Virtual reality means much more than just games and interactive movies. How about VR gambling? A new report finds that this will be a fast-growing niche over the next five years with dollars wagered topping $500 million.

However, there is a big inhibitor to faster growth. What is it?

The cost of VR gear, says Juniper Research.

“[T]he research cautioned that the high cost of VR devices would inhibit the extent of user adoption, with the addressable base in the short and medium term largely limited to early adopters,” says Juniper about its about its Mobile & Online Gambling: Casinos, Lotteries, Betting & VR 2016-2021 report.

However, research author Lauren Foye points out that the “initial user base would primarily comprise of smartphone VR players, alongside users of top-end PCs seeking the highest fidelity experience.”

“These will be coupled with a niche clientele, often high-rollers, thereby resulting in comparatively large average wager amongst these early adopters,” Foye says.

Juniper estimates that VR gambling will grow some 800 percent by 2021, hitting around $520 million compared to $58.5 million in 2016.

Most of the growth wil;l be “concentrated in the casino space, which will potentially offer immersive, real-world VR locations,” Juniper adds.

Some key findings:

  • Casino VR gambling will account for more than 40 percent of gross gambling wagers
  • Exchange betting (effectively the placing of bets against another gambler, rather than a bookmaker), will increasingly account for a greater proportion of the mobile & online gambling industry in terms of wagers made, with West Europe being by far the dominant contributor.

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