You’ve probably been hearing the term “metaverse” everywhere. From the fashion industry to sports, it seems like everyone is jumping on this digital trend bandwagon. Even the casino industry is getting in on the action. Metaverse casinos, also known as decentralized casinos, are popping up everywhere to cash in on the trend. But as with most things, there are benefits and pitfalls to be aware of – for both operators and players. So strap on your VR glasses and let’s dive into the metaverse! 

What exactly is the metaverse?

If the metaverse sounds like something out of a sci-fi book, that’s because it is. Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson first coined the term in his 1992 novel Snow Crash to describe a 3D virtual space. Fast forward a few decades and the concept has gained newfound interest as the next evolution of digital life. At its simplest, the metaverse is a collection of virtual, 3D worlds, where people create personal avatars to explore different platforms. 

For example, this technology would allow a participant to feel like they’re physically at an event where they can walk around and interact with their environment with haptic gloves or game controllers. In the gaming world, a metaverse casino is an interactive virtual casino that’s played with cryptocurrency.

Game play in the metaverse

Decentralized casinos often originate from well-known IRL casinos and operate similarly. Players can interact with each other, and of course, gamble. Instead of cash or credit cards, players can use a range of cryptocurrency such as DAI, MANA, and ETH. Depending on the casino, you can use a VR or AR headset to fully interact with your surroundings, but these aren’t always required. Players will need to do things such as connect their real world wallet to a virtual one, create an avatar, and find the game that appeals to them to start playing. 

Many of the same games that can be found in a brick-and-mortar casino – such as slots, roulette, blackjack, backgammon, and dice games – can also be played in the metaverse.

What metaverse casinos are out there?

Titans of tech such as Microsoft and Facebook (now called Meta), are convinced that the metaverse is the future and are trying to create their own metaverses where people can interact, socialize, and conduct activities previously only performed in the real world. While this may be too radical an approach for casinos, many operators have jumped in feet first. 

Decentral Games, Decentraland Casino, and MetaHero Casino, are just a few examples of metaverse casinos now in operation. These decentralized casinos offer different games and features for their players. For example, at Decentral Games, players can choose from blackjack, slot machines, or roulette and get rewarded with DG coins for playing their games (also known as play-to-earn). Decentraland, on the other hand, is a virtual universe with social interaction and a variety of opportunities for players such as a crypto casino where players can meet virtually and gamble together using the token MANA. MetaHero has branded itself as the “gateway to the metaverse” and allows people to recreate themselves (or some version of it) to gamble using the casino’s own tokens. 

Implications for IRL casinos

Just as the internet, the gig economy, and AI have disrupted our lives and major industries (for the better, or for the worse, depending on who you talk to), the metaverse is ripe to transform the gaming industry. How, when, where, and why players flock to casinos have the potential to be changed by the metaverse and could mean that casinos will have to rethink their business models and processes. But that doesn’t mean that every casino should run out and create a decentralized one, or that every player will want to game in the metaverse.

Just as commercial metaverse efforts by Facebook and Microsoft have had mixed results, we can likely expect a similar outcome for casinos. For example, the U.S. (like many other countries) has made huge investments in brick and mortar gaming relative to other gambling markets that has created mature markets. Suffice it to say, physical casinos will not disappear overnight. Additionally, new products and services such as live gaming, have attracted the attention of traditional table games players and some companies are investing in production studios for live gaming dealers. Between the interest and the money involved, it’s unlikely that this segment of the industry would be ready to move into the metaverse just yet. 

And lastly, there’s the issue of licenses and regulations. The gaming industry is already one of the most heavily regulated and the metaverse opens up a pandora box of challenges that might be too much for most operators to take a chance. Cryptocurrency and the metaverse are still fuzzy areas as regulators and lawmakers scramble to keep up with the evolving technology and its implications. Much remains to be seen about how this will be handled, and what hoops metaverse casinos may have to jump through to stay on the right side of any future laws. 

Keep an eye on the future

There’s no doubt that the metaverse offers both players and casinos exciting opportunities for the future. Socializing and gambling from the comfort of your living room certainly has its appeal, and it’s important that the industry keep up with the latest technology. But, it’s also important that casinos carefully research, understand, and evaluate the benefits and risks to operating in the metaverse. 

At Acres, we’ve always been a future-looking company and we believe passionately in reinvigorating the industry to keep up with the customer of today and tomorrow. We’re excited to see what innovations and ideas could come from the metaverse and how the industry will respond to stay competitive and relevant.