In the latest in our ongoing gambling technology series, I take a look at the lengthy debate over what kind of effect Virtual Reality (VR) will have on the online casino industry. Some believe it will totally change the game, while others have looked at the relatively slow start to sales of VR headsets in 2016 (a little over 12 million units) and come to the conclusion that the proposed revolution will be a little while yet, if at all. As it stands, it is the live links to casinos that are bringing a new and unrivaled experience to armchair gamblers.
One of the reasons why online casinos are thriving with an annual revenue of over $50 billion is down to the fact that they are accessible to so many more people than their land-based counterparts. For many, playing from the comfort of home is much more relaxing than venturing out into the hustle and bustle of a glitzy gambling strip. And research shows that two out of three casino-goers own a house, so it stands to reason that they would want the casino experience brought to their own domain.
Online casino sites have catered for beginners by offering clear instructions on how to play the games and also providing support helplines, but you’ll want to check out something like SmartBettingGuide to cover all the bases. But it’s the sites that give both newcomers and veterans the opportunity to play games like poker, blackjack, roulette and baccarat with a live dealer, meaning, for example, a real blackjack dealer, that are bringing the genuine casino experience directly to the home gamer.
Live dealer casino games are one step away from VR games in that they already bring the tables from the real-world casino directly to the home. VR is attempting to do this with things like Microgaming’s VR Roulette, but that currently only puts players in a virtual world without any human interaction. With the live links to real dealers in the casino, players can often chat to the dealer and tip them, just as they would in a real casino.
Seeing a real human dealer also provides reassurance to the player that everything is above board. Although all online casinos have to use accurate random number generators in their virtual games by law, a lot of players prefer the peace of mind of watching a croupier shuffle the deck or spin the roulette wheel. Another factor that makes live games a cut above the rest is that they provide more of a multiplayer atmosphere. While playing the virtual games feels like a solo experience, the live games involve a number of different real-life players.
Perhaps the best course for online casinos to take would be to work towards combining these live tables with VR. It would be fascinating to put on the VR headset and actually feel like you are standing at a table with other players. This could also increase the level of interaction, one of the few things that is lacking from the online scene. For now, this future seems like a long way off, though. Live dealers are currently as good as it gets.
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