The Growing Trend of VR
Given that it was technical innovation that gave rise to the online casino back in the mid- 1990s, it’s not surprising that gambling sites are keen to remain abreast of latest developments and have consequently begun to introduce VR into their gaming experiences. It’s now estimated that the global VR gambling industry will reach a value of $2.4 billion by 2024, with South Africa set to take its share, catapulting this format high in gambling popularity stakes.
The role of VR in South Africa’s online casino scene is definitely a growing trend, shaping the future of the sector. It’s transporting players almost anywhere, from the comfort of their own couches. VR extends from gambling in a virtual casino to putting punters at the centre of sporting events including virtual soccer matches, horse racing (including seeing the race from the jockey’s point of view - scary and exhilarating at the same time!), and tennis. With the right equipment – a pair of VR goggles or glasses - online gambling is transforming before our eyes – literally!
Pros and Cons of VR at Online Casinos
- Ability to create avatars, protecting players' identities.
- Replicates the real-life experience of participating in an event or a brick-and-mortar casino.
- Full immersion with sights and sounds, creating a thrilling online casino and betting experience.
- Convenience of enjoying the experience from home, avoiding second-hand tobacco smoke and tipping obligations.
- Some experiences can be disconcerting for players.
- Difficulty discerning "deep fake" characters from real people due to realistic computer graphics.
- Uncertainty about whether the dealer and other gamers are real or animated avatars.
- VR may not be suitable for everyone, and preferences may vary.
Which Sites Offer VR Gaming?
Sites that are offering VR gaming to South Africans include Sportingbet, and Betway which offers speedway and stock car racing, along with tennis, table tennis and a number of other sporting codes. It’s always important to verify if the site you have chosen is licenced, as some gambling jurisdictions are not regulating 3D or VR casinos.
VR has a number of other roles and applications in the online gaming context including being used for training. VR can replicate gambling scenarios and can be especially useful for dealers, croupiers etc. It can also be used as a marketing and advertising tool for casinos, drawing in new punters to experience what they have to offer with free trials, for example. Additionally, social scientists can use VR gambling material as a research tool, observing human behaviour under different circumstances.
VR is set to play an increasing role in the online gaming world, both in South Africa and globally. As a new generation of gamers demands more stimulation, more extra sensory, realistic and immersive experiences, the sophistication of the gaming environments will grow. In addition, it is anticipated that any number of new games will make their debut in the VR world.
Who knows where online gambling can go with VR and beyond? We’ll wager that the answer is wherever we can imagine and wherever technology can take us. 🚀
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