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William Hill Looking to VR to Recreate Horse Races

Companies around the world are seemingly finding new uses for virtual reality (VR) technology every day. This week sees UK bookmaker William Hill reveal work with the tech, using it to recreate horse races for those betting on them but not actually present at the events themselves. The company appears to be currently testing its experience using both the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) and a variation of the Google Cardboard mobile HMD.

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The system combines GPS racetrack data with VR to offer users a unique virtual recreation of a given race from the perspective of a jockey. Currently the team is working with a 3D mock-up of the Kempton Park racecourse, using data that was collected during a training race. Users are able to choose a horse to race on and are then given a 360 degree view from that horse. On show at the company’s recent open day in London, the experience even let attendees sit on a fake horse for added immersion.

“Currently you place a bet and not much happens between that and the outcome,” Crispin Nieboer, William Hill’s director of innovation, told the BBC. “We want to bring customers closer to the sporting action, to experience the thrill of the ride.”

The service will be made available through the official William Hill app in the future, though there’s no suggestion of when it might arrive. VRFocus will continue to follow any and all VR software, reporting back with the latest updates.