How Does Betting On The Various Types Virtual Sports Work, Anyway?

Written By Ian John on June 22, 2017 - Last Updated on September 2, 2021
how to bet on virtual sports

Nowadays, you don’t have to confine yourself to betting on sports events occurring in the real world.

The advent of virtual sports betting means that you can now bet on more sports events, over shorter time periods than ever before. Sites like William Hill, Bet365 Sport, 10Bet and others offer virtual sports betting.

Do you remember the old-fashioned horse-racing game in arcades, where you would have a selection of between six and 10 horses and put your stake (usually around $0.10) on one of the horses? Then the race would be run in front of you and if you won, you’d be paid out.

Well virtual sports are essentially a much more modern and complex version of that old arcade gambling game.

However, while some virtual sports are based on race-type events, some are not. Instead, these are games (such as you would get in virtual football or virtual tennis). And of course, this means that the types of betting on these events has to be different.

In this article, we are going to look at the two types of virtual sports you can play today on top virtual sports sites. Then we are going to look at how the betting is organised on each of these types of games.

Essentially, we will discover what types of markets you can bet on for each different type of virtual sport.

virtual sports betting

The two types of virtual sports betting services – races vs. games

On any site that offers virtual sports, there are essentially two forms of virtual sports you will be able to access and bet on.

Race virtual sports:

  • Horse racing
  • Greyhounds
  • Cycling
  • Trotting
  • Speedway
  • Motor Car Racing

Game virtual sports

  • Football
  • Tennis

In race virtual sports, the aim of the event is always the same. Regardless of how many people are competing, or what medium they are using to compete, the aim is for all the competitors to try and win the race. Or if not win, then the goal is to finish in as high a position as possible.

However, in game virtual sports, the aim of the player or team involved is to get the better of their opponent and beat them by whatever the criteria is for that sport. So in football, the aim is for one team to score more goals than the other and win the game. In tennis, it is for one player to win the game played between themselves and the other player.

These key differences between these two types of event (and the differences between each different type of game virtual sport) directly affects the types of betting that can be offered on each.

Virtual sport race betting explained

In any type of virtual sport race, you tend to find that there are only a limited number of markets you can bet on. These tend to be the winner of the race, and an each way bet on the winner of the race.

On some virtual sports, you may be able bet on which of the competitors will finish 1st and 2nd in what is known as a Forecast bet.

bet365 virtual cycling betting

The types of bet on offer and the criteria by which they are paid out depends on the number of competitors in an event. A race that has more competitors will likely have more betting options open to you.

A Speedway event for example, which only has four riders, will likely have a smaller number of bets than a horse race that has a dozen horses racing.

Virtual sport game betting explained

When it comes to game betting however, because of the nature of these types of sports, there tends to be more bets available on these games. Also there are more bets of a different type.

For example, in virtual tennis, players can bet on not just who will win the game, but the score by which the player will win the game and the total number of points that will be scored in a game.

bet365 virtual sports betting tennis

In virtual soccer there is even more scope for different bets. You can still bet on who you think will win the game, but you could also back a draw here.

In addition, there are plenty of bets many to do with the number of goals scored in the game, such as guessing the correct score, the total number of goals scored and even bets on whether both teams will score and whether the total number of goals scored will be over or under a stated number of goals (usually around 2.5 goals).

How are the odds worked out in virtual sports?

Perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of virtual sports for punters is the decision-making that is built into the software when it comes to deciding the odds on the different betting markets and selections.

How can a horse that has essentially been randomly created simply for the purposes of a virtual race, be a shorter odds selection than the next horse which has also been randomly created?

The answer to this is twofold.

First the software that powers virtual sports has been designed to create a plausible and realistic selection of competitors for each event. It achieves this by weighting the competitors more favourably or unfavourably. This gives you a lineup of mixed-ability performers. Those with the best ability will be the favourites, those with less will be the outside chances.

Essentially, once this selection of competitors in an event has been finalised, then the same calculations used to calculate the odds in real life sports betting markets are used to determine the virtual sports odds. Some companies even explicitly state this.

Bet365 Sport states in its virtual sports information section:

“All betting opportunities available on virtual sports follow the same rules as the equivalent real sports they represent.”

Are virtual sports more unpredictable than real-life sports?

Although virtual sports are meant to mirror real life sports, it is fair to say that they are a little more unpredictable than real life events. They do have a slightly higher percentage of longer odds winners than you would ordinarily find.

Is this a fault in the software? No. It is simply a product of how a virtual sport result is decided, as opposed to a real-life sporting event.

In a real-life sporting event, all the parameters are known beforehand. It is down to the performance of the individual player, rider or team to decide the outcome.

The abilities and skills of these performers are generally well understood. And while luck can play a part in an outcome, there are times when it does not.

virtual horse racing betting

However, in virtual sports, luck does play a significant role in deciding the winner of an event. Although the competitors are weighted, the results are still worked out by a random number generator (RNG).

This is essentially the same process used on almost any online game, including slot games, casino games, poker and many more. What this means is even though the competitors in a virtual sport may be weighted favourably or unfavourably, the final results are still decided by the output of a RNG.

This is why virtual sports events do tend to be slightly more volatile than betting on standard sports events. However, you can be sure that RNG are completely fair as all sites offering virtual sports need to ensure that the RNG’s they use are tested and certified as being compliant with the UK Gambling Commission’s Technical Standards Document.

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Ian John

Ian John is an expert across many realms of online gambling, both in US and international markets. Based in the UK, Ian covers sports betting, poker, and the regulated online casino and esports betting markets for a wide number of industry-focused publications.

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