Casinos have a mixed reputation. On the one hand, it is typically seen as a rigged system where people with more money than sense drop cash into the machines, crossing their fingers and letting Lady Fate spin her wheel. On the other hand, taken carefully, it can be a fun pastime as players ‘play the game’ and see what funds they can raise over a single night.

My personal view of casinos has largely been shaped by the one under my grandmother’s home, in Rome. Situated in a dark room under a building, it is largely barren save for older folks who roam between the machines, typically with canes and peering softly at the rolling numbers through their spectacles. This is, by and large, a rigid view of the establishment; it was based in an area with an older demographic, among people who have more money to spend. If I went to Las Vegas, with its bright lights and constant whirring of air conditioners, I am sure my view would be different. A browser-based online casino may be effective in mitigating this, which will be explored later.

VR and casinos

What is important is that I would never enter an establishment like that as it is not welcoming to me personally, for several reasons. For one, basing a casino in a dark underside of the building is hardly as inviting as, say, a bright Topshop or House of Fraser. If a venue gives off the vibe of being relatively seedy, I would not be willing to risk my money. There is also the fact that casinos are not easy to find around the country; most people in my friendship group (young 20-somethings living in London) are unsure where to find them, or are not willing to.

This is where VR comes in, and it breaks the mold for several reasons.

For one, it is a frictionless way of experiencing casinos. As I have explored previously, one of the perks of VR is its usability. Instead of windsurfing in another country, why not experience it in your home? Instead of waiting a few decades to be in a spaceship, why not strap on a headset? This comes round to the idea that lowering barriers to entry increases the retention rate of people using the technology. Having a VR service accessible by VR means it’s easy to access.

My area, my rules

Another is the fact that it provides a safe space for people to play around in VR, without needing to come to the place. A lot of people do things in the comfort of their homes, free of prying eyes, which lends them a sense of comfort. For some, visiting a casino physically may be a huge barrier, which VR can mitigate.

With services that can be accessed easily, such as online casinos or dedicated apps, these barriers will continue to collapse. Much like with experiencing dangerous thrills in the world outside, people can roll the dice in their blankets and tea in hand.

Tom Ffiske
Twitter: @TomFfiske
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