Virtual Reality Real Money Games & Gambling
Gambling for real money in VR offers a chance to play cash games that place you deep into the heart of the gaming action as if you were really there.
Did you know Virtual Reality Gambling is here already?
VR is like one of those trains you see in the movies. You’re on the track, you can hear the sizzling of the rails, and you know the train is going to come into view any minute. And you’re right in it’s way.
When the VR locomotive does hit it could truly change the ways we experience gambling games in a big way, and real money gambling is right up there as one of them. A recent study by Technovia suggests the virtual reality gambling industry may be worth a billion dollars by the year 2025.
If you don’t know already, Virtual Reality (or simply VR as it’s often known) is the term given to the technology that can submerse us deep into virtual worlds as if we were really there.
VR will ultimately offer a cost effective, simple way to enjoy experiences that recreate real life experiences in as close a way as possible without actually being there. In particular, it will add a whole new dimension to playing games for real money. Just consider what it would be like playing virtual world games where you earn money, for example.
So how is this done?
The answers is with a combination of headsets, software, video, and other hardware. With each of these in perfect combination you can be effectively transported to an alternative virtual reality. Or at least your brain can believe you are.
In this last paragraph lies the clue in how VR can affect how we experience games, and more to the point for this page in how we experience real money gambling games in virtual reality.
You can read more about how virtual reality works in this excellent Guardian article, but on this page we’ll look at how much progress virtual reality has made already into real money gaming, the types of games that are either available to play now or may be developed in future with VR versions, and where those future developments in VR may lead us…..
Our first step in an introduction to virtual reality gambling is an interesting video. This video takes a look at the poker games on offer at VR Casino – the video was created and posted originally on Twitch.tv.
Which Real Money Games Can You Play In Virtual Reality Right Now?
You could have lined up any of our 21 types of real money games as prime candidates for the VR treatment, and as we’ll see soon there are a bunch of good reasons why many of them will give an outstanding experience.
Perhaps the one that’s the least surprising is the one you might have expected – online casino games. But poker games in virtual reality are not far behind, and ultimately we should see all of the ways to play real money games having some sort of VR version.
Let’s take a look at a few in more detail……
Casino gaming was always going to be first in line, and for a number of reasons…
Casino games are already popular on the social gambling networks which should attract large numbers of social gamers, they’re generally exciting and will offer good gameplay in virtual reality, and there is an extensive range of game types to experiment with.
Already there is one operator that’s got a head start on the competition – SlotsMillion – who are offering an extensive catalogue of VR titles.
If SlotsMillion can attract virtual reality fans in big enough numbers, it won’t be long before some of the other big name online casinos sit up and take notice.
Online poker has it a troubled period in its history, with player numbers dwindling from the highs of the last ten years. The industry needs something to shake it up, and it could be that playing Texas Holdem or Omaha in virtual reality is what will take online poker back up the list of most popular real money games.
As with casino games, the choice of where to play in VR is limited right now, with the best place to try out being Casino VR Poker. It’s based on play money for now and is far from perfect but this app-based poker game lets you play immersive multiplayer games while interacting with opponents.
The day might not be too far away where you’re sitting down to a few hands with a WSOP tournament winner, and you won’t need to go all the way to Vegas to do it either!
Online bingo has a reputation of being one of the most social gambling games, with many fans playing simply because of that social aspect. Since one of the main benefits of virtual reality may turn out to be in the way it increases social contact, it’s not difficult to see bingo games in VR growing in popularity.
If you’ve never been to a live bingo hall, you could be surprised by a virtual reality version which does manage to reproduce the experience. Bingo hall regulars go because they love the show, the interaction between the caller and players, and of course the chance of winning some cash.
Sadly at time of writing we’re still waiting to see the first virtual reality bingo hall, but you can be sure that one of the big operators like Mecca are keeping a close eye on developments.
Playing video games for money probably has the broadest appeal of any type of real money games. When you match up this appeal with the fact that games in general are already the major driver of virtual reality interest, you’ll easily be able to recognise the likelihood that video game gambling in VR will end up at the top of the tree.
In fact it’s hard to tell exactly just how far it can actually go, given the wildly extensive list of potential developments.
For an illustration of this potential consider the VR game The Brookhouse Experiment. It’s one of the early successes for VR in the horror gaming, first person shooter genre which lends itself well to a ‘real’ experience which you wouldn’t normally get.
In late 2016 the game publisher Gamblit Gaming formed a partnership with Phosphor Games to transform the game and give it a virtual reality real money twist – a way of playing for real money in location-based contests.
As a competitor in these contests you will find yourself kitted out with a VR headset and associated accessories while roaming the confines of a VRC Virtual Reality Cube gaming platform. The more confident you feel about handling whatever comes at you in the game, the more you might be wagering on your ability to overcome it.
