Are Virtual Sports and Esports The Same Thing?

Written By Ian John on November 8, 2017 - Last Updated on February 18, 2020

Hand in hand with the development of Virtual Sports on sites like Betway and 10Bet, there has also been a huge amount of work done in improving the esports betting services on these sites, notably Betway.

Often, when discussing these technical items, terms like ‘virtual’ or ‘e’ can prefix any number of items and often they can mean the same thing. So, there are a number of people who now believe that Virtual Sports betting and esports betting are essentially the same thing.

This is, of course, not the case as the two different forms of betting are completely different to each other as we shall explore in this article.

What are Virtual Sports?

As we already know, Virtual Sports are a number of computer simulations that will replicate the events that happen in a number of different sports, with a high random factor built in to these events to replicate the nature of a real sport.

The simulations will run a ‘virtual’ sporting event based on one of a limited number of sports (including Soccer, tennis, Motor Sports, Speedway, Greyhound Racing and Horse Racing) and for each event, the software will generate a number of betting markets and a number of options within each market for the punter to bet on.

The punter can then bet on these markets as they would for a real sporting event and then after the betting period is finished, the Virtual Sports event takes place with the action being displayed on the screen for the player to watch.

At the end of these highlights, the players bets are then checked and any winnings owed paid out to them. A new Virtual Sport event will then start with the whole process from start to finish for a typical Virtual Sports event taking no longer than between 3 and 5 minutes.

What are Esports?

Esports are similar to Virtual Sports in only that they are based on computer software. However, in the case of esports, these are computer games that people play against each other on their consoles or computers.

At the highest level of esports (which is what you can bet on when you log into the esports betting section of a site like Betway) either teams or individuals will compete against other teams or individuals from across the world in a number of esports tournaments. These events are growing massively in popularity across the world and now attract high levels of sponsorship. Many have prize pools running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for the winners, with a few even having a prize pool in the millions of dollars.

On these events, you are betting on the outcome of a match between two teams or individuals playing the specified esport. These esports have been specifically designed to allow players to play against each other competitively and incoude games such as League of Legends, StarCraft II, Counter Strike: Global Offence and Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2).

What are the big advantages of betting on Virtual Sports as opposed to Esports?

There are a number of advantages to betting on Virtual Sports compared to esports betting:

  • Your bets are generally decided within a very short space of time with virtual sports betting (usually 3-5 minutes per esports event) which means you do not need to wait for results. With esports betting, when you back a team or individual, you have to wait for their match to be played before the result is known. This can mean a wait of several hours or even a few days.
  • There are a number of Virtual Sports betting options available on the site which means you can place lots of different bets on lots of different markets and get the results of these bets in a very short space of time. While there are lots of esports markets you can bet on nowadays, especially on sites like Betway, you will have to wait for all your matches to finish before your results are known and this can take a much longer period of time.
  • Virtual Sports betting is designed much more with the lower stakes gambler in mind who wants to place a lot of smaller bets on a range of markets across a range of sports. Virtual Sports is a perfect choice for example, for a slot gamer seeking to cut their eye teeth in the sports betting industry. Esports betting is much more aimed at sports betting enthusiasts rather than those seeking immediate results.
  • Esports events can have lots of matches where there is one heavy odds-on favourite taking on a much less fancied opponent which does mean that a lot of esports matches, especially in the Match Result market, tend to be heavily odds on favourites and very long odds outsiders. This isn’t great for punters that tend to bet smaller amounts. In Virtual Sports, because of the handicapping system in place, the odds between the competitors tend to be smaller, so there tends to be better value odds available.

However, in the interests of fairness I should point out that with esports betting, you can actually now bet In Play on some of the very big esports events and that there are live streaming services available, such as Twitch TV, which allows punters to follow the action as it happens. So, this does afford some betting opportunities that Virtual Sports betting does not have.

Are both Esports and Virtual Sports fair forms of betting?

Yes, Virtual Sports betting software is tested before it allowed to be played in online casinos to ensure that it offers punters a fair chance of winning. If the software is found to be unfairly weighted in favour of the casino, or is set up in a way to make a player lose, then the software is not granted a license to be used in casinos. This way you can be assured that all your Virtual Sports betting is as fair as betting on the real life sports.

With Esports, it too is a fair sport in that it has two teams or individuals competing against each other to win. Of course, as in any sports event, teams can ‘throw’ matches, but in esports there are contingencies in place against doing this and with so much money available in top level esports now, competitors stand to lose so much if they do this, so you can always be assured that a top level esports betting event is as free of fraudulent behaviour as any other top sports betting market you would care to name.


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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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