Have you ever gambled online before?
Chances are you have. In 2016, a Nielsen Scarborough survey found that nearly 83 million Americans admitted to having visited a casino in the past 12 months.
And why wouldn’t you? Online gambling is so much more convenient than offline gambling. You don’t have to travel anywhere, deal with large crowds or spend a lot of money on non-gaming fees.
But there are also disadvantages to online gambling. One of the biggest drawbacks is the lack of realism.
When you go online, it is more like the play of a video game where money strikes out when you win. The social aspect, such as chatting with friends, dealers, or table mates, is completely on the rise.
Software developers recognize this and start scratching this itch by developing live dealer games – games that are handled by a man.
However, they are still not REAL.It is more if you have a Skype conversation with someone.It’s nice and a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t completely change the physical experience.
What’s the next best thing?
Is there anything that can change the way you play in a casino?Virtual reality casinos could use that, too.
VR casinos are still in their infantry, but what casinos are doing now is very appealing.
We’ll talk more about it there, as well as provide an overview of how VR casinos work, what you can expect from them, and how we believe the future will unfold in this VR gaming space.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
We are beginning to understand what virtual reality is. Here is how Wikipedia describes it:
Virtual reality (VR) is a computer technology that makes use of virtual reality-headsets and multi-projected environments, sometimes in combination with physical environments or props, to generate realistic images, sounds, and other sensations that defy the physical presence of a user in a virtual or imaginary environment.
In other words, you put on a headset, put on the controllers and/or gloves, and you find yourself in a completely different environment.
For casino players, it means that you are in a (virtual) casino. You can also sit next to machines that are available for use.
The goal is to provide a truly immersive experience between the graphics and user interface elements, as well as to reduce or eliminate external distraction (the real world).
A brief history of virtual reality
VR has a long history of events. Experts believe that virtual reality existed in a primitive form as early as the year 1860.
Since then, the human race has undertaken a number of initiatives in order to make VR a reality.The following is a timetable for one of those attempts:
- Early 60s-The Sensorama was created. This was a huge machine that you sat on—like one of those racing arcade games—where you watched one of five short films that appealed to senses like your sight, sound, smell, and touch. India
- 1960s: Ivan Sutherland and Bob Sproull created what is considered the first head-mounted display (HMD). They dubbed it the Damocles curse.It was too difficult to drag, so he hung from the ceiling.In terms of interface and real-life scenarios, it was also very basic.
- 1980s, Atari created Battlezone. This is a first person shooter tank battle game. You controlled a tank, which you used to handle attacks from other tanks and missiles. It had 3D graphics and viewing glasses that you would put on your face. in the
- 1990s, Sega introduced Sega VR for their arcade games and Mega Drive console. This used LCD screens in the visor, stereo headphones, and inertial sensors that allowed the system to track and respond to movements of the user’s head.
- In 1991, Computer Gaming World predicted that we would see “affordable VR” in 1994. While they were wrong about the date, they didn’t misunderstand the affordable VR part, as Oculus VR’s Rift was introduced a few decades later.
- In 1995, Nintendo tried VR with the Virtual Boy. This was a 32-bit tabletop game console. It was a commercial failure due to cost, lack of quality games (only 22 were made), and unimpressive graphics.
- 2010: Palmer Luckey designed the first Oculus Rift prototype. It was only able to track rotation, but at the time, had a 90-degree field of view, not seen on the market at the time.
- Oculus adopted a fairly common breakthrough (from Valve) in 2013, allowing them to create lag- and smudge-free renderings of VR content.Valve also came out with additional features in 2014, including 1K displays per eye, low persistence, and positional tracking across wide areas. Oculus will use this in all future headsets.
- In 2014, Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014. This was before Oculus could ship devices ordered through their 2012 Kickstarter campaign.
- 2016–There are reportedly more than 230 companies developing VR products. Facebook has more than 400 employees who focus on VR, while all the major tech companies, such as Microsoft, Sony, and Samsung, have dedicated AR/VR groups.
That brings us to today.
We have seen several virtual reality products appear. This includes one from Sony for the PlayStation 4 console; the Cardboard, a DIY stereoscopic viewer from Google; Gloveone, a pair of gloves that provide motion tracking and haptic feedback, also featured on Kickstarter; and then the HTC Vive, made by a collaboration between HTC and Valve.
We’ll talk more about some of this equipment in the next section, including what you need to play VR casino games.
What equipment do you need to use VR?
