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, many of whom peruse the virtual horse racing cards and check back on virtual horse racing results in their quest to pick a winner.
Originally, this form of entertainment was only available on TV screens at land-based bookmakers in between real horse races or for example at New Jersey horse tracks, but now it is available for all at most licensed online sports betting sites.
What is Virtual Horse Racing betting?
At first glance, there is not a whole lot to distinguish the virtual thoroughbreds 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 a specific horse racing random number generator.
While the outcome of the race is determined by the random number generator, it is translated into an animated form using the latest software to allow racing fans to follow the action on the 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-priced favorite has the best chance of winning. But as we know, the favorite doesn’t always win and sometimes the rank outsider has a good day!
Virtual horse racing tips and bet types
The types of bets you will find available on virtual racing mirror those which would be found for a real-life event like the Kentucky Derby, the Breeders’ Cup and the Belmont Stakes). 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 similar thrill as the one you can enjoy at Preakness Stakes 2020 and let you bet on horse with Stakes odds.
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 event like the Breeders’ Cup or Kentucky Derby 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 ambiance – although generally numbers rather than horse names will be called out – while crowd noises also enhance the viewing experience and trick you into thinking you are watching the real deal.
In addition to this, a number of more recently released games also allow players to bet on a Virtual Grand National, which is based on the famous National Hunt race that takes place at Aintree Racecourse every year. This software has also been featured over the last couple of years on ITV Sport’s coverage of the race.
Indeed, the company also ran a Winner’s Grand National, which featured 40 winners of the race from modern and bygone times and the winner of that virtual race was the legendary Red Rum, which was one of the most popular virtual horse racing results in history!
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 betting 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 licensed bookmaker to manipulate the virtual horse racing results of these events because the end result will always be that the house makes money in the long term. For track rules, you can always contact the customer support of any bookmaker’s website.
Games like these are powered by stakes odds which is 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 racing 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.
While you are waiting though you can peruse any of the forthcoming races virtual horse racing cards, which will list the runners and their odds in all of the forthcoming races. These virtual horse racing cards are similar to the standard racecards you get for real-life horse racing, although the data on them is created randomly, rather than a historical record of the horse’s performance.
Horse racing is a sport to which some professional gamblers have dedicated their life’s work. But when it comes to these types of games everybody stands an equal chance of winning or losing so it levels the playing field.
Furthermore, the fact that you now have such a wide range of different virtual races to enjoy when betting on the virtual horses does give the experience a bit more color and variation. You can now pick between different types of races, flat races, sprints, national hunt races and even, as we have seen, the Grand National to enjoy when betting in this way.
Over the coming years, I would expect to see the range of different races offered and even the types of bet that you can make in each virtual race on the horses being increased to the point where you have as much choice as you would find on any real-life race.
Of course, if you are one of those people who enjoys studying the form then virtual sports betting of any kind, not just on the horses, may not be for you, as all types of virtual sports gaming is much more of a lottery in that regard.
That said, there is a trend in modern virtual sports games for companies to add some kind of context to virtual sports and so while it is not yet present in horse racing virtuals at the moment, I can foresee a time when horses data is kept and recorded and a picture of how it has performed in its virtual career can be used by the customer to decide whether it is worth a bet or not. In some other sports, such as Virtual Football, this type of game is already being developed.
Check out your favorite online bookmaker or casino site (you can have a look at Bet365, William Hill, 10Bet or Betway offers) and find out whether you enjoy the thrills on offer from a day at the virtual racetrack.