Virtual Sports Experiencing Huge Surge in Popularity

Written By Ian John on April 9, 2020 - Last Updated on September 2, 2021
Virtual Sports

With the sporting calendar decimated, it is perhaps unsurprising that the dearth of real-world action has seen the betting habits of people start to change. One niche market which has thrived in the current circumstances is the Virtual Sports industry.

However, it is also important to draw a distinction here between events which are called Virtual Sports on betting sites, and some of the ‘virtual sports events’ that have been run over the weekend, some of which people have even been able to bet on (such as the recent Virtual Grand National race that was shown in the UK at the start of April).

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Virtual Sports and Virtual Sports Events – The Difference

A quick check on any popular sports betting site would show a number of Virtual Sports listed. These are events that have been run for some time on betting sites which replicate real-life sports events, in much shortened form. Punters can bet on these events as they would real life events and each Virtual Sport event takes between 3-5 minutes to complete.

There are, of course, a large number of Virtual Sports games to choose from at bookmaking sites including Virtual Horse Racing, Virtual Soccer, Greyhound Racing, Darts and many more.

However, confusing the issue is the fact that a number of events, which feature real life competitors, are now also being referred to as Virtual Sports and compounding the confusion is the fact that some of these events can be bet on too.

For example, last weekend instead of the Mugello circuit in Italy attracting 200,000 visitors, a much larger figure tuned in to watch a Virtual Race between many of the riders in what was dubbed “The Stay at Home GP”.

Similarly, last weekend saw the largest live stream of a Virtual or Esports event in the United States when over a million people tuned in to watch the Live Stream of a NASCAR race, featuring a number of top drivers, who were competing over the Internet. Formula 1 bosses have already run a number of what they call e-races featuring real life drivers from the series, as well as specially invited competitors and celebrities.

Which Virtual Sports are proving a hit?

In actual fact, both forms of Virtual Sports are proving to be a hit with customers. Bookmaking sites have reported a real surge of interest in their virtual sports offerings, with punters willing to place bets on the events that they offer.

Alongside that, the Virtual Sports Events that are being run online, are also proving to be a smash hit success with fans. The Virtual Grand National in the UK, for example, raised over £2.6 million in cash for the NHS based on bets take on the event alone. Similarly, bookmakers are reporting a surge of interest in betting on these events, with more scheduled over the coming weeks.

Virtual Sports

Some of the best Virtual Sports Events to look out for include:

  • Virtual Football Competitions – such as the FIFA 20 Ultimate Quaran-Team tournament organised by Leyton Orient FC
  • Virtual Boxing – Last weekend saw Muhammed Ali beat Sonny Liston and Mike Tyson defeat George Foreman in Virtual bouts, with Tyson and Ali set to clash this weekend. Over 35,000 people tuned in to watch the first Virtual Bouts on YouTube.
  • Virtual Racing – The success of Virtual Horse Races like the Grand National, as well as Virtual NASCAR, Motorcycling and F1 means that more events of this kind are likely to be scheduled in the near future.

And in addition to these, bookmakers offer their own selection of Virtual Sports to customers 24/7.

Photo Courtesy by RewardBet

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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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