TMCnet Feature
January 20, 2021

Augmented and virtual reality technologies - game-changers in the gambling industry

Technology impacts all aspects of life, and the gambling industry makes no exception. In fact, the advancements of technology have triggered a massive shift in the market, and one of the most notorious improvements is the evolution of online gambling platforms that allow people to play games through online casinos and betting websites. 


The introduction of blockchain tech has also delivered much required permanent, verified data on a distributed ledger, which no one can manipulate, attributing transparency across the market. Since the emergence of online gambling websites, the gambling industry faced concerns over protecting money and fairness of the calculation. Blockchain technology comes to solve the trust issue because it's known as a decentralised technology that removes centralised control, while boosting privacy with the principle of anonymity. There's also been talk of blockchain coming to increase the progress in the gambling industry by delivering permanent, verified records on a distributed ledger, online casinos cannot manipulate. A Blockchain decentralised ledger allows players to bet knowing that their bets are transparent, and so are the odds for each online gambling activity they perform. 

The gambling industry has always been quick to adopt the latest technology to stay competitive by offering their clients the best experience. The changes it has been experiencing, part thanks to the blockchain technology and part to other innovations, are just a preview of how the future of gambling may look. Over the last months, a new trend popped on the market, one that has slowly become more popular than the adoption of blockchain technology because it meets the public's present needs. Gambling operators have to offer their clients a realistic casino experience while the pandemic prohibits them from visiting brick-and-mortar facilities where they can use slot machines, roulettes or play table games. And as it looks, augmented reality and virtual reality, together with the innovations blockchain brings, can revolutionise the industry. So today, we'll focus on the technology that allows online casinos to provide their clients with an immersive experience.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technology

Virtual Reality or VR has long been a concept confined to Sci-Fi movies and has been around for some years now. The Franklin Institute states that the term was first used in the 1980s when Jaron Lanier created the first pair of goggles and gloves believed to allow people to experience virtual reality. When they think of VR, most people imagine gamers using technology to explore fictitious worlds and immerse into online life. But it does much more than offering gamers an engaging experience; it allows users to shut down the outside world and step into a new rea or imagined environment. 

Augmented Reality or AR offers users an interactive experience in a real-world scenario by adding digital data layers onto it. Pokémon Go uses an augmented reality technology to allow players to view Pokémons wandering around in the real world. 

When the two technologies come together, they create Mixed Reality (a new concept that is just starting to grow into shape). 

How does the gambling industry use AR and VR?

Many brick-and-mortar casinos already provide their clients with access to virtual reality rooms, so the next step is to include it in the online environment. Gambling operators worldwide use technology to impose their players in a virtual world. Their clients can play in a 3D environment that allows them to compete against other gamers, just like they'd do in a real-life casino. Since the technology adoption, the gambling industry has reached new popularity levels and entered new markets, like the Netherlands. While the Dutch have a long history with all kinds of betting and gambling (from poker to gokkasten), they've had a slow start with online gambling before it embraced the latest technologies. People from the Netherlands could gamble online for years because they had access to a large number of websites that offered gokkasten, sports betting, bingo, roulette, blackjack and poker, but the local authorities got behind the idea in 2019 when the Dutch Gaming Authority accepted and started processing the registration applications for online gaming licenses. At present, the Dutch gambling industry is the fastest-growing worldwide with technology enabling its rise. 

Virtual technology can transport people to famous casinos from over the world and allow them to visit exotic locations. While they visit a casino they've always dreamt of seeing, they can play slot machines, roulette, poker, blackjack, and even communicate with other players. A new world opens in front of them.

Augmented reality is supposed to take the gambling industry to another level because the technology makes it possible to superimpose real-world objects into the online world. This means that people playing the same game can see each other, enjoy an environment enhanced with realistic details, have a realistic sound accompaniment, and experience tactile sensations when interacting with the objects from the new reality. When gambling at a casino that provides augmented reality services, players can see the dealer come in, shake hands, hold and inspect the chops and cards, order drinks, and press buttons. Virtual and augmented reality technologies can provide users with a 360° view, so they can see what is going on around them and decide what they want to do, after analysing the other players' reactions. 

Despite the fact that the two technologies are taking big steps in the gambling industry, it's still a long road until the market fully adopts them because there are greater barriers to introducing the tech into games than using blockchain technology. The augmented reality and virtual reality software needed to provide players with an engaging gambling experience is still in development, and most operators won't use anything that doesn't promise a premium experience for their clients. The technology also requires special hardware that isn't fully developed. And where do you count that even the present versions are quite pricey? But as the tech world continues to proliferate, player immersion is something the gambling industry will soon provide. 

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