The release of the Apple Vision Pro headset marks the dawn of a new era for online gambling. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The future is here
Technologists have regaled the general public for many years now about what amazing products and services will be available in the future thanks to artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
the gateway for a lot of people is augmented reality
While these sectors are gradually becoming more and more prominent, the gateway for a lot of people is augmented reality (AR). It’s a way for people to open their eyes to the future without having to depart too much from the present. AR doesn’t totally replace reality, just enhances it.
Pokémon Go was one of the first AR experiences that took the world by storm. Over 500 million people downloaded the app in the summer of 2016 and chased their favorite creatures around the place. Now with the release of Apple’s Vision Pro headset, it looks like big changes are on the horizon of online gambling.
Vision Pro game changer
Different headsets have been on the market for a number of years. They were often expensive, clunky, and stomach-churning devices that didn’t deliver a fulfilling experience. Gradual improvements mean that they are now becoming a desirable product among the masses. This is helped by Apple’s release of its Vision Pro headset, which is now available to purchase at a starting price of $3,499:
The product was released in the US on February 2, 2024 and it appears that sales are strong so far. Early reports are very encouraging about the quality of its eye and hand-tracking capabilities.
The release of the first iPod in 2001 and the initial iPhone in 2007 were massive inflection points that changed their industries forever. While the initial models weren’t perfect, they paved the way to where we are today. Apple knows how to innovate and create polished products that everyone needs to have.
It did take time for adoption to take off. The iPhone, for example, sold just 1.4 million devices in its first year and since then has shipped more than 1.5 billion devices. It takes time for people to understand the capabilities of exciting new technologies.
blurs the lines between AR and VR
Apple reportedly had 200,000 pre-orders for the Vision Pro before its US release. The device blurs the lines between AR and VR so gamblers can get the best of both worlds. Some popular Kick streamers already are using the Apple Vision Pro for their gambling content, including SteveWillDoIt, Vitaly, and Taylor Lewan.
Another major step forward
The online gambling space has gradually tiptoed its way to becoming more and more realistic. The beginning days were filled with clunky games with blocky graphics. Today, the action is in HD quality. The emergence of live casino games meant that people could still see real dealers and cards, despite not sitting at the casino in the flesh.
People can now sit at home, put on a headset, and feel like they are physically sitting in a casino. These developments will only add to the interest and operators will start to offer more customization options for players.
The global online gambling market was worth $63bn in 2022 and only continues to grow. The AR and VR markets last year were worth about $57bn and $79bn, respectively.
The advantages are obvious. You’ll be able to see things like in-game stats and probabilities clearly displayed in front of you and feel like you’re actually picking up the cards. When you look around you will see your fellow players, while the dealer will be in front of you dealing the cards or spinning the wheel.
While online casinos aren’t going to be churning out AR experiences overnight, they certainly need to look down the track as this is coming like a freight train. People now want to feel like they are pulling the arm of a slot machine or looking at their cards.
Some games will have holograms of dealers, while others will have a more immersive environment. You’ll clearly see the last few wins on the game, as well as historical data like where the roulette ball finished on the past ten spins.
Wearing headsets at land-based casinos can also be an option, allowing patrons to learn info about the game at hand, see their loyalty rewards, and take part in challenges around the property.
Development companies have struggled to transition certain games from real life play to online. One of these is craps, likely because it is difficult to recreate the group camaraderie aspect of the game. Land-based properties in Nevada took in over $467m in revenue from craps games in 2023, so it’s a potential gold mine for online operators if AR and VR versions hit the market.
Microgaming and NetEnt are two of the biggest producers of casino games today and both have VR-focused teams. The latter has a Gonzo’s Quest VR slot game in which players enter a fantasy world, while the former has a very popular VR roulette game up and running.
Taking sports betting to another level
It’s not just online casinos that will benefit from the growing use of AR headsets. Sports bettors will also be able to enjoy an immersive digital media experience. Major US sports leagues now have AR apps that allow people to watch live action while also seeing interactive graphics, odds, and stats.
The MLB Vision Pro app enables people to watch games as if they were sitting in the stands, while the NBA’s app lets users view up to five games at the same time and see relevant data:
Bettors can have their sportsbook account open beside the live footage to quickly place bets. People can quickly make decisions about their wagers as all the data is in one place, no longer needing to open a million tabs on a phone or computer.
The ability to watch numerous games simultaneously means that live betting will become even more popular. Research from the European Betting and Gaming Association (EGBA) shows that 38% of wagers in 2022 were in-play bets and this share is constantly growing.
Some studies show that immersion can lead to increased chances of someone suffering from problem gambling. The speed and ease at which people can bet will be important considerations for regulators, as well as the protection of at-risk people.
Micro-betting is only taking off and it will likely experience a big boom in the coming years, with more people wanting to bet on what they think will happen on each and every play. Placing bets through voice commands is also something that will come in the near future. Operators will now be able to get more creative with their marketing, offering all types of exclusive content, promotions, and competitions are all possibilities.