It’s all gone fairly quiet since the announcements on the development at the end of 2016 – and that’s likely down to some heavy work that needs to go into making sure the end product delivers a high quality experience. If the partnership are successful though it could end up being one of the leading lights of arcade type VR experiences.
We’ve seen before that real money virtual world gaming can offer different ways to make some cash. Virtual World gaming in VR though takes it to a whole new level and opens up some interesting possibilities.
Siege VR is one game that might have a real money version on the agenda. This game is one in which you protect your own virtual castle from attack by armies and catapults. It works well in VR and it’s easy to see how it could either be adapted to give some form of real money play, or maybe venture into the realm of professional Esports.
Siege VR may be one of the first virtual world games to be seen being used for competitive gaming in casinos, and a version that fits the bill is already under development by games developer IGT.
Unless you’re one of the top video game players, it’s likely that your experience of Esports has either been limited watching contests or perhaps playing in real money video game tournaments against other gamers.
But that doesn’t mean that the real money gambling aspect of VR Esports wouldn’t work, and when the opportunity does arise it’ll most likely be in the form of betting.
Betting on the outcome of esports is growing, and with the rise and rise of Esports in general is likely to gain further prominence in the list of bookmakers offers.
Imagine a first person shooter game where you’re watching two top Esports teams battling it out. Plenty of esports fans are watching that type stuff now, but VR could place you right into a viewing position deep within the game itself, and with a bet riding on the outcome it could make the action even more adrenaline-filled.
Virtual Reality Sports Betting
We touched on this aspect of gambling in VR in the section on Esports above. Here we move from playing gambling games to win money, to betting on the outcome of games involving players or events.
Betting on the outcomes of sporting events has always been one of the purest forms of gambling. There are two key reasons for this:
1. Sports betting gives punters a chance to make winning bets based on a level of skill and knowledge.
2. Once you’ve placed a bet, there are normally always options for watching your chosen event live.
Watching live has obvious benefits. But it also opens up a whole new facet of sports betting that’s going to explode in coming years – and that will come when the technology is there to combine virtual reality with the sports betting experience.
The top names in virtual reality gambling
There are some big firms that are currently putting a lot of focus into virtual reality technology. Some are directly involved in gambling-related operations, while some are more focused on the technology itself and the devices used as enablers:
- Alea Gaming Ltd.
- Telsa Studios
- Google, Inc.
- Linden Labs
- HTC Corporation
- VirZoom Inc.
- Microsoft Corp.
There are some figures being bandied around that suggest the virtual reality gambling industry could be worth up to $1 billion within 4 or 5 years. We know those type figures don’t mean a lot, right? But it does suggest the industry has a lot of potential.
So where are the real money players going to come from?
Throughout 2021 and as we head through 2022, there may be some clues as to the answer.
The first is in the cost of VR equipment. For a mobile phone VR headset the entry point is low, and for a few tens of dollars you can be getting some reasonably worthwhile experiences.
But it’s not until you get to using the higher end VR devices that the true potential of the technology hits home. And that costs money if you’re looking to do it at home!
An HTC Vive or Oculus Rift will set you back somewhere from $400 to $600, but for them to perform well they need to be hooked up to an expensive (powerful) PC set up. Now you’re talking about $2000 all in. More if you go the whole nine yards and invest in accessories too. More recent headsets have appeared at much lower cost, with some of these being good enough to give a worthwhile experience.
With these costs, VR cannot quite reach the masses it needs to in order to become fully accepted. And without that acceptance there’s less drive to perfect a lower cost solution that works perfectly. It’s a vicious circle that might act as an anchor around VR’s feet.
All this means that most home-based users of higher end VR are well enough off to take some risks with gambling if they choose, and it might be the high roller casino players that you’re most likely to see frequenting a virtual reality casino.
You can take a similar view of how VR gambling works outside the home too. For that we can consider the bricks and mortar casinos of Las Vegas as an example.
Many will be (or are) considering putting some form of virtual reality entertainment on to the casino floors. There will be a cost somewhere of course, although maybe that’ll come from the gambling profits to the casinos if it’s successful.
Either way all of this means that anyone enjoying some form of VR gambling is likely to be fairly well off, at least for the next couple of years. That doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘normal’ everday punters won’t be able to get a piece of the action…just that the action will probably not be of a sufficient quality to give it more than a passing interest.
If you’ve read through to this point you’ll have a pretty good idea of the best bits of VR gambling. The technology – if applied well – turns games into experiences, and that’s what virtual reality is all about. Throw gambling into the mix and you have an experience that can take the best out of exciting games and marry it up with the thrill of real money gaming.
That’s from a players perspective of course, but the benefits for the gambling industry are very real too – increased interest brings more money to the industry, which fuels even better experiences.
All of which ultimately filters down to more opportunities for us players.