One thing to keep in mind before we talk about equipment is that we published this in early 2018. And things are changing fast, especially in the tech industry.
Thus, the following VR products, prices, requirements, etc. may differ from what is currently available or required.
The general list of equipment you’ll need for VR includes:
- Regulators (optional)
- treadmill (optional)
Many VR products come in bundles, which can include most of what’s in the list above.
For example, the Oculus Rift comes with built-in headphones, a microphone, motion sensors, a remote, an Xbox One controller, and the headset. Their base model starts at $399, but will likely go up from there depending on which bundle you decide to buy.
Some experts also suggest using more than two sensors to get full 360-degree tracking. Oculus says 360-degree tracking with two sensors is still in the experimental stage.
You can also buy a computer and a Rift bundle. This will set you back a minimum of $700 and a whopping $3,000+, depending on the computer you end up buying.
But the Oculus Rift is just one of many VR products to choose from. Some of your other options are:
- The HTC Vive comes from Valve and HTC and is a direct competitor to the Oculus Rift. You can buy one for $599.
- Sony PlayStation VR – This is a PlayStation 4 game console accessory.This is ideal for gamers (it’s hit and miss for real-money casino players). You can buy one for about $299 unless you get a game bundle, in which case you’ll spend $350+.
- Samsung Gear VR: The hardware and screen are both provided by your smartphone.This only works with the S6 and S7 smartphone series. You will spend about $100 on the headset.
Casino players will want to stick with the Rift, Vive, or Samsung Gear VR, although we’ve seen reports of casino players getting the PlayStation VR headset working.
You can learn more about additional options, apps, features, and other nuances of virtual reality at TheGuardian.com.
Another thing to keep in mind is the device you use for VR. If you’re using your phone or PlayStation 4, you don’t have to worry about this-you have no control over it.
However, if you intend to use your computer, you DO need to think about your computer specifications. Here’s what Oculus recommends for PC users’ computer specs:
Important: You may need safety glasses.
A quick note before we move on to talking about virtual reality casinos:
Depending on where you play and the experience you want to have, you may not have to shell out hundreds of dollars to play VR casino games.
Take Slots Million, for example. You can use the Oculus Rift if you want, but if you don’t want to, you can also play in their 3D casino.
This kind of looks like games we’ve seen before, including really old PC games.
This can be a good way to test the 3D or VR waters before investing a lot of money in a system or style of gaming that you’re not sure you’ll like.
Casinos in Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has been in the making for the past 60+ years, and while we’ve seen things grow over the past ten years, it’s still brand new to the online gambling industry.
Google “VR casinos” or “virtual reality casinos” and you’ll see what we mean. Google’s results are quite sparse. That’s because, in 2018, there are only a few casinos or software providers that do it.
Slots Million was the first to do it. You can watch a video where you walk into their Slots Million 3D casino, which is located in a tall building.
If you want to go the legit route, you can use the Oculus Rift (which Slots Million recommends you use). But other reports say that users have also found a way to use their HTC Vive, PlayStation 4 and other headsets.
One of the first titles they released was the Starburst slot from NetEnt. NetEnt has also released several other VR games since then, such as:
What is interesting about their slot machines is that they removed the reels from the machine and made them spin right in front of you. Then when you win, you will see money, coins, or gems fall down and the characters dance right in front of you.It’s like being in the room with them. And that’s exactly the feeling we get when we watch these clips without wearing glasses. Chances are it will feel even more realistic when you use the headset.
But slots aren’t the only thing you can play in virtual reality.
Both NetEnt and Microgaming showcased VR games at ICE Totally Gaming 2016. NetEnt showcased their slots, of course, while Microgaming showcased their futuristic space-themed roulette game.
These games make you feel like you are playing the real game-you can pick up chips, spin the roulette wheel, collect bets and more.
We also saw a blackjack game. You sit at what feels like a real blackjack table. You have a drink and a pile of chips in front of you, as does the dealer. There were also several empty seats to the right and left.
The graphics were a bit primitive, but they will likely evolve over the next few years and get much better, much faster. And that’s just one of the many improvements or changes we expect to see in the future.
What does the future hold for VR gambling?
What does the future look like for VR casino gambling? We’re not sure (it’s the future, of course), but we can guess.
A common thought process is that VR will be used to bring people together—to make it more social.
Mark Zuckerberg believes this and it was one of the driving forces behind his decision to allow Facebook to acquire Oculus in 2014.
