The Shape of Online Gambling in 2016

The gambling industry was always quick to adopt new technologies. The first online casinos have been released soon after the internet became accessible for the masses. When the first smartphones appeared, casinos were quick to launch their own mobile gambling platforms in response. And with the rise of smartwatches came the first slot machine to run on them. Social casinos, much like free slots at Grizzly Gambling, are now accessible to everyone at the planet. But the evolution of gambling has not stopped there.

This year will see the rise of a new technology – virtual reality – capable of changing the face of online gambling for good. The first VR headsets will become commercially available during the year, opening up new possibilities for many industries, from gaming to all forms of online entertainment, and gambling, too. But don't expect it to be a sudden change. As VR will take time to become a part of our everyday life, so will more and more industries adapt to its use.

The first forays into virtual gaming have already been made. Isle of Man based developer Microgaming has showcased its first virtual casino game at a major trade show last year. The game, a virtual roulette table, offered players a never before seen level of immersion, allowing them not just to see the roulette wheel spin in virtual reality, but also to use their hands to place bets. Another early adopter of the technology is Slotsmillion, the company that has launched the first 3D virtual casino of the internet. Players can explore a casino set on the 80th floor of a high rise building and play with their favorite slot machines in the process.

Virtual reality has a lot to offer to the online gambling industry.

Players who have experienced both land-based and online casinos say that they miss human interaction when playing over the internet. Much of the appeal of some casino games, like craps or baccarat, comes from the people gathering around the table. In case of craps the social component of the game is its most attractive part. Playing online, alone, with nobody to cheer, is not as great an experience.

Virtual reality can change all that. I think it won't be long until we see the first online casino and poker rooms adopt the technology, offering their players a more immersive experience. Playing poker on screen, with the avatars and cards of opponents showing, is one thing – but sitting at a virtual table, with your cards in hand, and seeing the opponents' faces is another. VR could add people reading to online poker, something real life players are missing from it.