We have already stated that Virtual Sports are starting to play an increasingly important role in generating income for sports betting sites. The technology sits very nicely in between the key markets of casino/slot gaming and sports betting and has considerable appeal to players of both these more established forms of gambling.

However new research into the Global Sports Betting Market from 2018 to 2022 has revealed that for many bookmakers, Virtual Sports (along with esports betting) could be the driving force that will see the Global Sports Betting market grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.62%.

The Digital Revolution and its Impact on Sports Betting

There is absolutely no doubt that the digital revolution of recent times has had a huge (and almost entirely positive) influence on the sports betting industry as a whole. The movement from a wholly shop-based betting industry, that was by and large a stagnant one just prior to the Internet age, to the embracing of technology and the Internet, has reinvigorated the betting scene.

Indeed, the first “boom” for many years in the betting industry came when companies began to move online, and customers began to realise how easy it was to bet from their PC’s. That massive upsurge of interest in the early days of the Internet saw massive online growth for bookmakers, who then began to develop bespoke online platforms to promote and showcase their main gambling products.

This change in accessibility also led to the formation of a new form of bookmaker. One solely devised to be operated online and to take advantage of this new technology, Betway and 10Bet are both good examples of this type of bookmaker for whom, the digital advances in the 1990s and 2000s made their existence possible.

Then a few years after sports betting became established on the Internet, the mobile technology boom occurred. This leaves us with the situation we have in the present day when it is as easy to bet from your mobile phone or tablet as it is your desktop.

This accessibility and ease of use has allowed an even greater number of people to try sports betting online. Furthermore, on established sites punters that join up with the site to enjoy casino gaming for example, or perhaps to play poker or bingo, can use their account to access sports betting, which allows the industry to pick up additional latent customers that would perhaps not otherwise bet on sports.

Some perhaps thought that this was perhaps now the future of the online sports betting industry, but in truth, the industry has only just started evolving.

New Technology – New Opportunities

Although it took sites a little while to fully realise just how much the Internet could allow them to offer punters, there are a now a massive number of ways in which online sports betting has changed significantly from days gone by.

Punters can now easily bet In-Play on a massive number of sporting events. They can follow events in real time via Live Streaming services on some bookmaking sites and there are a whole raft of promotions and bonuses that are accessible online that would just not be possible to offer in a shop-based setting.

In addition to these different incentives for players, it was not long before sports betting sites realised that this new technology allowed them to think “outside of the box” in terms of the products that they offered customers. This new digital age was gifting them opportunities that they had never had previously and one of these was Virtual Sports.

Virtual Sports and Esports Betting

When Virtual Sports was first released a few years ago, there was some initial scepticism as to whether it would have appeal. On the one hand, it is a sports betting-based piece of software, but one where the results are worked out by a computer algorithm. Many felt that sports betting fans would not enjoy this particular form of betting, and they also intimated that casino gamers would also feel that a game based on sports betting would not be an attractive proposition.

In contrast, Virtual Sports now inhabits an area which bridges the worlds of slot gaming or casino gaming with sports betting in a way that many did not expect. The games are not only attracting a significant number of sports betting enthusiasts to play them, but also attracting casino gamers enough for them to try this form of sports betting. In essence, sites have hit upon a win/win situation in terms of Virtual Sports.

Indeed, so important is the realm of Virtual Sports to the sports betting industry that the Global Sports Betting Market 2018-2022 report states that one of the most important factors driving the expansion of the industry as a whole, is the growing participation in Virtual Sports.

Virtual Sports are not the only betting option that will fuel the growth of the betting industry over the next five years or so. Esports betting is also expected to continue its phenomenal rate of growth with the research predicting that Global Esports Betting will grow by at a CAGR rate of 32.28% from 2017 to 2021.

This goes hand in hand with the incredible worldwide growth of the esports industry as a whole, which has experienced massive growth over the past ten years, particularly in Asian, North American and European markets, but perhaps less so in the UK. That said, there is still a burgeoning and growing esports market in the UK and that will only continue to grow into the future.

That does sound like Esports are going to be the primary driver, but what should be noted here is that the Esports betting market, certainly in the UK, is not quite as established as the Virtual Sports betting market and as such, its rate of growth is likely to be greater given that it is a newer form of betting. However, what is undeniable is that the contribution of both Virtual Sports betting and Esports betting will be key to sustaining the sports betting industry for years to come.