Eiffel Tower, PAris

Sheldon Adelson, the investor behind Las Vegas Sands, was always among the biggest opponents of online gambling. While he was never candid about it, he was rumored to worry about the top-rated online casinos siphoning customers away from the Las Vegas Strip. Time has proven that Adelson was wrong. As it turns out, online casinos and Las Vegas appeal to two completely different kinds of players.

Now, the digital age comes with a new challenge for the big casino resorts in Vegas. Or maybe an opportunity? Will Las Vegas embrace the Metaverse?

A different experience

Traditional online casinos offer their players an accessible and casual gaming experience, especially in the day and age of smartphones. Mobile casinos bring a game variety to the players’ fingertips that Vegas casino resorts can only dream about. But it’s a very different experience, like comparing Netflix to a red-carpet movie premiere.

There is something about walking onto a casino floor on the Las Vegas Strip, breathing in the atmosphere filled with glitter and flicker, being served a cocktail at a felt-covered blackjack table, and tossing a chip to the dealer when you win that online casinos simply can’t replicate.

The live dealer games available at online casinos bring a bit of the experience of a real-life casino to the players, but not enough.

Enter the Metaverse

What is a Metaverse? In our case, it is a persistent virtual world where people can take on a virtual identity, explore various forms of entertainment, shop, buy real estate, and even attend fashion shows. This type of virtual world is increasingly popular among tech-savvy users, and slowly, the first casinos are starting to appear in it.

Decentraland, the hot browser-based virtual platform, already has a few virtual reality casinos that showcase the possibilities of this type of gambling, from Tominoya Casino with its relaxing Japanese theme to Atari Casino which gives off strong retro vibes. 

How long before the first real-life gambling companies decide to expand into cyberspace?

Embracing digital

Land-based companies are already embracing the digital dimension of gambling. Quite a few major brick-and-mortar casino operators have partnered up with iGaming brands to offer online casino services in the US. The next big thing for them will possibly be opening a virtual replica of their resorts in a Metaverse.

Just imagine stepping inside a virtual Venetian, taking a walk among the gaming machines and other tables, surrounded by other avatars – and not worrying about the dress code. Imagine sitting at the blackjack table chatting up the dealer – and not knowing whether it’s an avatar or an AI. Imagine earning Grazie Rewards Points without leaving your home, and redeeming them at Bar Luca on your next trip to the real thing. All this, and more, could soon become a reality.

Will Vegas embrace the Metaverse? Or will it create a virtual Strip? Either of these is possible – and either of the two will bring the atmosphere of Las Vegas closer to the players.

Published by HOLR Magazine.