Gambling for real money is coming soon to VR thanks to Irish tech firm

31 Mar 2016

Within the year real money will change hands in the virtual reality space as Irish tech firm GAN brings gambling into the VR universe

Later this year, Irish tech firm GameAccount Network will be bringing virtual reality (VR) to live gambling for real money. The company today (31 March) launched a VR casino app for Oculus Rift headsets for New York’s Empire City casino.

GameAccount Network (GAN), which is backed by Michael Smurfit and Dermot Desmond, has struck some significant deals in the US casino market such as with  MPTN, the owners of the Foxwoods Resort Casino chain, and Japanese gaming giant Konami.

The first VR app suitable for PCs and Facebook’s Oculus Rift VR headset is a simulated gaming app created for the New York Empire City Casino.

The company, which is headed by Dermot Smurfit Jr, a nephew of Michael Smurfit, floated on the London AIM stock exchange two years ago, raising £22.2m in the process.

‘Later this year, GAN will be bringing VR to life for real-money regulated gaming in selected markets and with preferred operator clients’

“Virtual reality has finally arrived and GAN is first-to-market in the US with a VR casino experience delivered to Empire City Casino in New York,” said Smurfit.

“Designed to engage, captivate and compel incremental time-on-device and revenue from patrons, GAN’s VR add-on module for simulated gaming is anticipated to attract the 30-54-year-old male gaming enthusiast, likely to be among the early adopters of PC VR.

“Simulated gaming now supports desktop web, mobile web, mobile app and PC VR, reinforcing GAN’s technical leadership in delivering enterprise-grade internet gaming solutions to the US casino industry. Innovations like VR are just one of the many reasons 10 major US casino operators have adopted simulated gaming, as an alternative to launching a traditional social casino.”

VR is about to explode


Smurfit confirmed that very soon real money will be crossing hands in the VR world.

“Later this year, GAN will be bringing VR to life for real-money regulated gaming in selected markets and with preferred operator clients. Playing authentic casino games in VR for real money will dramatically close the gap between the live gaming experience available on-property and the flat two-dimensional experience available at home on traditional personal computer or mobile devices.”

Smurfit said that dismissing consumer VR is naïve.

“There’s a movement afoot, originating from Facebook’s 2014 $2bn acquisition of Oculus, suggesting VR could be the next major internet platform. GAN, together with its US casino operator clients, is positioned to materially benefit in the event forecasts for VR headset sales meet reality in the current business cycle,” Smurfit said.

Main image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years