Will we see more VR Casinos in the near future?
If there’s one thing that the ongoing pandemic taught us, it’s that “physical presence” is unnecessary in most situations. Whether it’s work, seeing family, or anything that requires community, there’s certainly a remote alternative. Going to a casino is no different, right?
While regular online casinos have been commonplace for over a decade, players are constantly in search of something new. In the last few years, we’ve seen an increased number of games that try to be as realistic as possible. And this has led more studios to dip their toes in the virtual reality (VR) niche.
As of early 2022, it’s still a mystery to most players and developers. Nevertheless, there are still ample signs that changes might be coming real soon. In this blog, we’ll analyze where VR online casinos fit in the grand scheme of things, as well as what the future holds.
Live Casinos – the missing link?
In the mid-2000s, everyone went crazy at the thought of playing casino games on their PC. Sure, it might seem like a part of our everyday lives now, but it was a significant change back then. RNG was the name of the game, but regulations were very light, if not completely nonexistent. As a result, there was a plethora of scam sites and money laundering schemes. Literally anyone could make a game, register a casino in a tax haven, and evade the authorities. But regulators quickly caught up and cleaned things up.
At the start of the 2010s, live dealer games emerged as a fairer and much more immersive option. Simply put, live streaming the gameplay is impossible to rig. That was a major reason why players made the jump. In the first year or two, every provider was focused on porting existing RNG games and modifying them for live dealer play. While live blackjack, roulette, and baccarat will always be fun, there’s only so much that you can do.
Then came augmented reality (AR) live casino games, such as Live Monopoly by Evolution. Not only is the game unlike anything you’ve seen in a casino, but it also somewhat breaks the fourth wall. Where else can you see an animated 3D Monopoly Man jumping out of the screen? All the fun aside, these games are much more complex than their basic predecessors. In order to win, you need a great Monopoly gambling strategy. So, not only are the games more immersive, but the skill threshold is also quite high. But how does this connect to VR online casinos?
Well, many experts deem AR to be a “sugar-free” version of VR. Instead of being transported into a whole different virtual world, virtual elements are mixed with what’s really happening. And judging by the popularity of Monopoly Live and similar titles, we are inching closer to full-blown VR with each passing day. However, there are still many challenges ahead…
Regulators won’t have it easy
By the end of 2022, the world “metaverse” will have been deeply engrained in all of our minds. For better or worse, companies from all niches and sectors are looking to get an early slice of the pie. Without a doubt, it’s Facebook (now Meta) that pushed the whole thing into overdrive. One of the first things to come to everyone’s mind was, of course, gambling.
And it didn’t take long for metaverse owners and operators to start their own mini casinos. At first glance, seeing such a big breakthrough is nothing short of exciting. Despite the fanfare, there are still more questions than there are answers. The most notable topic of discussion is definitely payments.
Due to notable card providers and eWallets still surveying the market, cryptos are the only way to make deposits. To make things even worse, most of these metaverse casinos only accept one or two niche coins. This is a big red flag. With so many pump and dump schemes being orchestrated, players find such a level of uncertainty very unnerving. How can you know that the coin’s value won’t just evaporate overnight?
Then, there’s also the issue of monitoring and regulation. Crypto has always been nearly impossible to monitor properly, but metaverse casinos threaten to further make things difficult. Criminals are always looking for new and creative ways to funnel their dirty funds. That’s why it’s highly likely that VR casinos will be fertile ground for nefarious activities.
We also can’t forget about age verification, too. Long gone are the days of security checking your ID at the entrance. In the metaverse, it will be pretty hard to verify someone’s identity. With things such as photoshopped IDs, voice modulators, and other “tools,” anyone can start playing. As of now, no one has a viable plan that will prevent minors from participating. The clock is ticking, though.
Are VR Casinos Doomed from the Start?
It would be unfair to write VR casinos this early. Every innovation is plagued with issues in the beginning, especially if it’s entirely software based. Remember the early days of live casinos? The 240p streams, lags, disconnections, dodgy providers, and what not? Most of us have indeed erased this from our minds, but the point still stands. New technology is developed by trial and error. And given the potential profitability of metaverse gambling, we’re sure that developers and regulators are working hard.
Just because there are some issues in the beginning, that doesn’t mean VR casinos will be a flop. The whole point of playing online is to be immersed in the action as much as possible. Is there a better way to do this than entering a virtual world? Matrix-related fears aside, we’re still scratching the surface of what VR gambling can look like.
With the help of AR live casino games, both players and providers can get a glimpse into the future. If regulatory issues can be resolved and if a rulebook can be put together, the development of metaverse casinos will be fast-tracked. Until then, it’s up to us to wait and see.
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