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Robert Simmons

Robert Simmons

News | Press Releases
1st June
DraftKings makes its first sports betting deal
1st June
Deadlock broken in Connecticut casino dispute?
31st May
Intralot reveals latest figures amid US expansion plans
31st May
Pennsylvania takes first steps in sports betting regulation
30th May
American Gaming Association outlines US sports betting stance
29th May
MGM Resorts expands into New York with $850m acquisition
29th May
Nevada top executives paid $145m in 2017
25th May
New Jersey rubs salt into NCAA wounds with $150m lawsuit
24th May
Washington DC considers sports betting legalisation
24th May
Aristocrat revenues up 28.5% during H1 2018
23rd May
Paddy Power Betfair agrees FanDuel acquisition
23rd May
Vietnam changing course on casino development incentives
23rd May
Thirteen casinos targeted in Cyprus money laundering probe
22nd May
IGT sole bidder in Rhode Island sports betting roll out
22nd May
Race for Andorra casino licence nears final furlong
22nd May
IGT reports 5% revenue growth in Q1 2018
21st May
Bet365 upping sticks to Malta post Brexit
11th May
MGM Resorts to buy back $2bn of its own shares
11th May
The Stars Group Q1 2018 revenues up 23%
10th May
Kambi Group creates Chief Product Officer role
10th May
Louisiana DFS bill moves a step closer
10th May
Hard Rock receives Atlantic City licence
9th May
Mohegan Sun takes sole ownership of Incheon casino project
8th May
Moldova to end monopoly system on gambling
8th May
William Hill enjoys strong online and US growth
4th May
Remote Gambling Association issues GDPR guidelines
4th May
Catena Media revenues up 57% in Q1 2018
3rd May
Scientific Games reshuffles its executive pack
3rd May
Scientific Games revenue up 12% in Q1 2018
2nd May
LeoVegas hit with £600,000 UKGC penalty package
1st May
Nektan makes double COO appointment
1st May
Cherry AB increases its stake in Almor
1st May
Macau revenue up 27.6% in April
1st May
Connecticut tribes demand exclusivity on sports betting
1st May
Nevada's billion dollar revenue streak continues
30th April
Wynn Boston Harbour to rebrand following regulatory scrutiny
26th April
Caesars continues its non-gaming expansion into Mexico
24th April
National Indian Gaming Association outlines its support for sports betting
24th April
AffiliateCon Sofia welcomes Google Performance Marketeer
24th April
Connecticut tribal casino row rumbles on
23rd April
Malta Gaming Authority appoints new CEO
23rd April
The Stars Group buys Sky Betting & Gaming for $4.7bn
20th April
UK football leagues stand with US sporting associations
19th April
Global Gaming CEO steps down
18th April
Cherry AB reports 104% revenue growth during FY2017
17th April
DraftKings heads down under with Australian expansion
17th April
Caesars signs agreement with Buena Vista Rancheria
17th April
Tri- State online poker network launches 1 May
17th April
SG Digital gets foot in the door in New Jersey
16th April
Caesars announce non-gaming themed Dubai expansion plans



IN-DEPTH 4 September 2019
Virtual reality: Creating next-gen experiences for players

Singular CEO George Shamugia discusses a new revenue stream for casino operators

The competition in online gaming is intensifying, with players becoming more and more demanding. In some markets, single-customer acquisition costs can reach up to €400 ($440) alongside growing churn rates. Furthermore, the online gaming sector struggles to attract one of the most lucrative groups of players – millennials. The experience provided by casinos no longer appeals to the younger generation.

On  the other hand, the video gaming industry perfectly understands the needs of millennials and by introducing elements of luck in their games offers the best of both worlds. With the launch of loot box systems and Grand Theft Auto’s in-game casino, we have seen their first successful steps in targeting the online gaming sector. GTA V online, with 33 million active players, recently opened an in-game casino, where players gamble real money on games such as poker, roulette, slots, etc. As a result, churn users returned and GTA Online reached the highest number of active players since its launch in 2013.

The online gaming industry has almost fully utilised the potential of the mobile medium. The time has come to look for new, innovative ways of delivering a next-gen experience to customers.

The potential of VR

Could the next big thing for online gaming be a fully fledged virtual reality (VR) casino delivering an immersive experience and limitless new opportunities?

Although not widely adopted yet, VR has a sizable number of customers. Analysts predict it’s poised for explosive growth to become mainstream in about five years. According to market intelligence firms, the VR market will be worth $117bn by 2022, and according to Juniper Research bets made through VR will reach $520 billion by 2021. Upcoming 5G mobile network technology will propel VR’s mass adoption by allowing the development of fully portable untethered and affordable VR headsets.

Different level of social interaction

The captivating nature of gambling comes from its social aspect. Unfortunately, personal interaction is widely missing from online gambling sites. VR technology creates multiple opportunities to bring back and even enhance that social moment. The ability to connect with other players is one of the main reasons behind Fortnite’s popularity. This form of co-experience is the next generation of entertainment. Research conducted by Facebook has found participants spend more time on VR compared to any other medium. This directly translates into increased profits for casinos.

Pokerstars has made efforts in this direction by implementing Voice UI. Instead of using hand controllers to make a call, pass, or raise, players give voice commands.

Another opportunity for bringing in the social element are the players’ avatars. They enable players to build their identity reflected in the avatars’ appearance, but also the avatar's social, competitive and community status. For instance, players are willing to pay real money for virtual drinks at the bar. Operators can offer these social touchpoints for free to VIP customers as an act of appreciation.

VR also brings a new dimension to customer support. Customer support can also be represented with avatars to assist the player in person. The social moment increases the LTV of players and contributes towards lower churn rates.

Rethinking game design

VR is a way more capable medium than a 2D mobile or desktop screen. Instead of copying the existing online experience, games must be redesigned from the ground up for a competitive advantage with VR. For example, a VR slot game can become fully immersive by teleporting the user into the slots’ world of Ancient Egypt. Next, enrich the experience with high-fidelity graphics, realistic spatial sounds and animations. When betting on virtual race cars, the user can be teleported inside the car he/she made a bet on and experience the race firsthand.

New revenue streams

VR casino lobbies create new revenue stream opportunities: ad placement of brands on the venue walls, company logos decorating the bar etc. This kind of branding is not intrusive in the VR space and feels natural from the user's perspective. VR also gives users the ability to change venues from a Las Vegas casino today, to Macau or even Mars casino, the very next day. The dynamic and diverse experience increases retention rates.

The majority of profits for online gaming operators come from their high-roller players. Although they represent a small subset of active players, an operator can launch a separate VR casino brand for them. Providing exclusive VR gaming experiences to high rollers/VIPs, the operator can minimise churn and maximise VR efforts for these player demographics.

The catch with VR is to focus on quality, rather than scale. The target audience might be limited yet, once these players experience it, they will become ambassadors for your offering.

Surely, the opportunities and possibilities offered by the VR medium truly exceed anything offered by mobile and desktop. VR is a new frontier not just for gaming but for every industry, and it’s exciting to see where it takes the industry and what kind of innovation it brings upon us.

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