Now for the negatives, and our old friend ‘addiction’ raises its head of course.
It’s a big potential problem with any form of gambling and is covered on our responsible gambling page. Make sure you read it and understand the risks before getting involved in any form of real money gaming.
But it’s worth noting here that addiction takes many forms, and one of those is addiction to adrenaline and excitement. Combine this with addiction to gambling, and you could find that virtual reality creates you more problems than you bargained for.
The advice is as always to be very cautious when gambling, perhaps even more so in this instance.
Besides the addiction issue which is apparent in any form of gambling, there’s another problem for VR from a cost perspective. Headsets are not cheap, although prices are coming down. Any gamer that’s already spent potentially thousands of dollars ion a gaming setup is not going to worry too much about a few hundred extra for a headset, but a normal casino player looking to try out virtual reality casino gaming may baulk at the cost and at spending their gambling bankroll on the technology rather than on the games.
Many gamblers also play on mobile phones rather than desktop PCs, adding another problem to the mix.
..and what does Virtual Reality gambling offer over real life gaming?
It’s a good question, and one which haters of VR will be throwing out for the coming years. Why would you want to have experiences in virtual reality which you could have in real life?
You could argue that’s a negative for VR yes. But actually you just need to see it as an enhancement. An extra. There’s nothing to stop you having those real life experiences, provided finance and other requirements are in place to do so. But you can use VR if those aren’t, and even in addition.
We could debate that the current offerings of live casino games (which you play online but with real dealers) give an equally good return in the excitement stakes, and that’s partly true of course. They’re mature enough now to deliver a satisfactory gaming experience for sure.
What about the software/hardware performance in virtual reality gambling?
Another drawback we should think about here is in what’s known as latency. It’s the time lag you sometimes see in games and live videos, where the movement seems too slow for what’s happening. In virtual reality it’s about the delay between moving your head to look at something, and your surroundings reacting to that movement.
It’s less of a problem with more expensive devices, but still is one of the problems the technology needs to fully overcome.
…and that old chestnut – Regulation
The legal situation is one which every gambler needs to be aware of, particularly in those countries or regions where it might be a problem. the problem for VR gambling will probably come from those operators who are working outside of regulations, and also for those in regulated jurisdictions where they have to meet certain rules to remain compliant.
It’s possible that the use of Virtual Reality may cause some compliance issues, and unfortunately there are early signs that some gambling jurisdictions will want some restrictions on access.
There are not that many additional resources yet on our subject, fairly unsurprising given it’s a new technology. In fact this page is one of the most complete you’ll find, certainly at a reasonable level.
There are a few webpages worth noting though, one of which titled the psychological impact of gambling in virtual reality explores just that and is worth a read to get a handle on what VR might be doing to your brain.
So VR gambling games have a lot going for them, don’t they?
We’ve seen that casino gaming in VR in particular is already here, with poker not far behind. Other types of games we’ve covered will no doubt follow on.
But what of the future. Where might gambling games in virtual reality be headed?
Increase competition as the technology matures will do a lot of good of course, and there could be some great innovations on the way:
Maybe games manufacturers will be adding an element of danger to the gaming to increase the excitement – perhaps a poker game where you’re threatened by a shady character every time you win a hand? Or a new slot where you have to climb a virtual cliff face to get a double your money bonus win?
It’s likely that social real money gaming will provide one of the main crossover points, with that form of gaming on the increase and with its high visibility to the younger generations that may be attracted to the newness of virtual reality. If the social gambling sites can get some skill-based gaming into their libraries they could see some explosive growth.
There are plenty of different ways of playing games for real money, with some giving either a better value experience or better chances of winning than others.
If you want something different though, you need to look to new developments in the gambling industry, and you can’t get much ‘newer’ than virtual reality.
Its growing fast. Over recent years some of the more innovative software providers have turned their attention to developing virtual reality versions of their most popular games. Evolution Gaming is a name well-known in the gambling industry that recently released its first VR live casino game – Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt.
In casino gaming, Slots Million runs a virtual reality casino with a library containing dozens of games.
Not surprisingly, online poker operators are taking a big interest in the technology. Global poker operator PokerStars is already a player, with PokerstarsVR already available to players on Steam. We’ve come a long way since the days of 3D poker and PKR, and the graphics in use now in VR poker games are hugely more advanced than anything seen before.
Gaming in VR has already taken its first steps. It’s on a journey that might well change the way we play real money games forever, and coming along for the ride on that journey are the virtual reality versions of many gambling games we’ve come to love.
It’s early days, but for an early adopter of VR technology there are already some good opportunities. if you’re sitting on the fence or waiting for the technology to mature further or come down in price, you may already be missing out on some great experiences! This is a trend in real money gaming that seems all set to become mainstream, and the innovations we’ve seen already may well not have yet reached the pinnacle of what the technology can really do.