Modern technology offers players more opportunities to line their pockets that ever before, with advances in IT letting many games taking a step into the world of the virtual.
So, what exactly are virtual sports and what opportunities do they represent for the tech-savvy punter?
What Are Virtual Sports?
When you hear the words ‘virtual sports’ it’s easy to summon up images of FIFA on the PlayStation… and you wouldn’t really be that far from the truth. Modern ‘virtual sports’ are independently-run simulations of the events without any additional input from human players. Outcomes are found by software programs crunching statistical data and quickly coming to a result about the team or player that won. This is then played back to viewers as virtual representation showing the end result. Think of it as being a bit like those games of ‘Premier Manager’ that you played at University, with the system simulating the matches played by the team you managed and then displaying the highlights of the competition.
This simulation is what you are betting on in virtual sports and – thanks to recent advances in technology – they’re making bookies and punters serious money.
With the mass of punters now playing online through apps and smart devices, the market has seen a shift towards accommodating an ‘always on’ culture – with audiences rewarding companies that let them place punts wherever and however they like.
Each simulated game lasts a fraction of the real-world time and games regularly take place within less than five minutes of each other. This means that the games have proved to the perfect palate cleanser for the average punter looking for a quick flutter at any time of the day. No matter what time you choose to play or log-in, games are constantly running and you can continue punting even when a season has officially concluded or play has stopped. This conveyer belt of content means that there is little ‘dead time’ spent waiting for bets to be paid out, or for games to start – meaning you get your money faster and have just-enough time to get yourself set up for the next game.
As with anything that seems too good to be true, seasoned punters are often cagey about putting their money down on something that is completely divorced from the real world. While the technique used to produce results for each event is created using a random number generator, the fact that current events do not influence wins can be a huge turn off for some players. This has led companies to invest in high-quality visuals to accompany the games, often providing authentic sound captured from stadiums and motion-capturing players and animals to help build trust for the punters watching.
To bolster confidence, many sites also use real sports data to help influence their decisions, but you have less than no chance of finding out what that means for the system’s hidden algorithms. For example: many companies talk about bringing the ‘real-world’ into virtual punting by having current favourites influence the probability of their winning an event or game. However, this often means that generator will be simply ‘skewed’ in favour of an in-demand or on-form team. In practice, this means that a favourite will simply have the scales slightly tipped in their favour – meaning that if you decide to play the same game repeatedly over a period, one player or team will win more often than another.
But when it comes to betting on events, there are many options available – the specifics of which will change on a case-by-case basis, with virtual horse or dog racing currently offering the most choice when putting your money down. Most bookies will offer the standard spread of bets on virtual events, allowing you to punt on wins, losses, draws, the correct or total scores. Additional wrinkles can include the inclusion of forecast and tricast bets. Forecasting asks you to make two picks that come in 1st and 2nd in actual or reversed order or by selecting a combination of three options, two of which must finish 1st or 2nd. Tricasting simply asks punters to set 1st, 2nd and 3rd place bets. To help with this, the stats and odds for past events are available, but given the semi-randomised nature of punting on the system, these can prove to be less helpful than normal.
So, when it comes to betting on virtual sports, punters have access to a range of sports and a short turnaround on wins, or losses. Meaning that if you are looking for quick filler or a chance to learn about the world of punting, this is very much for you. However, at the end of the day it is numbers being fed in at one end and numbers coming out the other with visuals laid over the top. Just make sure that you’re fully happy with the overall setup before opening your virtual wallet.
What Virtual Sports Are There And Where Can I Bet?
As virtual games have grown in popularity almost all types of sport have fallen under their umbrella. This includes football, tennis, horse and dog racing and less well-known events such as virtual motor racing or speedway events. A general rule of thumb is that if there is a market for it, there will be a virtual game in the pipeline – after all a company has even produced a successful ‘virtual cockfighting’ game that is popular through sites like BetConstruct.
But if you’re looking to have a go in the world of virtual punting, here are three sites that are worth checking out.
BET365: The site offers a straightforward layout and a varied a selection of events including horse racing, greyhounds, cycling and even more niche events like trotting! The site allows for the use of the tricast system and, while lacking in bells and whistles, has a straightforward interface and is a perfectly reliable place to punt: https://www.bet365.com/#/AVR/B144/
PADDY POWER: With a pleasing interface and easy to navigate layout, PP’s offering is unsurprisingly a little more advanced than the fare from other companies. With one-click information about their virtuals and an embedded odds calculator and stat tracker, the site is a perfect first port of call for those looking to step into the game: http://www.paddypower.com/bet/virtualsports
What Tips And Advice Should I Have For Dealing With Virtual Sports?
Understand The Skillset: With the deployment of a random number generator, in-depth knowledge of teams, events and courses is not required for events. Instead, statistical analysis can be extremely useful in helping you figure out how the system may be skewing outcomes.
24/7 Use: Remember that constant access to the game gives flexibility, but the one-game-after-another effect can quickly drain your purse of winnings before you know it. Make sure that you retain your discipline when placing bets and ensure you gamble responsibly.
Find A Solid Starting Point: While virtuals may not lend themselves easily to long-term serious punting, placing bets can give beginners a solid grounding in the ins-and-outs of placing bets and learning more about the process. This makes them great as a provider of training wheels but the nature of the virtual, semi-randomised game means that it doesn’t fully equip you with some of the more complex skills that are required for ‘real’ punting.
Fully Verify: Always make sure that you do some due diligence to pick up as much as possible about the number generator that is used for the system and how it has been verified. Reputable sites will be independently tested – as seen by Bet365 being fully compliant with the standards. Many seasoned punters turn their noses up at casino or roulette games online – make sure that the virtual sports you are betting on aren’t in the same wheelhouse.