MIC – Imagin@rium VIRTUAL REALITY” (CC BY 2.0) by  pallina60 Loon 

The way we ante-up and play online casino games is changing. In reality the industry is constantly changing, but in the coming years we’re set to see a potentially seismic shift in the way we play games such as roulette.

Why, you may ask? Well, thanks to the advent of virtual reality (VR) technology, gaming is set to become more immersive and more interactive than ever before. While the VR industry as a whole is still in its infancy, the experts are predicting that it will be worth $4 billion by 2018.

With headsets from the likes of Oculus Rift and Samsung now filtering out to VR hungry consumers, estimates are that 2.5 million devices will be sold in 2016. This gradual proliferation of devices will then snowball and, within three years, VR experts believe 24 million headsets will have been sold.

Roulette Set to Become Virtually Real

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Samsung Gear VR” (CC BY 2.0) by  pestoverde 

Inevitably, the online casino industry is going to get swept up in this tech revolution in the same way it’s embraced virtually every other innovation over the last two decades. In fact, one company that’s already hedging its bets on VR is Microgaming. The software developer is currently working on a VR version of roulette which will combine Oculus Rift headsets with Leap 3D controllers to create a virtual casino world.

However, before this product becomes a staple fixture of the industry and the norm for players, more work needs to be done. Naturally, to see where we’re going as an industry, we need to look at where we’ve been and where we are now.

One of the biggest trends we’ve seen in the iGaming industry over the last three years is the rise in popularity of live dealer games. Fusing the power of RFID chips and webcams to create an authentic yet efficient gaming environment, these games have taken the industry by storm and that’s for one simple reason: players want more realism.

The Quest for Realism

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ImmersiON VRelia Virtual Reality Headset” (CC BY 2.0) by  pestoverde 

Indeed, when you play roulette at Betway the roster of games is clearly designed to suit players of all persuasions. From low stakes European tables set in a virtual world, to mobile roulette that allows you to play a scaled down version of the game whenever you like, the site has something for everyone.

However, it’s the live dealer roulette tables that seem to appeal to players at both ends of the gaming spectrum. Aside from the HD webcams offering 200 frames-per-second views from multiple angles, the croupiers are on hand to make everyone feel welcome. Just as they would do in a real casino, they greet players, help explain the rules and engage in idle chat in between rounds.

This dynamic is the real reason players of all skill levels are flocking to these games. Moreover, it’s the reason players are now crying out for more realism. While the advent of VR roulette won’t replace the current suite of games (just as live dealer tables didn’t replace virtual games), it’s highly likely these games will become a huge hit with players.

Greater Authenticity Means Greater Entertainment

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re:publica 2015 – Tag 1” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  re:publica 2016 

Ever since the iGaming started to pique the interest of the masses at the turn of the millennium, operators have been looking for ways to make their games more accessible, more efficient and, importantly, more realistic. Even though many players would now choose the simplicity of online gaming over brick and mortar gaming, the latter is still hugely entertaining.

Capturing the full effect of a live casino such as the Bellagio in Las Vegas isn’t easy, but innovations such as VR roulette are certainly a step towards that goal. Indeed, if we chart the evolution of the industry using a platform like Betway, we can see that simple animations have gradually made way for live action as players demand more authenticity.

So, if you’re looking for the next major milestone in the iGaming industry, virtual reality is certainly it. However, quite when and how this revolution will hit remains to be seen.