Will virtual reality shake up the gambling industry?

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The so-called ‘vice’ industries are often the driving force behind new technology, tending to demonstrate a greater appetite to pioneer revenue streams than safer, more traditional ecommerce sectors.

It is a pattern we saw during the early days of the internet, and again at the advent of the mobile revolution. The acceleration in mobile gambling has been astounding, and it now accounts for around 70% of revenues for most major sports betting operators.

Today, the gambling industry is particularly well placed to emerge as one of the first mainstream consumer use cases for VR headsets.

To understand why gambling is likely to lead the way with VR, it is first important to understand the current state of the industry.

In recent years, a series of new regulatory and taxation regimes have been implemented at a national level across many of the gambling industry’s most important markets, including the UK.

Burdened by higher costs, the industry has consolidated rapidly with a number of major mergers and acquisitions. This has seen a standardisation of products at the same time that large marketing budgets have pushed up the cost of acquiring new players.

What every gambling operator is now looking for is a way to differentiate from its competitors and gain more value from their existing customers.

The future of casino 

ALEA recently launched SlotsMillion, the world’s first VR multi-player online casino, which allows players to walk around a virtual casino set in a futuristic city.

Players can select an avatar and explore the environment, interacting with other users and staff such as support agents. They can choose from between 40 different slots from leading suppliers and experience the buzz of a big win with an explosion of 3D graphics raining down on them from specific slots.

It was built with Unity 5, using chromium to emulate games inside. The application was designed for Oculus Rift only and can be played on computers with an Nvidia 970 graphics card or above.

Of course, for VR to truly revolutionise gambling we must wait for mass adoption

What makes SlotsMillion and VR such an intriguing proposition in the gambling industry is the way it can boost player engagement and offer something far more immersive than what is currently on the market.

Gambling is, above anything else, an entertainment product. The industry has spent a great deal of time and resources looking for ways to create games that keep players engaged and immersed beyond the standard gambling mechanisms.

Still a way to go 

While some progress has been made, particularly in the area of gamification, there is a long way to go. As a recent study showed, 18-24-year-olds are actually gambling less than they did two years ago. Faced with competition from AAA games, Netflix and social media, it is clear that gambling operators need to do more to reach out to millennials.

VR will play a central role in this outreach. For the first time, operators will be able to offer a user experience to players that can compete on its own terms with the broader gaming sector. The long-term revenue growth for gambling firms is not to be found in taking money from players as quickly as possible. It is about providing an experience that players can enjoy even if they are not winning big jackpots.

Beyond creating a more immersive and engaging experience for everyone, there are other upsides to the VR casino. We see it as a place for casino operators, affiliates and players to interact during working hours, leading to a more personalised and tailored product for the user.

And on the marketing front, it is the perfect environment to demo new game content; our latest update includes a virtual screen in our VR casino for exactly this purpose.

Of course, for VR to truly revolutionise gambling we must wait for mass adoption, but by laying the framework early, we are ready to make the most of what is surely the biggest opportunity we’ve been presented with since the launch of the iPhone.

If you are looking to place a wager on which industry will take a lead in VR once mainstream adoption hits a critical mass, you could do worse than putting your money on the gambling sector.

https://www.iottechexpo.com/northamerica/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/all-events-dark-text.pngInterested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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