Virtual sports betting is a sector of the online gaming industry enjoying rapid growth in many markets. In fact, some believe it heralds a major shift in how players will bet online going forward.
It’s certainly going to be useful during the Covid-19 pandemic. With so many real sporting contests cancelled or delayed in the name of public safety, many punters will be turning to computer-generated versions of the favourite sports when they want to place a bet.
Virtual Sports Vs eSports
It’s important to define virtual sports, because they are often confused with eSports, which are also attracting growing numbers of online betting enthusiasts. eSports are the digital evolution of multiplayer role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons.
In modern franchises like StarCraft or Dota, these computer-game tournaments involve teams of players using different characters, skills and weapons to overcome their equally varied opponents. They attract massive live crowds of fantasy fans following the action, and plenty of online betting on the outcome.
However, although they run on a computer, eSports are skills-based. The outcome depends on the skills, strategy and teamwork of individual players controlling their avatars. Virtual sports deals in real sports, not fantasy quests, offering punters a computer simulation of sporting contest instead.
RNG Decides Winners
Virtual sports betting can offer a straight bet on a winner, in games like virtual football, tennis, baseball or hockey. In contests like virtual horseracing, greyhound racing, cycling, motor racing or speedway, there are several betting options related to the first three past the post, just like a real racetrack.
The major deviation from real sports is the way winners are decided. Instead of relying on a mixture of strength, skill, fitness and strategy, not to mention working out your opponent’s weaknesses, virtual sports outcomes are decided by a random number generator.
It’s this element of pure chance that makes them less attractive to dedicated sport fans, who like to subject contenders to personal scrutiny before betting on them. Knowledge of form or inside information is no good here.
However, fans of random-luck casino games like Roulette or mobile pokies games in NZ are equally at home with virtual sports betting. The fact that virtual sports contests usually play quickly, with some sites offering a new event every 90 seconds and games that last three or four minutes, also makes them popular with betting enthusiasts.
Future Holds More Innovation
While not offering players quite the same experience as live, real-life sports, virtual sports betting is exciting enough to attract new punters every day. The graphics are impressive, creating digital replicas of real sporting arenas, and developers constantly find new ways to make the online betting experience more immersive.
eSports provides an example here: modern multiplayer games, with a variety of moves and events in detailed digital environments, are a far cry from the single-player Pong of decades ago. Similar innovations in virtual sports could well see 11-player football teams in the future, each avatar controlled by human players.
Virtual sports betting may not be the only game changer in the industry, but the games are certainly going to change.