Virtual Reality Casinos
Real money gaming takes a step in to the future with next evolution casino gaming that delivers the full VR treatment.
The term ‘ Virtual Reality Casinos‘ is somewhat of a misnomer, because of course all online casinos are virtual in the sense of they’re not ‘real live’ establishments.
But here we’re talking about the new breed of innovative casinos which may be set to explode over coming years in the wake of recent developments in virtual reality gaming, or VR as it’s sometimes known.
I say ‘may be’ because there are a number of issues which are slowing up the growth of virtual reality in general.
If these can be overcome, these new VR casinos will offer the closest experience you can get to the real thing without leaving your home. Even more so than live casino gaming perhaps. Just don your VR headset, and you’ll be transported into a virtual reality casino environment which is immersive and entertaining in a way never seen before. They’ll be offering interest for casino fans and general cash prize video gaming fans alike.
On this page we’ll be taking a look at current operators, reviewing any new VR casinos as they go live, and equally as importantly any new games that get released by the major software developers.
How Virtual Reality Casinos Work
Online casinos are one of two types of businesses. They are either real money casinos or entertainment casinos. In an entertainment casino, the users can play the slots and various card games or spin the roulette wheel and not have any chance of winning money. With a real money casino, the business is trying to draw in players who want to win real cash.
Both of these platforms have been elevated over the years thanks to growing technologies, but they aren’t exactly the same as the real deal. VR is able to change all that, though.
Changes in virtual reality technology have made this new tech accessible and open to everyone. VR interfaces are not just simply giving players a new, more immersive slot machine. They can actually place players on the casino floors, giving them the illusion that they are in an actual casino. The gambling VR platform and VR headset can work together to create an enhanced experience that feels and looks like a real casino.
Users get to experience detailed rooms that they can explore fully. They also get to use slot machines that look realistic. The 3D tables allow them to take a seat with other players and interact with live dealers. They can even use hand gestures and observe the gestures of the players to make the experience more immersive.
It’s not just sights being offered by VR technology. Users can experience all the sounds that they associate with a casino, including special effects that help place them in a virtual environment. They can even chat with the other players through their headset. The casinos can offer lounges and other optional areas that enhance the experience and make it feel more lifelike.
Anyone that has a keen interest in casino gaming will know it’s not just the games and casinos that are important, but the firms that make the software too. The software is what drives the experience, what makes the games tick, and can mean the difference between an average experience and a great one.
There are some big names in casino software development and all of them will have an eye on where virtual reality casino games are heading. At the end of the day, it’s those software developers that may actually be the most important element in the way that VR casino gaming develops.
Let’s have a look at some of the names involved….
Lucky VR was the startup that kicked off the first partnership in VR casino gaming by teaming up with Slotsmillion, the first VR casino to open its doors.
So the Canada-based Lucky VR kicked off early, with a mission statement that made their intentions clear …..
”Lucky VR develops immersive virtual reality experiences specializing in casino gaming content. We take traditional casino games like slots, poker and blackjack and make them into engaging virtual reality applications for the Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR headsets. We’re experts at getting your brand into virtual reality and creating something that people will love to play”
It’s not surprising then that Lucky VR managed to replicate every aspect of a real casino in virtual format, presenting a replica of a real environment that could go down to small details, with branding features to make a player really feel as if they were on a live casino floor.
NetEnt VR Casino Software
NetEnt are one of the biggest names in online casino software suppliers, with a range of games developed over 20 years that are generally recognised as some of the most innovative and best quality you’ll get. They made it clear early on that they wanted to get a head start in the virtual reality market.
Their first title designed specifically for VR – Gonzo’s Quest – was actually based on an earlier popular version of the game that’ was already played in many casinos.
Netent have some big plans in VR casino gaming, using the ICE Totally Gaming event of 2016 to demonstrate what they’re aiming to deliver. This was admirably achieved in the slots demo which took slots players into ‘Jack’s World’, a VR version of a famous library title ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.
It’s worth noting that the visuals are not the only focus in Netent games, they clearly recognise the importance of sound too – something which is important in VR and adds to the immersive nature of the experience.
We should be seeing NetEnt virtual reality slots in online casinos by the end of 2017, or at least in the first few months of 2018.
Another great name in the industry – Microgaming have won many awards over the years and look sure to be in line when future awards are made for VR games. What would you expect from a software firm that created the first mobile casino software in 2004 and the first online slot designed to be played on a smartwatch in 2014.
