TMCnet Feature
October 06, 2020

Will Virtual and Augmented Reality for Online Gambling Be Worth the Investment

Every big scientific discovery and technological leap is accompanied by a convenient price tag (News - Alert). From green energy to artificial intelligence, to augmented and virtual reality (AG/VR) today, it’s all a pricey investment

Whether you need to train the right professionals for it or are struggling to capitalize on consumer penetration, there are always challenges to address. In the case of casinos, though, augmented and virtual reality can truly do wonders.

The question is, is an early push in AG and VR truly justifiable from a financial standpoint? Most casinos have been hesitant to become early adopters, but many are tentatively beginning to experiment.

Shifting and Diversifying Casino Project in the 21st Century

There is no doubt that casinos will seek to break the mold and try to attract a more tech-savvy crowd to their establishments. The push towards iGaming, or Internet casinos as they are more popularly known, is just the beginning.

Much will have to change in the 21st century for casinos to attract a younger generations of players who are not entirely fascinated with the idea of gambling as a recreational activity.

Whatever innovation is introduced to attract new players, though, it will cost money and therefore, it should help businesses leap into the future rather than take a tumble into the past.

So, with this being said, there is no doubt that casino innovation is on the table. There have been several proposals to achieve this, but they are mostly outside the comfort zone of many brands. They include:

  • Adoption of cashless payments
  • Introducing skill-based games
  • Adding VR and AG solutions

All three are just the tip of the iceberg. Cashless payments are already a hot topic in Nevada, one of the world’s gambling capitals, and Las Vegas in particular is seeing a big uptake when it comes to alternative payment methods.

The introduction of skill-based games has been another contentious point, which is slowly shifting in favor of the industry. However, making these products appealing to players has proven quite difficult.

Last but hardly least, traditional players are invited to experiment with virtual reality and augmented reality. All three points are very important to move casinos into the future, but the rate of adoption hasn’t been too quick.

Drop New Technology (News - Alert) Where It’s Needed

Some casino experts have justly pointed out that innovation must be adopted where it is needed. Therefore, cashless payments are a great example of how technology can bring benefits for the casino industry.

Another important aspect is realism or improving the current state of affairs. Some top online poker rooms have already introduced a virtual reality solution, however, briefly. PokerStars experimented with a VR room and the feedback was mostly positive.

The virtual world could prove a little too distracting or even restricting when it comes to online poker and specifically players who want to grind. However, adding a VR gameplay option would most likely have a fantastic and positive impact on the poker community, replenishing its numbers in the process.

Introducing technology at the right time and the right place is therefore important. For example, casinos in Las Vegas use facial recognition to boost security and safety on the gaming floor.

Overall, technology has a significant impact on business and the economy. Adapting it smartly though is a prerequisite to be able to bank on technology’s huge potential in the first place.

Should All Push for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?

Any investment is inherently linked with how the public receives it. If you take virtual reality as a phenomenon, it’s a quickly growing one. Yet, the average consumer still doesn’t own their own VR set.

In fact, casino players do not have VR sets at home, and they are less likely to have one than traditional gamers, for example. Therefore, any investment in the segment should come at a point when there is enough demand and supply for VR in casinos.

In other words, building a vast portfolio of VR products would not come with a soaring interest in the technology. Casinos will have to balance between the down payment cost, what their players actually expect and what to see and whether the product in demand is actually available.

Of course, teasing VR and AG solutions, though, is important. If casinos baulk at the idea and do not start pushing in the direction of adopting such solutions, consumers would not know they exist. Combining this segment with something that strikes closer to home is important.

Video games will lead the way in VR development. Therefore, having casinos compete with professional video studios would be a little counter-intuitive and definitely not make any financial sense.

One possible alternative is to have casinos invest in a solution that brings their table games closer to the players, just like PokerStars did. Macau and Las Vegas had to be on a shutdown for six months in 2020, and there is no telling when the next lockdown is coming.

Being able to materialize – in some form – the gaming floor to high-value baccarat and blackjack customers does seem like a good idea. Would there be demand for that though? That remains to be seen.

The Time to Innovate Is Now

Innovation is an important part of the casino industry. Even the most reluctant companies in the world are cognizant of the simple fact that the average casino player is getting older. While most traditional gamblers are still willing to spend quite a bit, in the long term, casinos can quickly find themselves out of new customers, which is what guarantees their long-term survival anyway.

The cost of augmented reality and virtual reality will certainly appear pricey to some establishments. However, the cost of not innovating could cost a company its demise, if not immediately, than surely at some point in the future, brought on not by some big economic upset, but rather one’s own rigidity when it comes to new technologies. Casino players are willing to take up any worthwhile product. Casino should be those leading the way, however.

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