort, and ease of Internet gambling; (b) an aversion to the atmosphere and clientele of land-based venues; (c) a preference for the pace and nature of online game-play; and (d) the potential for higher wins and lower overall expenditures when gambling online.“ Of course, many still went to land-based casinos for the actual experience of casino gaming, because there was still a difference between playing online and playing with people face-to-face. But what if even this feature was offered in online casinos? What if someone came up with the ultimate Virtual Reality casino where players feel as though they were actually playing against other people, right from the comforts of their homes?

The fact that you can’t actually see the people you’re playing with is one of the biggest disadvantages of playing online. We are all aware of how every player has their own mannerisms, and how recognizing these mannerisms can help experienced gamblers gain the upper hand in a game. Intercasino, for example, offers an online version of Blackjack, which is a game where details that seem minor, such as the friendliness of the dealer, could affect your chances of winning the game.

But what if a Virtual Reality version of Blackjack could allow you to interact with actual dealers and play against actual opponents who are in different parts of the world? What if your movements and mannerisms could be transmitted online, so that not only can you learn from your opponents, but unwittingly give away your own tells as well? Recreating the casino experience from the comforts of your home could be easier than ever imagined, and land-based casinos may lose hold of one of their few remaining good cards.

Could this be the future for online gambling at all? Many online casinos have already taken the first step, launching “live casino” options where users play against actual dealers. The next step is developing a system where users can make use of VR headsets and sensors that can transmit their movements to a central server and play against other people. Imagine a world where bluffing in online poker constituted actual bluffs and poker faces mattered again even when you were playing at home. This could be the future for online gambling, and be the death for land-based casinos.

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