Microgaming were quick to recognise the role of virtual reality in the future of casinos, a recognition demonstrated by their creation of Virtual Reality Roulette, the prototype of which was developed to be used alongside the Oculus Rift headset and Leap Motion hand controllers which act to represent your hands inside a VR experience.
In Microgaming’s roulette you’re sitting at a table and can actually see your hands placing the bets, while a robot croupier watches and spins when all bets are placed.
It’s a sure bet that this and other Microsoft VR casino games will be widely available come the early to middler part of 2018.
Quickspin are a Swedish developer who saw the potential in the new VR games industry and quickly made a move to put titles into SlotsMillion. That means their games are already available to play in virtual reality environments, including such titles as Wild Chase, Genies Touch, and a handful of others.
OK we’ve covered the gameor the piece of the puzzle that’s most important – where to actually play the games. Remember here that’s it’s still early days for virtual reality technology, so the numbers of casinos are limited.
In fact, highly limited and your best bet will be to head on over to Slotsmillion….
SlotsMillion VR Casino
One of the first online casinos to offer a virtual reality experience alongside it’s standard offering, SlotsMillion are well placed to capture an early share of the lucrative VR gaming market.
Using an Oculus Rift gaming headset, you’ll enter a skyscraper based casino that offers an enticing range of over 40 slot games both in VR format or traditional games from software developers such as NetEnt and NextGen.
In the virtual casino, immersion is the name of the game. The VR environment features an especially large slot gaming screen. Hit a big win and 3D graphics explode from the screen, with a multiplayer feature offering the ability to interact with other players.
SlotsMillion added 80 new slots titles in May of 2017, all supplied by software firm EGT Interactive. EGT integrate an interesting feature into some slots that’s known as Jackpot cards, and gives a player access to four different levels with mystery payouts and bonus games too.
The newer EGT games slot in well with existing virtual reality titles such as Gonzo’s Quest, Immortal Romance, Starburst, The Wild Chase, and branded products Basic Instinct and Rambo, all of which can be played for real money.
Heard About RiftSino VR Casino But Can’t Find It?
RiftSino was one of the early potential VR casino developments but sadly doesn’t seem to have escaped development phase. It promised a virtual reality casino that was designed exclusively to work with the Oculus Rift headset, and deliver games in a realistic virtual casino environment that would have the look and feel of a Las Vegas bricks and mortar establishment.
We’ll be keeping an eye open for future iterations of Riftsino. Sometimes these type developments seem to die a death and the see some type of resurrection in a different form.
Although not fully live yet you can get a taster of the games at JackpotVR. Currently you can play games in desktop mode or using an Oculus Rift.
The website states that there will be ”Support for more HMD’s as they are released” although there are no real money games yet.
JackpotVR does not currently support gambling for real money but still may be worth keeping an eye on for the future.
You’ll find a range of different games in SlotsMillion and of course any others that come online. In fact all of the regular games you’ll find in an online casino will eventually be playable in virtual reality too. Here we’ll explore some specific games that have been built to take advanatage of the real life feel that virtual reality delivers.
Blackjack Bailey VR
BJ Bailey is a game where you can’t win real money, but is still worth a look in for the entertainment value. It was developed by iCandy Games in partnership with Hologram LTD, a virtual-reality sounding name if ever there was one!
Who’d have guessed it? Blackjack Bailey sits you right in front of a blackjack dealer, with straightforward and standard blackjack rules.
The big difference of course is that you’re playing a virtual reality dealer as if you were really there. The game can be downloaded from various locations such as the Oculus store for free, and there’s nothing to pay for or buy after you’ve made the initial game purchase. Just straight VR gaming fun for a few dollars.
Casino VR Poker
Poker has huge potential to become one of the most played VR gambling games (although as we know, poker is not really gambling but skill-based, right?).
The main poker operators though have not been so fast out of the gate with VR poker games. Clearly they’re biding their time and there may be a little diversion over the next couple of years with the introduction of power up poker games.
So at the moment your options for playing virtual reality poker are limited.
Certainly there are no real money options, but one version that’s worth trying out is Casino VR Poker. It’s a free play, competitive online poker game that can be enjoyed on both major VR headsets, namely the Samsung Gear VR and the Oculus Rift.
