Movies such as The Matrix and Ready Player One portray virtual reality (VR) as a wondrous simulation able to immerse our consciousness in worlds we can’t access in reality – so much so that we’re often left pondering which is the real and which is the virtual world.
So, it stands to reason that the natural progression of the ever-present and thrilling online casino would be a virtual reality casino that transports us into glittering halls where we can play VR casino games without leaving the comfort of our homes.
Let’s find out exactly what VR casinos are, how they work, why we love them, and whether they’re here to stay.
What is a Virtual Reality Casino?
Not to be confused with augmented reality, virtual reality is an immersive experience that simulates being in a casino by wearing a number of gadgets that trick your mind and body into believing that you’re actually there.
Unlike a traditional online casino, VR casinos replicate the land-based casino experience, allowing you to “walk” through and interact with both the environment and, most importantly, the array of games such as roulette, blackjack, and even VR slot games.
A wonderful innovation in online casinos has been the live dealer game in which you can interact with a game that has a live person running the game, either in the form of an avatar or, in some cases, a video feed. VR takes this experience to a whole new level.
How Do VR Casinos Work?
In much the same way that the internet and technology changed how people gamble, VR will play a big role in the evolution of technology for the casino industry.
As mentioned, VR casinos require players to wear a VR headset that interacts with the VR engine that drives the overall experience. Given that VR technology has been developed and used in the gaming world for decades, the experience available to online gamblers is fairly sophisticated.
The most popular game played in virtual reality casinos is online slots. This is largely a result of the rich, immersive media experience associated with actual machines, from music to fast, flashy graphics and fast-paced interaction with virtual slot machines.
Slightly less impressive, although quickly catching up, are roulette and blackjack. Some casinos allow you to choose your avatar to represent you in the virtual environment and provide solid graphics and real-time interaction with both the dealers and other players at the tables. It is still thrilling to feel like you’re actually sitting at the table in a land-based casino.
What You Need to Play at a VR Casino
Your three most important pieces of equipment are compatible VR goggles, a controller, and a powerful computer. That said, you could try out a VR casino with just 3D graphics on your screen, but to get the full VR experience, you will need a good pair of VR goggles and a controller.
VR goggles and controllers
Finding the right goggles and controllers for your budget will depend on your circumstances. It would be worth your while to do a bit of research on this before rushing out and buying the first pair you come across at the cheapest price. Here are some that we recommend:
- Oculus Rift/Oculus Touch controller
- HTC Vive/HTC Vive controller
- Sony PlayStation VR/Sony PlayStation Move controller
You may already have a fairly powerful PC, but it’s always better to check the specifications before you invest in the full VR experience. At the time of writing, most VR casinos require the following minimum specifications:
- Windows 7 SP1 or above
- 8GB+ RAM of Memory/RAM
- Intel i5-4590 or higher
- 2x USB 3.0 ports and HDMI 1.3
- NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 or higher
Why We Love VR Casinos
The obvious attraction is the simulated environment that immerses you in a land-based experience from the comfort of your own home without all the associated costs, such as transport, accommodation, and dining.
Virtual reality casinos offer far richer social interactions with dealers and other players than just voice and text. Spatial interaction makes the experience far more authentic than just watching a screen.
Bigger bonuses and free play
In a drive to get new players to participate, many VR casinos offer bigger bonuses and more exciting features. And, where you would need to pay to play at a traditional land-based casino, VR casinos are happy for you to try out the games in demo mode while getting the feel of a land-based casino.
What Needs to Improve
High cost of entry
You may be able to play for free, but the cost of accessing VR is directly related to the equipment needed to get into VR casinos. There is still some way to go before VR casinos are affordable enough to replace both land-based and online casinos.
VR in gambling is still relatively new, so software developers and casinos have yet to saturate the internet with as many games and options as there are in traditional online casinos. Relative to their VR gaming counterparts, VR casino games are still pretty rudimentary.
With so little known about the effects of VR gambling, there is a fear that VR casinos can become highly addictive – even more so than online gambling.
Will VR Casinos Continue to Be a Thing?
The general consensus is that VR gambling will follow the trajectory of VR gaming. As the technology improves, becomes more affordable, and more players adopt it, software developers and casinos will invest in migrating online players to virtual reality.
Expect to see a proliferation of VR arcades where people can gather and play at virtual casinos instead of having to incur the costs of going to land-based casinos.
VR casinos are here to stay, it may just take a while to become mainstream.
Let BetMGM Immerse You in the Online Casino Experience
If you haven’t quite figured out the whole virtual reality thing just yet, don’t despair. Register with BetMGM and try out all our online casino games, from live dealer poker to online slots. You don’t need a headset for these!