Over the last couple of weeks, we have brought you news of two new Virtual Sports offering from Inspired, one of the leading producers of Virtual Sports betting games and software in the industry today and who have partnerships with many different companies, including the likes of Betway and bet365 Sport.
What is clearly evident in the production of the new Rush Darts and Rush Basketball games is that Virtual Sports is an industry which is moving on from its older, computer-generated games and graphics, to games which use real-life footage captured on specialist cameras to generate the sporting element of the Virtual Sports betting experience.
Although Virtual Sports is still a relatively new industry, it is an exciting time to be part of it. Not only are companies like Inspired producing new games, with new technological breakthroughs allowing them to present their Virtual Sports offering like never before, with new camera angles, real-life footage and hyper-realistic presentation, but the industry itself is expanding around the globe.
Virtual Sports Global Expansion
We already know that there is a burgeoning Virtual Sports industry. Industry data reveals that aside from football and horse racing betting, in the UK alone, Virtual Sports is now the third most important market in terms of revenue generated, for online UK sports betting companies.
However, it is not just in the UK that Virtual Sports are growing. Recent legislation in New Jersey, in the United States, has allowed Virtual Sports to be offered to people for the first time and that ruling was seen as a landmark one that would pave the way for more of the 52 states to offer Virtual Sports betting as part of their betting options online. That is a huge potential market for Virtual Sports to expand into in the coming years.
We also know that Virtual Sports remains hugely popular in other parts of Europe too, Italy in particular has developed a love for these particular games and there are a number of companies offering Virtual Sports to Italian-based customers, which receive huge support from a growing number of Italian punters. This trend is being replicated too in other countries across Europe, particularly those where traditional avenues to sports betting, or online casino gaming, can be fraught.
A good example of this is Sweden, where new legislation in January 2019 means that Swedish customers can now access only registered companies licensed to operate online for Swedish customers. This means that all the companies offering Swedish customers any form of online gambling product, including Virtual Sports, needs to be licensed by the government. While this legislation may be viewed by some as being an infringement, it also does make it safer for users to access only reputable sites.
However, it is not a rosy picture across the world completely. In Australia, more draconian laws surrounding online betting and gambling mean it is now only a select few forms of gambling that are legally allowed online in Australia, but the good news for punters around the world is that there seems to be a drive towards more opportunities being offered to punters, rather than limiting their options.
The upshot of this is that while Virtual Sports has enjoyed immense growth over the years, it has the capacity to grow still further in years to come.
What will Drive this Expansion?
It’s clear that these new developments in the Virtual Sports industry, such as the creation of new Virtual Sports games that are more realistic, offer more betting options and which look as much like the real thing as the real thing itself, will be one of the driving forces in Virtual Sports in the short term. We already know that companies are working on the ‘next generation’ of games that will not only offer such advances as those outlined above, but also give Virtual Sports more context (for example, by making football matches in Virtual Football be part of a single competition, allowing punters to bet not just on the game itself, but also on the outcome of the competition).
However, what will be a deciding factor in each geographic region around the world, will be ensuring that the Virtual Sports created for that part of the world, match the demand for Virtual Games from customers in that region.
For example, while soccer may be a hugely popular game around the globe, there are parts of the world, Canada for example, where it remains a minority sport. So any company seeking to make inroads with Virtual Sports in the Canadian market may well be better looking at producing a game that will appeal to more Canadian punters, such as Virtual Ice Hockey.
This could be extended to other countries, such as New Zealand punters being attracted by Virtual versions of Rugby League and/or Rugby Union. Japanese punters may enjoy their own version of Virtual Sumo, the opportunities here are endless and can be based predominantly on the passions of the country that the betting company wants to expand into.
Of course, there is also the opportunity to offer these newly developed games in other countries, thus enriching the Virtual Sports landscape for all other players across the world too.
One other way that Virtual Sports popularity can be increased is by basing some Virtual Sports on huge sporting events, by that I mean events like the World Cup in soccer or the Olympic games.
I have long felt that a Virtual Olympics is a fabulous idea. Although many events are not traditional betting events, the fact that Virtual Sports can offer betting on anything that designers can create means that this is feasible. Not only could ypu have multiple disciplines available in the Virtual Olympics, such as athletics, field events, archery, shooting or indeed any Olympic event you choose, but you could also tally up the medals won by countries and allow betting on how many Gold, Silvers of Bronze medals each country would win.
The great thing about Virtual Sports is that while they are based on Virtual Sports and popular forms of betting at present, there is huge scope to move into other fields in the future and given how popular this form of betting has become in such a short space of time, that only makes these future developments even more likely.