Casino VR Poker is something that has come out of Switzerland and features a very detailed looking interface and players complete with full bodies. There are Texas Hold’em tables and immersive voice chats. It works on a few different platforms, including Oculus Rift and Gear VR.
A word of warning though – the Gear VR players don’t look as lifelike and animated as their Oculus Rift counterparts. There may be support for this product through Steam in the near future.
When playing this game, you’ll be gifted a stack of chips to start with, and can purchase more through the app or win them in poker games. The chips are not able to be changed in for real cash though as this is an entertainment casino only – it definitely doesn’t sit in any list of real money games.
The different tables all have their own buy-in levels, made to operate like the real deal. It’s usually the more skilled players who win all the chips, and players can compare themselves to each other and see who is getting the most chips.
The software still needs a lot of work to deliver a truly immersive experience, but it’s fun for some less serious poker gaming.
The real good thing about online poker in VR may come from the benefits to recreational players, so called because they’re not the pro level players you can get roasted by at current online poker tables. This benefit may come in the form of more visibility around who you’re playing and more specifically what they’re using to enhance their play. It’s likely the software like bots and HUDs won’t be so easily accessible by players at virtual reality tables, giving the recreational players more of a chance to win some hands.
The training experience can also get a lift, with enhanced interaction between trainer and learner. And let’s not forget one of the great benefits of VR in that it can place you in the virtual company of just about anyone or anything. Fancy playing poker against an alien anyone? Or an avatar of The Terminator?
If you don’t have a virtual reality headset yet, there are plenty of alternatives if you want some casino action.
You can go to a land based casino of course, though many find them somewhat intimidating. Of course you can try out many different types of casino games at regular online casinos.
But for an interesting option you could take a look at Dragons.tl, which looks to be the first platform to get anywhere close to delivering something even close to the promise of ‘real’ virtual reality without going the whole headset/true virtual reality experience.
Is Dragons.tl really a VR casino game though?
Strictly speaking no. At Dragons.tl, you don’t actually use a headset to ‘transport’ yourself into the gaming environment – the platform delivers a mixture of skill and luck based challenges in a virtual island setting. Learn and conquer the secrets of the island and win Bitcoins as you go.
Enter the virtual world of trees, water features, and castles and interact with other players using avatars. Use your skills to unlock the secrets of the island, maybe seeking help from mentors along the way.
Clearly not the full VR experience and more of a virtual world gaming one. But still worth a try.
Live Casino Games
Now this really is an alternative to virtual reality, and is about as real as it gets without walking through the doors of your closest real world casino.
There are plenty of websites that offer the full live experience online. Using cameras, video, and streaming technology you can be placing real bets with live dealers on a range of games, all streamed to your desktop or portable device.
To enjoy any virtual reality experience you’ll need a headset, and there are plenty to choose from. Many aren’t that great though, and to get the best experience you’ll need probably need to lay out a fair amount of money.
The Oculus Rift is perhaps the best known, with the HTC Vive being its nearest competitor. There’s a new kid on the block though in the shape of Microsoft, who are pushing their version of headsets under the banner of Mixed Reality.
In the area of casino gaming specifically, it’s the Rift that’s taking the lead. While there may not be a lot of games to compare and contrast here, it has a ton of power backing it up, which makes for more immersive and interactive worlds.
Casino VR uses the Oculus Rift, but to perform well, you’ll need a powerful PC running it. If you use the Android Gear VR (one of the cheaper smartphone-powered headsets, the experience is far less immersive.
Google has their own VR headset, the Daydream, which works with any Android smartphone. It isn’t compatible yet with either any of the games we’ve listed, but the technology is being worked on and Casino VR Poker may be compatible with it in the near future.
If you’re read down this far, you’ll most likely already have a good feeling for the benefits of playing casino games in virtual reality. Quite simply the main draw is going to be the immersive nature of the experience, but added benefits include the potential for some interesting interactions with other players.
There are a few drawbacks, one or two of which will lessen over time.
The first is in the technology. It’s not yet perfect and VR has a way to go till all of the technical hitches have been resolved. Most of this centres around time lag, a problem which will ultimately be resolved.
Cost is also worth noting, with the best VR setups costing anywhere up to $2000. That’s for a top end headset and the powerful PC you’ll need to drive it, but even the cheaper headsets that work with mobile phones still need the smartphone as the starting point. They’re anywhere up to $700.
