A mixed reality headset has been pencilled in for release by Apple in early 2023 as more companies prepare to throw themselves into the Metaverse.
The beta headsets are currently undergoing pre-production testing by Apple, with a view to releasing the product in conjunction with the iPhone 16 cycle.
Reports suggest the headset will revolve around gaming, media consumption, and communication – and the embracing of the former is likely to pave the way into the VR space for gambling companies.
How will the industry in India adapt to new technologies? Will the profile of an average bettor be susceptible to the idea of VR technologies? Can new headsets reach remote areas of the country to avoid segmentation of the average bettor?
Why Sports Betting And VR Make A Perfect Match
A new study from ENV Media suggests Indian bettors place more than $100 billion in sports betting. The eye-boggling numbers allow industry researchers to get a clearer picture of the average consumer – Bet India’s Svilen Madjov is one such professional that has compiled a profile.
In his article detailing the profile of the average Indian bettor, he argues they are: “statistically a young male based in a big city. Not surprisingly, 18-24 year-olds have a dominant share of 41.7%. Together with users below 34, they generate almost three-quarters of all online betting traffic.”
Using the picture of the average Indian bettor, it is easy to see how a young, likely competitive consumer will embrace upcoming technology. It figures, then, that sports betting companies are already working on the way to incorporate headsets into their products.
Indeed, Mr Madjov writes:
“With the growing importance of technology, desi consumers will be able to access more immersive sports content as betting becomes only one aspect of the experience. Younger generations are certain to bridge the digital divide between rural users and urban communities.”
It is inarguable to suggest the current profile of the Indian bettor is a close match for the generation of VR headset wearers.
How Can VR And Sports Betting Work In Tandem?
Step across the betting verticals and you can already see how VR is being implemented. A Spanish casino called SlotsMillion became the first VR casino in the world – using Oculus Rift, it allows users to peruse slot machines, table games, and catering services. It’s akin to stepping inside a real, land-based casino.
More examples of VR’s current presence in online gambling include the ability for bettors to back a horse and adopt the role of the jockey as the race unfolds. Alternatively, users can do the same with cyclists, motor racing drivers, and any sport involving one-on-one races.
However, the role of VR in real-world, live sports betting continues to be explored. One option in cricket is to install a streaming camera into the helmets of batters and follow the action as it unfolds in real-time through the VR headset.
It isn’t just cricket where the installation of cameras into sporting equipment can benefit the world of VR – soccer, hockey, and tennis all have the means to create an immersive, live sports betting experience.
Why Regulation Is Important For The Development Of VR Betting In India
Sports betting in India is primarily illegal, despite the overwhelming benefits of market liberalisation. Pressure continues to grow on the government to take steps to reduce the influence of shady betting organisations and the time and resources of police spent on investigating them.
In a different study, titled Off-Shore Gambling Licenses And Regulated Markets, ENV Media makes the case that the advantages of legalisation far outweigh the negatives. They include greater government taxes, consumer protection, job creation, investor stimulation through sector transparency, and the elimination of gambling’s undesirable effects, such as match-fixing.
Indeed, the paper surmises: “The goal of growing yet unregulated markets should be to achieve high consumer and public interest protection levels through modern legislation.”
To realise the true economic and societal potential of VR headsets in gambling across India, the government must first ensure it takes steps to modernise the online betting industry.