In a Skype conversation with CasinoListings.com, Alexandre Tomic of Slots Million echoed the same sentiments.
He said he would like people to be able to interact with other players on the SlotsMillion.com floor. At the moment, it is only possible to see them , not interact with them.
In his ideal scenario, you can find your buddy, sit down, and have a conversation over a game of blackjack. Alex thinks that integrating the ability to interact with other people is the only way casino VR will work in the long run.
Bring the people together. That’s the most important thing,” says Alex.
888 also wrote a blog post that said something similar, but aimed at millennials:
And casinos have worked hard to “gamify” the gambling experience as well. One of the main barriers to the adoption of casino gaming by millennials is that they are used to much more immersive and socially engaging gaming environments.
Currently, land-based and online casinos are trying to make traditional gambling formats more attractive to millennials by adding layers of gamification to the programs for the games that already exist.
This is what the future probably looks like. If all these guys say it, it must be true.
The one thing we are sure of is that virtual reality will continue to grow. It is now an industry worth more than $6 billion, and projections say it will be worth more than $40 billion by 2020.
Rest assured that online casinos will get their share of that action, and we will all benefit from it.
Virtual reality is here, and it looks pretty cool for casino players.
There aren’t many choices where you can play yet. SlotsMillion is your best bet (maybe your only bet). But that’s okay; they are a solid casino—you can read our review for more.
Many other casinos also have or will have VR games as it is software companies such as NetEnt and Microgaming that make them. Other software companies are likely to follow suit soon.
That means we can expect an increase in the coming years in both software developers making VR games and casinos offering them.
The quality of these games and casinos will most likely improve as well.
That means we have plenty to be excited about.
Virtual Reality Casino FAQs
Virtual reality is still new. We expect it to grow and change in the coming years.
For that reason, we thought it would make sense to include a FAQ covering all the most common questions about VR (casinos) that haven’t been answered above.
What are the benefits of virtual reality casinos?
There are a few advantages.
You can still gamble online from home, but with an experience similar to that of a land-based casino.
You can also chat with other players. If that’s not available now, it probably will be in the near future.
There are now many games to play, both for real money and for free. And since VR is still in its fancy, you can expect a lot more to be available in the future.
And as for online casinos, you don’t need any equipment to play. You can just play the 3D casinos if you don’t want to spend $400+ on equipment.
What are the disadvantages of virtual reality casinos?
Here are a few negatives that immediately come to mind.
If you go the headset and accessories route, you’re going to spend a decent amount of money before ever stepping into a VR casino.
You’ll easily spend $400 on the basics-the headset, microphone, earphones, sensors, etc., unless you opt for the Google Cardboard, which people say is inconvenient.
And then you need the hardware to run the VR equipment. If you don’t, it will cost you another $500-$1,000 to upgrade or replace your computer.
But let’s say you have the equipment, or money isn’t an issue.
Right now, with the exception of the slot games from NetEnt and Microgaming, the games are a bit primitive. They remind us of older computer games you could play in the 90s.
(But we expect this to improve quite a bit in the coming years.)
Another potential downside – and an interesting theory – is that because VR gambling is so immersive, you can feel weird when you take off your headset. As Alex says in his interview with CasinoListings.com:
“When you take the headset off after a while, sometimes as little as ten minutes, you get the feeling that the life you’ve known from birth isn’t quite the same.
The interviewer asked whether players could maintain a sense of their normal lives after being so immersed in another reality.
This makes you wonder if players with more addictive personalities are more prone to developing gambling addictions through VR. Or, at best, they lose the sense of time while in a different reality and spend a little more than they would otherwise.
That’s just a theory, but it’s something we think will be explored more as virtual reality and VR gambling develop.
Are there VR casinos for Americans?
No, we don’t think so. Right now, only NetEnt, Microgaming, and a few other non-US software vendors have come up with VR games. It will probably be a while before US-friendly casinos start offering them.
Do you need to download software?
It seems so, yes. SlotsMillion.com is an instant play casino. But they have a download for VR users.
Do you need to create a new account?
new. If you already have a player account, for example, on SlotsMillion.com, all you need to do is download their app and login with the same credentials.
How many games are there?
Slots Million says they have thirty to forty games for you to choose from. But this is just the beginning-we wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few times more than this in the coming years.
Can I still get a deposit bonus?
Yes, nothing changes here. If the casino offers a bonus, you should be able to claim it – even if you play at their VR casino