Augmented Reality in Gambling

Augmented Reality in Gambling

  • CDC Gaming Reports
September 19, 2018 6:00 AM
  • CDC Gaming Reports

In past editions we’ve covered the phenomenon of virtual reality (VR), considering how it may impact on the gambling industry as it is picked up by more consumers and gradually (inevitably, if the budgets behind the tech are to be believed) becomes more mainstream. But many industry experts are tipping augmented reality (AR), a cousin of VR, to overtake and become an ever more omnipresent aspect of our daily technological reality.

It is so early in terms of uptake or even development of this technology that integration into the gambling world is, for the most part, still some years off, though projections are for this to be a multi-billion dollar (non-gambling) industry within just a few short years. Still, many still struggle to distinguish VR from AR conceptually, so let’s sketch out a working definition.

Augmented reality, as opposed to virtual reality, does not “blank out” the world around us in order to “transport” the user to a 3D reality via computer-generated imager. Rather, it tends to use either a transparent screen or projection / holographic technology to overlay digital information or imagery onto the world around us. All sorts of mechanisms have been invented, from the infamous (though abandoned) consumer version of Google Glass to chandeliers which project computer screens onto the walls of a house.

The appeal of augmented reality for online gambling firms is clear. For one thing, it can potentially offer, as can VR, a more immersive, engaging and exciting way to interact with games or betting services. There’s a certain appeal about being an early adopter, as it may enable an operator to attract a good market share; that time is nearing, though it won’t be this year. Infinity Augmented Reality (IAR), a leading developer in the field, argue that the tech might be used to make live dealer games more immersive, presumably as the dealer is projected into your living room and sits opposite you as you place your bets.

Or imagine an app where you can sweep the pitch visually at a live match, seeing real-time betting options which flag up above each player as they move around the field, updated and clickable in real-time. This should offer a great advancement for betting as well as user engagement.

Ultimately AR and VR may also be able to work together, using one to place bets on a live event, then switching over to a VR viewpoint to watch the match from the perspective of a player wearing a tiny headcam. First-person perspectives in live streaming might go huge with the advent of affordable high definition 3D cameras, offering an unprecedented degree of immersion and engagement within sports.

Many operators who are already exploring such tech are hoping that it will help cater to millennials, an audience who seem generally disinterested in traditional casino games. This generation seem more interested in games of skill, and it may be that betting will need a serious overhaul to appeal to them. AR may help with this as it provides a link between wagering and the real sporting prowess and activity to which the betting relates. For casino games played online, it might also help retain their social nature, as players could participate with friends, using multiple AR devices to project a shared game into thin air.