On the face of it, there is a massive difference between a standard online slot game and Virtual Sports. Slots are based on reels, usually three or five and you pay your stake, hit the spin button and the outcome of the reels will determine whether your bet was a winner or a loser. On most spins you won’t win anything, or very little, but on occasion one of those spins could see you land a sizeable win.
At first there seems to be very little in common between slot gaming as outlined above, and Virtual Sports. In Virtual Sports, you can bet on several markets on the same event and the odds for the different options available in each market are also different. So how can Virtual Sports betting, as it is so different to slots gaming, have any appeal to players who prefer to play slots?
The answer to this question lies in how each of the different types of game are set up and when you remove the ‘front end’ of the slot or Virtual Sport and gaze into the ‘inner workings’ of the game, then you would be hugely surprised at just how many similarities the two share.
To understand this, let’s first analyse how a slot functions, then compare it with how a Virtual Sports program works.
The Inner Workings of a modern online slot
A typical modern online slot game is based around a single key piece of programming known as a Random Number Generator (or RNG for short). Essentially, when you hit ‘spin’ on a slot, it appears as if you are setting the reels spinning and that they come to rest in a certain pattern across the reels. It is how that pattern is decided which is the key function of the RNG.
On old mechanical slots, there was a very limited number of possibilities on what outcome you could land on a slot, hence the jackpot on these games tended to be smaller. It was only with the advent of electrical slot gaming and the development of the microchip, that the number of possible outcomes for a slot were increased many times over, which allows slot games to offer greater value prizes.
The modern online slot is simply a digitised version of this and its RNG can work through millions or even billions of possible combinations of symbols on the reels in every spin. On each spin, one of these combinations is selected. Sometimes it will select a combination that is a winner, other times it will not.
Having selected the combination of symbols, the program then displays these symbols on the reels and if you are a winner, you are paid out, if not then you are free to spin again, when once again the RNG will whizz into action and select another line out of the myriad available.
It is important to note here that the RNG is totally random (and this is checked and verified by companies like eCOGRA who will certify games once they have been checked for fair play).
This is a key issue for slots players to understand as it means that you cannot have a ‘foolproof slot strategy’ to win and that you cannot influence your chances of winning, other than by playing more spins on the slot and hoping the RNG picks you a favourable combination of symbols.
Once you understand this is, at a basic level, how an online slot works, you may then ask yourself, how is this relevant to Virtual Sports? And the truth of that is that Virtual Sports tend to operate on a very similar basis, although how the results are displayed in Virtual Sports are very different.
How Virtual Sports results are worked out
Look behind the main display of a Virtual Sports game and its inner programming and you would immediately be struck by how similar it is to a slot game. While Virtual Sports don’t rely on a ‘spin’ button being hit to start (the games tend to start automatically after every three or five minutes), the actual process of working out the results for Virtual Sports is almost identical to a slot.
By that, we mean that there is a RNG which plays a key role in deciding the outcome of the event in Virtual Sports. To ensure that there is some relevance to the betting however, certain outcomes need to be weighted. For example, a football match is more likely to finish in a 1-0, 1-1, 2-1 scoreline than it is a 4-0 scoreline. To allow for this a handicapping system is built into the software which then weights the different options available and produces the odds for each that you see on screen.
So when you see on a Virtual Football game the odds on a 1-1 draw are shorter than those on a 4-0 win, you know that there is more chance that the game will end in a 1-1 draw, but that the RNG still could pick a number which means that the game finishes 4-0, it is just more likely (over a long period of games) to select a 1-1 scoreline.
This is similar to a slot game RNG being more likely to pick lower value wins on slot games, rather than higher value wins more often. Indeed, it is almost a clear parallel between the two types of game.
Of course, Virtual Sports software is more sophisticated than that, but that process of random selection is the fundamental part of both games and it is part of what makes slots so appealing to players, therefore by default, it should also be the case that slot gamers would also find Virtual Sports betting equally enjoyable.
I prefer slots though as it is so simple to play, Virtual Sports are more complicated.
This is often a reason given by slot players as to why they don’t want to try Virtual Sports. They prefer the simplistic nature of slots where you click the spin button and tend to not have to make any other decision beyond that.
However, Virtual Sports betting can be equally simplistic. Nothing is simpler than betting on the Outright Winner market of an event, whether you are selecting a single runner, rider, driver or team to win the event in question. You don’t need to involve yourself in some of the other bets available if you do not wish to. In this way, betting on Virtual Sports can be as simple as playing a slot.
In other ways, betting on. Virtual Sports is preferable. Firstly, you can control the size of your bet and bet as much or as little as you like, whereas on some slots you need to bet a minimum or maximum amount. In addition, with each Virtual Sport taking around three to five minutes to complete, this means you won’t burn through your bankroll quite as quickly as you would playing slots for the same amount of time.
This difference in speed however could also be seen as a downside for slots fans who prefer the faster-pace of these games.
What is certainly true is that there are far more similarities than there are differences between slot games and Virtual Sports. So much so that in the United States, many states are now legalising betting on Virtual Sports, even when sports betting is illegal, as legislators and experts view this form of gambling as being closer to slot gaming, rather than sports betting.
So whether you love sports betting or the slots or both, Virtual Sports offers you a new way to indulge yourself and whether you are a slots fan or a sports betting enthusiast, you should find a Virtual Sport that is the perfect fit for you.