Traditionally one of the most popular sports in betting circles, horse racing was an obvious choice as an early addition to the world of virtual sports betting.
The Sport of Kings, as it was once known, has been comfortably adapted to virtual form and has provided round the clock betting options for punters for many years now.
Originally virtual horse racing was only available at TV screens of land-based bookmakers in between real horse races, but now it is available for all at most licenced online sports betting sites.
What is virtual horse racing?
At first glance, there is not a whole lot to distinguish virtual horse racing from the real thing. Of course these races don’t feature flesh and blood racers and riders, because as with all other forms of virtual sports betting the races are powered by random number generating software.
While the outcome of the race is determined by the random number generator, it is translated into animated form using the latest software to allow racing fans to follow the action on screen. The races will generally feature between eight and 16 horses, and the RNG takes account of the fact that a horse priced at short odds will have a better chance to win than the outsider.
That means that, just as with an actual horse race, the short-price favourite has the best chance of winning. But as we know, the favourite doesn’t always win and sometimes the rank outsider has a good day!
Virtual horse racing bet types
The types of bets you will find available on a virtual horse race mirror those which would be found for a real-life event. So clearly that means that you can place a bet on the winning horse, or you can try for an each-way bet for a finisher in the top three or four (depending on the size of the field).
A forecast bet allows you to choose the two horses you believe will finish first and second, while a tricast is an even trickier proposition where you have to pick the first three horses past the post.
The viewing experience
As we mentioned above, it can take a few seconds for your eyes to adjust to the fact that you are not watching a real live horse race when you see one of the virtual races.
The more sophisticated versions include realistic background scenery, and only the very slight feeling of ‘weightlessness’ of the horses as they run gives the game away. Some online bookies allow you to switch between flat racing and hunt racing, with the latter featuring the potentially race-ending fences.
A realistic commentary adds to the ambience – although generally numbers rather than horses names will be called out – while crowd noises also enhance the viewing experience and tricks you into thinking you are watching the real deal.
Is virtual horse racing fair?
A common concern raised about all forms of virtual sports betting is whether or not the games are fair. While horse racing itself has had its share of ‘controversial’ results over the years, people tend to be more trusting when it comes to the real-life event as opposed to the virtual version.
The fact is, however, that it is just not worthwhile for a licenced bookmaker to manipulate the results of virtual events, because the end result will always be that the house makes money in the long term. Virtual horse racing is powered by random number generators which are subject to rigorous checks and tests by independent bodies, so you can rest assured that the only thing which will stop you from winning is bad luck or bad choices on your part!
Virtual horse betting pros and cons
Find yourself hanging around the house late at night with nothing much to do? Unless there is horse-racing going on in Australia, then your best way to get a taste of real money betting on horse racing is by opening up a virtual race. Any hour of the day or night you will only have to wait a couple of minutes for the next race to get started, which is definitely a plus point.
Horse racing is a sport to which some professional gamblers have dedicated their life’s work. But when it comes to virtual horse racing, everybody stands an equal chance of winning or losing so it levels the playing field.
Of course, if you are one of those people who enjoys studying the form then virtual sports betting may not be for you, as it’s much more of a lottery in that regard. Check out your favourite online bookmaker and find out whether you enjoy the thrills on offer from a day at the virtual race track.