Costs will come down of course.
There’s also the usual risk of addiction which is there with any form of gaming for money. As always, make sure you read the responsible gaming page and learn how to recognise and avoid the risk of addition.
One big trick with online casinos in general is knowing which ones to trust. There are some rogues, and the unregulated nature of casino gaming in some regions might mean that fly-by-night VR casinos spring up too.
Lastly something which is particular to the VR experience – there are some dangers from the immersion you”ll experience. These often come in the form of potential injuries to players who get ‘lost’ in the games. This can be easy to do, although playing the types of casino games you’re likely to is unlikely to catch out anyone who’s reasonably careful.
As usual there are a handful of resources which might be useful.
You’ll find a good collection of VR casino videos on Youtube. Clearly limited at present but there are some well worth a watch.
If it’s latest information you want there is plenty posted regularly on the popular social networks. Twitter is always worth keeping an eye on while Facebook is obviously going to have some useful info too. Tumblr posts on VR casino games are limited to less than a handful but are another potential useful resource.
No doubt there will be dozens of affiliate style review websites springing up, but for now most won’t offer any extra value over this page on RealMoney.games. One that’s worth bookmarking which covers virtual reality in general is the directory site at VRIndex.
VRTalk looks to be one of the most popular forums on VR, with a number of threads dedicated to covering different aspects of VR casino gaming.
For many years if you wanted to play casino games you’d have been going straight to one of the major online casinos like 888 or Bovada, but the ways in which we play are steadily changing.
Now you’re just as likely to be playing social games or even thinking about how you might be able to apply skill to the traditional luck-based gambling games. ‘Straight’ casino gaming probably won’t cut it on its own any more, particularly if you’re a member of one of the younger generations.
So where do virtual reality casinos fit in, and where’s their future heading?
We don’t know what the future of online VR casinos will be like. We can only guess at this point, and to some extent it is futile to guess what’s going to happen. We don’t have a large sampling size to draw our estimates and guesses from.
But clearly new technology is appealing and there’s no doubting the allure of the VR experience, while gambling itself is often undertaken for the thrill of the chase rather than an expectation of winning money. That’s definitely a potent combination, though the ultimate end result is likely to be a combination of a range of gaming experiences – traditional casino games, social gaming, skill gaming, VR, and augmented reality.
On the virtual reality front specifically, advances in technology will be a big driver. We’ve already seen that headset performance needs to be improved and costs need to come down. That will happen over time.
But it’s the exciting things that VR can deliver that will be the ultimate test. There are possibilities which are easy to see – introducing elements of danger into the gaming for example, such as having to walk a tightrope between two 1000 metre high buildings to double your winnings, or taking us to other worlds to play games, and possibilities which haven’t even been thought of yet.
There’s an interesting development in slots by a firm called IGT. Known as Sphinx 3D, it’s essentially a 3D slot but has features which take it close to a VR experience without needing a headset. Spinx 3D presents you with a 3D screen which is glass free, and uses an integrated eye-tracking solution which detects your position and eye movements to ”make images jump off the screen or stretch into infinity in high resolution”.
There are some US casinos that offer VR platforms to those who visit their establishments. It’s possible that US casinos will produce their own online VR experiences in the future as they try to keep up with the competition.
For now, playing virtual reality casino games could be considered as a niche way of enjoying real money gaming. There is no huge competition between operators and places to play are limited.
The promise of virtual reality though is so big that the gambling industry will eventually give more than its fair share of opportunities. Ultimately it’s entirely possible that all casino gaming will take place in VR environments – a situation that’s many years off but we all know how fast things can move when something big happens with technological advancements.
If you have a good quality headset and the gear to go with it, you can enjoy casino games in VR right now. If you’re not ready then in a few years – assuming VR does grow as expected – it’s a fair bet that any casino games you play online will be in a virtual reality environment.
Virtual reality casinos are definitely lucrative prospects, as this industry has a lot of money floating around, and investors are sure to step in and get in on the action. Of course, there is no guarantee of success, and not every developer and online casino business will be able to successfully develop or integrate VR technology into their site.
Any casino gaming operator wanting to make a huge profit in the future is going to have to consider getting on board with this technology. The industry is expected to drastically increase its earnings over the next couple years, and we know those online casinos are great money-making machines right?
They’re all surely going to want a piece of the pie.