Will Virtual Reality Destroy Land-Based Casinos?

Casino Slots and Table Games, Guy Wearing VR Headset
For centuries, land-based casinos in the US were the only way to enjoy casino games. However, online gaming has become a more convenient alternative. But brick and mortar casinos still have one big advantage over their online counterparts—the experience.

In land-based establishments, you can actually sit at a table, hold cards, and chat with dealers. No form of gaming has ever replaced these experiences.

Live dealer casinos bring you closer to what brick and mortar venues offer. Live gaming, which features human dealers and real tables, streams action directly from a land based studio or casino.

However, not even live casinos are able to completely replace the feeling of actually being at a gambling venue. What can replicate this experience?

Virtual reality may be the next big step in the evolution of online gaming. VR can eliminate the screen that stands between you and a casino floor.

Assuming virtual reality gambling takes off, it may even replace brick and mortar casinos. I’m going to discuss whether this is a realistic possibility along with more on the current state of live gaming.

Where Is Live Dealer Gaming at Today?

Live dealer casinos are as lifelike as you can get when gambling through a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Again, these sites offer most of the same elements that a land-based casino does.

The croupier deals real cards on a standard casino table.

You can even converse with the dealer via a chat box. You simply type whatever question or comment you have into the box. The dealer can respond verbally whenever they have a chance.

The studios add a lot to the experience as well, with their high-quality streams, professional lighting, and their selection of different dealers.

One more great thing about live casinos is the game variety. Once relegated to classics like blackjack and roulette, live gambling has expanded to offer a larger range of table games. You can even look forward to more obscure offerings, such as Dream Catcher and Dragon Tiger.

What’s Currently Holding Live Casinos Back?

Live dealer sites have had plenty of success within the past decade. Many players appreciate having a chance to enjoy land-based casino games from the comfort of their living room.

However, live casinos don’t fully match the real-life gambling experience. The screen is the biggest thing holding you back from feeling like you’re truly sitting in a brick and mortar casino.

Live Online Casino Dealer on Computer Screen

Instead, you may simply feel like you’re Facetiming the casino and placing bets on the side. Looking at the table and cards through your phone or PC doesn’t offer complete realism.

Live gaming is definitely more realistic than virtual table games. The latter features a software-generated dealer, table, and cards.

But live casinos still have a screen separating you from the action. As long as this remains in effect, then live sites will never be totally perfect.

How Can Virtual Reality Upgrade Live Dealer Casinos?

Virtual reality is getting a second life after being dormant for the better part of two decades. Major tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Sony have made serious investments into this area.

Suddenly, VR is a hot topic again. The entertainment industry figures to benefit significantly if virtual reality finally becomes big among consumers.

The problem, though, is that VR still hasn’t gained widespread adoption. Certain people are buying headsets, but the masses aren’t.

Nevertheless, online gaming figures to benefit greatly if virtual reality reaches its potential. After all, VR can make you feel closer to the action than standard live dealer online casinos.

Virtual reality poker games have already been rolled out. They make it seem as if you’re really at the table by showing your hands, cards, and close proximity to opponents.

It’s only a matter of time before casino table games go VR as well. Baccarat, blackjack, and roulette are natural fits for this technology.

Will VR Help Live Dealer Gaming Catch Up to Land-Based Casinos?

VR has the potential to bring internet gaming closer to you than ever before. But will it truly catch online casinos up to the land-based experience?

Probably not. First off, virtual reality still has a long ways to go before hitting mainstream adoption. Even with tech giants pouring money into the industry, VR headsets aren’t flying off the shelves.

Around 20 million headsets sold in 2018. This figure might sound impressive, but it doesn’t come close to the 1.5 billion smartphones that were sold in the same year.

Even console gaming Is outselling VR by a wide margin. Over 70 million PlayStation 4s were sold last year, and this is just one type of console.

Sales and lack of adoption aren’t the only reasons why VR online gambling will struggle to replace land-based casinos. Here are a few other reasons to consider.

Virtual Reality Still Isn’t Amazing

Poor performance is one big aspect that previously held VR back. This technology received a big push in the 1980s, only to falter when it left users with headaches and disappointment.

Virtual reality is back again in the consumer market and better than ever. However, it’s still far from what many people expect.

Woman Wearing Virtual Reality Headset, Casino Slot Reels

The point of VR is to offer a more lifelike experience than what’s available through a screen. But recent virtual reality casino games don’t exactly live up to this vision.

For example, NetEnt’s Gonzo’s Quest has been re-released as a VR slot. Originally launched in 2010, this game is one of NetEnt’s greatest hits of all time.

The virtual reality version of Gonzo’s Quest doesn’t feel any better than the original. In fact, it seems worse from a visual perspective.

This game does allow you to look around the screen and get a closer view of the reels. However, the closeup graphics feel like a bad video game.

Not Much VR Gambling Available Right Now

You don’t have to look far for land-based gambling options these days. Many states and countries now feature at least one casino.

Virtual reality gaming is a different story. Few companies have taken the plunge into creating VR-based casinos and games.

SlotsMillion was the first casino to offer a virtual reality version. Their VR casino is housed in a skyscraper and is complete with slot machines, a bar, and lounger furniture.

PokerStars has beta tested a virtual reality poker room. The beta test occurred a while ago and little information has been offered on it since.

NetEnt is one of the few US casino gaming developers that’s gotten into the VR space. Aside from Gonzo’s Quest, they’ve also released a new version of Jack and the Beanstalk.

As you can see, the pickings are slim for virtual reality gambling. This tech hardly appears revolutionary thus far when so few games exist.

Most Gamblers Are Still Satisfied With Smartphone and PC Gaming

As they say, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. Real money online gambling is still highly popular around the world and may not need fixed just yet.

Live dealer casinos play a sizable role in this popularity. Many gamblers are still perfectly fine with pulling up a virtual seat at their favorite live dealer’s table.

Three Red Dice on Casino Table, Woman Looking at Smartphone

They’re already prepared for an experience that’s somewhat realistic, albeit not perfect. These players are okay with the screen impediment as long as they can see real cards and chat with dealers.

Few gamblers feel the need to abandon smartphones, tablets, and PCs or Macs in favor of a headset. The latter adds more cost and comes with a learning curve.

One day, players may see a VR headset as a necessity for enjoying their favorite table games. But that day isn’t now.

Conclusion

Nothing looks to supplant brick and mortar casinos in the foreseeable future. Current technology can’t replace the feeling of physically sitting at tables and slot machines.

Live dealer gaming is the closest thing to land-based casinos now. But it still has limitations when considering that it forces you to view everything through a screen.

Virtual reality has the potential to eliminate the screen view and bring you even closer to the tables and slots. The key word, though, is “potential.”

Even with the current revival of VR, this technology isn’t absolutely perfect. Recent efforts by NetEnt, PokerStars, and SlotsMillion haven’t really resulted in much for the industry.

Another problem is that this tech isn’t adopted yet. The sales of smartphones and gaming consoles are dwarfing those of VR headsets. Nobody is going to ditch land-based casinos for the virtual reality experience when they don’t even own a headset.

One more dilemma facing VR gambling is the satisfaction rate with current technology and internet gaming. Most people are content with playing casino games through their smartphone or computer. They don’t feel any desperation to run out and buy a VR set just to gamble with it.

Long story short, virtual reality gaming may still become big in the future. However, it may take a while for it to ever replicate what land-based casinos offer.