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History of Virtual Sports

Virtual sports are electronic games that originated from fantasy sports. But how did this type of sport become popular in the iGaming world?

As we mentioned in a previous article, virtual sports are great alternative to cancelled sports events during the days of the pandemic. People are enjoying their home comforts with a cup of tea or beer and a good game. But how did it all start? We are going to briefly go over the history of virtual sports and how they became this multimillionaire industry.

So, What are Virtual Sports?

First thing first: virtual sports are different from esports. In their core, virtual sports are electronic games that originally came from fantasy sports created on a piece of paper. You may wonder how on Earth can virtual sports originate from putting pen to paper. Well, communities used to play out virtual games with pen and paper. In 1961 a wise man called John Burgeson invented fantasy baseball. It was originally created on an IBM 1620 computer with an RNG deciding the outcomes. This little project became the foundations of virtual sports.

If we go back in time, the traditional sports betting has been already used more than 2,000 years ago in ancient Greece. From the Greeks, sports betting moved to Rome, where it was even legalized. Still back in a days, when the Internet and modern technologies were absent, people used to go to betting shops. Little did they know that in the 1970s, the computers were going to replace the odd stroll to the betting shop. When technology became to be acknowledged, game developers started creating gambling games with horse racing and motor car racing games. Those games included just one bet type and the same old odds for every race. So, when the 1980s struck and most people afforded computers like the Commodore 64, the BBC Micro Model B, and the ZX Spectrum, developers went on to offer gambling fans more opportunities to bet. The software of those machines was quite simple so it had to grow with time.

As the years passed, sports games become a big trend across the world and more advanced ones started appearing such as simulations or real-life sports. One classic simulation game was “Football Manager” on the age-old ZX Spectrum computer.

In the 1990s computers became more powerful and the Internet made it possible for people to play against each other across the globe. Fast forward to the 2000s and the first solid online sports betting websites appeared. With all of this said, bookmakers introduced not only enhanced graphics and more games but mobile sports betting, as well.

Simulations like virtual football, virtual basketball and different horse racing games emerged and the world quickly recognized them. By 2010 virtual sports betting sites introduced competitive multiplayer games that became the first virtual sports in the world.

The Future

Either we like it or not, the future is here and with everyone staying at home, the virtual world became the new reality.

Other than that, it is pretty clear that virtual sports are going to stick around for a pretty long time. People love the comfort of their homes and they love the thrill of a good sports tournament. Recent metrics show that people in the US have been buying a bunch of gaming consoles and games.  They seek shelter from the reality. So, what is better than watching some virtual sports match and winning a bunch of cash?

If you are a virtual sports fan or you want more info on the industry, check out’s new daily articles on the iGaming and virtual sports industry.

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