The Apple Watch was one of the most anticipated devices out of Cupertino since the iPhone, yet it has failed to impress even some of the most diehard Apple fans. The watch serves its purpose—it tells time, you can receive phone calls on it, it gives you alerts, and you can even adjust your Nest thermostat temperature.
The best feature, perhaps, is Apple Pay, which lets you tap your watch to pay for goods at merchants equipped with NFC (that’s Near Field Communication) terminals.
But most people are finding that the Apple Watch is a passive device. For one, it doesn’t replace your phone. In fact, you need an iPhone and a Bluetooth connection to use most of the apps (Apple Pay will actually work without an iPhone, but that’s about it).
There’s a new Apple Watch rumored to be coming out soon. And this fall, Apple is revamping Watch OS, the Apple Watch operating system to be faster and sleeker, and to reenergize interest in the iPhone.
Will it work? Time will tell (pun intended) but at first glance the new OS looks great. What we’re really excited about is the future of the Apple Watch and what it means for casino players.
Tomorrow’s Apple Watch is much, much different
If we told you back in 2001 that you’ll be able to play casino games on your cell phone, you would have called us crazy. Back then, a flip phone cell phone seemed futuristic. Text messaging involved using the numeric keypad on your phone, press the 5 three times to write the letter L.
But today? Today you can play slots and table games on your iPhone and Android. And you can play on your tablet, something that wasn’t even a thing in 2001. Today’s Apple Watch, while sleek, isn’t necessarily the Apple Watch that we’ll know 5 years from now.
You can actually play slots on your Apple Watch right now
If you hit the App Store, you’ll find a few online slots apps that work on the Apple Watch. Due to the slow operating system and the tiny screen, we wouldn’t recommend playing slots on your Apple Watch. Thank goodness the available apps don’t allow you to play for real money, otherwise you could risk making a big wagering mistake.
But even though today’s Apple Watch casino apps are sort of archaic, they do give us hope for the future. As the Apple Watch gets better and as Apple reimagines it in bold new ways, we could very well see an entire casino on your wrist.
The Apple Watch in conjunction with your other devices
We’re sure a lot of big casino companies are thinking about porting an online casino onto your wrist, but we see the Apple Watch being used in a different way.
Imagine the Apple Watch as a table games signal tool. For example, you’re playing Blackjack on your Mac or PC. As the cards hit the felt, you need to decide whether to hit, stand, split, or double down. Today, that would involve moving your mouse to one of the corresponding buttons. But what if you could use your Apple Watch instead?
What if, to hit, all you needed to do was tap your Apple Watch? To stand, simply swipe across it. To double down, double tap. And to split, place two fingers on the Apple watch.
This is how we see the Apple Watch being used in the future of online casinos, not as a devices for a dedicated casino, but rather as a complementary to enhance your existing casino experience on another device.
Thanks to Bluetooth, you’d be able to use the Apple Watch in this manner on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC. The possibilities are endless.
The Apple Watch at live casinos
Apple Pay promised to change the payment landscape in a major way in the United States, but adoption has been slow. That’s not entirely Apple’s fault, though. It’s the payment industry in general.
Just north of the border in Canada, contactless payments have been the norm for years. Interac, the national debit card system that all banks subscribe to, unleashed Interac Flash several years ago. All bank cards allow you to tap your card to pay for goods under $100. The same terminals usually accept the contactless system for Visa and Mastercard, and American Express to a lesser degree.
Because contactless payments have been the norm for years, when Apple unrolled Apple Pay in Canada earlier this year, it was pretty much immediately accepted anywhere that contactless payments had been accepted in the last few years. And that’s pretty much 99% of the places most people shop.
In the United States, however, adoption is slow. While Canada and European countries have contactless payments as well as Chip & PIN technology for bank and credit cards, the United States still relies on magnetic swipe technology—an archaic and outdated system.
But Las Vegas is starting to update their systems and several hotels are rolling out Apple Pay. Unfortunately, it’ll only work at places like gift shops, bars, and restaurants, not on the casino floor.
That could change sooner than you think. Imagine you’re out of money at the Roulette table. You want to hit the ATM, but you’d rather not miss a beat. Instead of heading to the ATM, you could tap your Apple Watch and withdraw a few hundred from your bank account or take a cash advance from your credit card. This is the future of Apple Pay at live casinos and one that, theoretically, could happen right now.
Enjoy mobile casino action right now
If you’re staring at your Apple Watch and you realize it’s time to play some slots, head over to Silver Oak Casino right now. No, you can’t quite play on your Apple Watch. But you can enjoy slots and table games, not to mention video poker and specialty games, on your iPhone. And since you have an Apple Watch, we know you’ve got an iPhone. After all, you pretty much need one to use the Apple Watch. One day, though, that might change.