A little while back, we took a look at how Virtual Sports could well play a key role in opening up the US online betting industry nationwide. The somewhat complicated legal situation regarding sports betting in the United States is well documented, but the fact that Virtual Sports is not based on real events, but on a computer program, means that these games are viewed in the US as being closer to slot games, than sports betting.
As such, several states have started to offer Virtual Sports to customers and one such state is Pennsylvania, although how it is choosing to offer Virtual Sports to its resident population is slightly different to the norm.
Here in the UK, to play Virtual Sports game, most of us would head to an online sports betting service and then see what the different Virtual Sports options are available on that site. Almost all top sites in the United Kingdom now offer Virtual Sports as it is one of the fastest growing betting markets in the industry today.
However, in Pennsylvania, you can now play Virtual Sports when you go and buy your ticket for the Pennsylvania State Lottery as you can now play two different types of Virtual Sports at all Pennsylvania Lottery retailers.
Pennsylvania Virtual Sports
The fact that Pennsylvanians can now enjoy Virtual Sports when buying their lottery tickets is an interesting approach to offering a kind of betting to the population. Of course, this hasn’t made casino operators particularly happy and it does remain to be seen whether there is the market for Virtual Sports within the lottery community as it does tend to be punters that visit sports betting sites and casinos that tend to indulge in Virtual Sports gaming, at least here in the UK.
What it does do however is open up two Virtual Sports games to every citizen of Pennsylvania who is eligible to play the lottery. The two games are played every five minutes and they are called Xpress Football and Xpress Car Racing. They followed on from the launch of a Keno-based game that has been available with Pennsylvanian lottery retailers for a little while now and which has proven popular with customers.
Pennsylvania’s Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko stated on the European Gaming EU site:
“Following Keno’s very strong start, we expect that our Xpress Sports games will also be a big hit with our players.
These games are part of our continuing mission to modernize our business and generate new funds to benefit older Pennsylvanians.”
What is Xpress Football?
Xpress Football is based on American Football (as opposed to Association Football, or soccer as it is called in the United States) and each game is contested over a period of five minutes. Players pay as little as $1 to play the game and they can select one or more of the 16 possible outcomes of the game as described on the slip. For a $1 stake, players could win up to $250.
The game is a series of drives between two Virtual American Football teams, with each drive starting from within the 20-yard line (known as the Red Zone in American Football parlance). Each drive will result in either a touchdown run, touchdown pass, field goal, or a turnover. A turnover is when the defence claims the ball back from the attacking team and stops them scoring points.
Once the five-minute game has been completed, the score of the game is decided and which one of the 16 possible outcomes on the slip is revealed and if a player wins, then they receive the cash prize attributed to that selected outcome. The Pennsylvanian Lottery has set a limit on individuals playing up to 20 drives consecutively.
Once the game is over a new game will begin and players can once again bet on the outcome (provided they have not been playing for more than 20 consecutive drives).
What is Xpress Car Racing?
As the name suggests, Xpress Car Racing simulates a two-lap race comprising of 12 cars around the fictional Pennsylvanian Lottery speedway. Each race will generate a first, second and third place finish.
Players bet from $1 per bet and the aim is to predict the correct finishing order of the number of the dozen cars in the race. If you manage to predict the 1-2-3 in the correct order, then you would win the maximum $250.
Similarly, to the Xpress Football game, players can play up to 20 consecutive races in a single sitting. The Xpress Car racing is very similar to the Tricast betting you can find on the Motorsports Virtual Sports games at top quality UK-based casinos such as Betway or bet365 Sport.
Expect More Changes to Follow in the US
With the recent news that New Jersey had given the green light to a brand new mobile sports betting app from Draftkings, becoming the first ever mobile sports betting app in the state, it is fair to say that the situation in the United States regarding both Virtual Sports and sports betting is fluid.
While most of the states are yet to finalise what they plan to do regarding Virtual Sports and sports betting, you can be sure that if the likes of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, start to raise significant income from these forms of entertainment, which can then be used to benefit their residents, then the clamour from other states to follow suit will be huge.
Like we have said previously, Virtual Sports is playing a key role in the United States at present, particularly in those states where casino gaming is allowed, but sports betting is not. Virtual Sports betting offers a bridge between the two, while still adhering to current legislation in the state, while making a powerful argument for the legalisation of sports betting, if only from the point of view of raising greater funds for the state through the taxation.