FACING A HUGE DROP IN REVENUE in the face of the global shutdown of live sporting events and closure of domestic betting shops, bookmakers have been firmly pushing obscure leagues and virtual sports towards their customers. On an evening there is some US racing and during the small hours there are Australian horses to bet on. But these do not take place during traditionally busy times and attempts to glorify the Belarusian Premier League football have failed miserably.
These are quiet times for betting companies who are clearly happy to tout anything from eSports to lotto games in the pursuit of turnover. But they are also times of boredom and isolation for millions of people who are eager to entertain themselves with something to watch and to bet on.
Enter virtual sports which made their debut as horse racing during the foot and mouth disease / outbreak of 2001. It was a time when all live racing, including the Cheltenham Festival, was cancelled in Great Britain and Ireland. Back then virtual race tracks included Portman Park, Steepledowns, Sprint Valley, Lucksin’ Downs and Canterbury Hills. Virtual greyhound tracks like Brushwood, Millersfield, Trapton Park and Mutleigh Cross joined the roster a few years later.
Nearly 20 years later the virtual market has now moved on to include the likes of virtual football, virtual motorsport, cycling, basketball, soccer and speedway. Furthermore the graphics of these ‘make believe’ sports have advanced immeasurably making virtual betting sports appear remarkably realistic to the point of deceptive.
And what’s more, in the mire that is Coronavirus, more and more people are now betting on virtual sports. BetVictor’s horse tracks such as Victoria Springs, Mount Park and Victory Straights and dog tracks Victoria Dogs Stadium and Round The Rock Stadium are racing 24/7. Plus there are International Football, Euro and US Basketball Leagues in virtual format at ‘BV’. Rivals Boylsports, in a classic display of egotism, have Down Boyle and Boylestown for horse tracks, there’s a Boyle View virtual greyhound stadium anda Boyle View virtual speedway amongst others.
Comparing the versions, weighing up the odds
But how does betting on virtual sports compare to betting on regular comparative sports? In terms of greyhound racing remarkably well as virtual races have six runners, also last approximately 25secs and offer win, forecast and tricast options. Virtual horse races can have sizeable fields but that’s a good thing compared to four-runner races and long odds-on favourites which often feature in the real-world. Generally speaking virtual sports, not just horse racing, feature tightly matched contested contests with competitive betting.
But the best part of virtual sports betting is regularaction – races and contests start every two minutes – and fair betting percentages. Unlike traditional horse and greyhound racing there are hard-fast percentage retentions making the likelihood of winning long-term on BetVictor virtual racing better than its real-life counterpart.
Real bet settlements, RNG results
Bets on Virtual Sports are settled the same way as for normal horse or greyhound racing. The outcome of the event depends on the number selected by a Random Number Generator (the RNG has been independently tested by a UK Gambling Commission) and each runner is ‘weighted’ according toits odds.
The higher the price the less numbers will be allocated toit and therefore the less chance it has of being selected as the winner. However, if it does win, the odds and payout will be correspondingly higher. The overall payout will therefore be in proportion to the chances a selection has of winning, with a percentage deducted by your online bookmaker. This deduction leaves an average return to the customer of between 70% and 96% depending on the specific game played and the number of runners. It is normally around two-percent per-runner.