Why Are Virtual Sports Proving So Popular With Punters?

Written By Ian John on August 22, 2018

Recent studies into the betting habits of sports betting site customers in the UK reveals that after the two big betting markets of football and horse racing, the next biggest market that punters bet on in terms of revenue is Virtual Sports betting.

That is an incredible statement when you consider that the very nature of sports betting is that it is based on betting on real events. Sure, football (or soccer as it is known in the United States) and horse racing may still attract the huge numbers, but when it comes to the rest, punters spend more money betting on Virtual Sports than they do the likes of golf, tennis, rugby, motor sports, esports or indeed any other sport you can bet on that you would care to mention.

When you consider the nature of sports betting, that is somewhat unusual.

Why Virtual Sports shouldn’t be popular with punters

At first glance, Virtual Sports is a clear fit on a sports betting site. It is based on sport and it allows punters to make bets that can be concluded far more frequently and quickly than on a standard sports event. So, it would seem that it is only logical that these Virtual Sports would be popular.

However, dig down beneath the surface of Virtual Sports and how it differs from standard sports betting and you quickly begin to realise that its popularity within the sports betting community is somewhat anomalous.

First up, the pull of sports betting for many is the ability for them to use their abilities to research teams, events, players and competitors to help inform their bet. In horse racing for example, a huge amount of research is undertaken by serious punters into which bets to make, even to the point of investigating the breeding of a horse to see whether it is suited to a particular type of race or not.

Many Football punters also invest plenty of time researching bets, looking at the strength of teams, their form, which players are injured or suspended and even the historic data between two teams. Indeed you can say the same across any number of sports with enthusiasts in golf, tennis, rugby etc using their knowledge and research skills to select their bets carefully.

In Virtual Sports though, this type of research isn’t possible. That is because each event in a Virtual Sports race or game is randomly generated and all the participants in that event, and their form or abilities, are also randomly generated. As such, there is no historic data players can use to help inform their bets.

In essence, betting on Virtual Sports is done ‘blind’ with the only guide to your chances of success being the odds of the bets that you wish to make (and you also know that there is a high degree of variance in Virtual Sports which means that the ‘favourite’ will not win all the time).

Given that Virtual Sports is at its core, so different to standard sports betting, just what is it that is making it so popular on sports betting sites?

What makes Virtual Sports betting so popular on sports betting sites?

We’ve outlined a list of reasons why we feel Virtual Sports is so popular amongst sports betting enthusiasts.

  1. Opportunity

The first thing to note is that if you want to bet on Virtual Sports then the easiest place to do this is sports betting sites. For whatever reason, when Virtual Sports were first developed, the companies decided their best fit was not on casino sites, but on their sports betting arm.

As such, if you want to bet on Virtual Sports, then you will usually head to a sports betting site. This could mean that some of the Virtual Sports betting market swelling the sports betting revenue each year, may well simply be Virtual Sports fans, rather than outright sports betting enthusiasts.

  1. Speed of Virtual Sports compared to Real Sports

There is no doubt that the speed at which Virtual Sports events can be completed makes them hugely attractive to punters who prefer to have fast-paced forms of gambling. While sports betting enthusiasts can and do place long term bets (such as betting on who will win the Premier League back in August before the season begins, for example) there are many who also prefer much faster paced betting.

While in some sports faster paced betting is available (particularly with the advent of In Play betting), the speed at which results are generated is not on a par with Virtual Sports when a new event will start every three minutes.

What is particularly exciting for many punters is that they can bet on the same kind of markets in Virtual Sports as they would in real sports, but they will get the result of their bet much more quickly. For example, place a bet on an outcome of a football match just before the game kicks off and you would have to wait 90 minutes, plus any injury time, for the bet to conclude.

With Virtual Sports, this is reduced to just three minutes, which means that in the same time period of 90 minutes, you can enjoy 30 times as many bets on the same market as you can on a single football game.

  1. No need to research your bet

While for many sports betting fans the ability to research your bet is a bonus, for many who do not have time, it can be a bit of a negative to think that other punters are making bets having more knowledge and understanding than you on a particular sports event.

Virtual Sports however levels the playing field here somewhat as nobody can research their bets beforehand, other than looking at the odds of the selections you want to make and are going against. For those with limited time, or who are disinclined to spend a great deal of time researching their bets, this makes Virtual Sports a very appetising option.

  1. Virtual Sports similarity to slot gaming

I think one of the biggest factors in Virtual Sports surge in popularity is that it shares many similarities to a casino game that is massively popular, slot gaming. Both use a Random Number Generator (RNG) at the heart of their software to generate the results and both cannot be researched or predicted as a result.

Indeed, it is this very factor which has led to Virtual Sports betting being allowed in some American states where, at the time of writing, sports betting is not allowed.

The fact that Virtual Sports is a similar type of game to slots in terms of how the results are worked out, even if the front end is very different, means that not only will it appeal to a certain section of sports betting players, but also it will have wide appeal within the slots community too.

  1. Scalable betting on Virtual Sports

What is nice about Virtual Sports betting is that you can scale your bets as you see fit. If you want to bet with micro-stakes for a bit of fun, then that is perfectly feasible. Similarly, if you want to wager larger sums of money as a higher roller, you can do that too.

The fact is, no matter how much money you have in your sports betting account, you can enjoy Virtual Sports betting.


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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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