Due to the pandemic lockdown on sports and entertainment events, sports betting operators are suffering and players are looking for an alternative to bet on. Major sportsbooks are already offering wagering on virtual sports and such sports gather so much popularity.
Who knows about the history of virtual sports? Virtual sports are video games where the computer software plays sports events, contests or races. An algorithm determines the outcome based on the participants’ skills and the luck just like in real sports. The most common sports include football(soccer), horse racing, dog racing, motor sports, tennis, basketball, and many more. Such sports boast with fantastic 3D graphics, topped up with professional voice-overs in multiple languages with camera angles that capture every single move that is happening on the field. Virtual sports include not only a great real-life experience but a range of betting options and game cycles that can keep bettors invested throughout the whole time.
Right now, it’s extremely important for an sports betting operators to have an eSports betting section to their name because such can provide a 24/7 availability and a great collection of sports to wager on.
Some operators that are nice to mention are Global Bet, Betradar, Kiron, NSoft, Golden Race and Leap Gaming, and more.
The global lockdown drove away sports fans from the stadiums and put them behind their monitors spending their money on dog races or actual players in eSports.
For example, in the UK some of the most famous gambling websites started hosting virtual sports events and they go around the clock every two minutes. There is no possible way for these events to fail except if your computer dies or there is a crash on the website.
Such events are on their way to beating bookmakers. For example, on Betfair one race was listed as “race 70,879,877”. This is quite enough to paint the picture of how frequent these races happen.
Let’s take a horse race on BetFair. The runners and odds of winning are listed on the website before every race, so bettors can get a good grip and make their decision on which of the horses they are going to bet on. You can say that bettors are betting on the blind side because horses are briefly shown before the race, so people can get an idea of how they look. However, there is no time to compare them to the rest which happens in real races.
If we take virtual football, there are a lot of things you can bet on like match winner, total goals, correct score, away team goals and so on. There is no additional information on them so it’s all up to just basic odds. Before a match starts, there is a “no bets” announcement so bettors can’t bet in the process of the game. This way they can’t find out how the match is playing out for the teams on the field.
Charles Ritchie, from Gambling with Lives, an organization set up for families that lost loved ones due to gambling-related suicides, worries that people will start gambling on virtual sports more than ever with the coronavirus lockdown.
“While virtual sports betting has so far accounted for only a small proportion of overall betting activity, they have become increasingly popular amongst regular online bettors. But these are not real sports events – these are ‘events’ constructed entirely to provide an opportunity to bet, indeed multiple and frequent bets. No one is interested in the result per se. There is no ‘form’ to be studied, no skill in picking a “winner”. They owe more to so-called ‘slots’ and casino games, based on high speed random number generators, which are associated with incredibly high addiction rates. And that’s where the worry lies. Will more people who either don’t bet or bet on traditional sports be drawn into this dangerous activity, essentially through boredom?”
eSport events turned into great big events on the telly during the coronavirus crisis. Last weekend one of the biggest TV channels in the UK “ITV” broadcasted “The Virtual Grand National” horse race that was supposed to take place in real life. All money that was placed on the race was donated by bookmakers for the National Health Service charities.
One of the worries of Charles Ritchie is that people who don’t normally bet but have made accounts in betting websites just for the race, they are now exposed to the vicious marketing of the industry.
More on that:
“The worry for campaigners for gambling reform is that this was just a Trojan Horse for gambling companies, with people having to sign up for an online account in order to place their bet… who will now be subjected to the relentless marketing by this voracious industry.
Of course, it will have also introduced many people to the whole concept of betting on a virtual ‘sport’, which is the only ‘sport’ to bet on in these days of lockdown. The event raised £2.6 million for charities – a tiny proportion of the industry’s £14.5 billion winnings (and punters’ losses). But for how many people was this the first step on the path to addiction? That £2.6 million will be swamped by the costs of harms caused by gambling and the deaths by suicide to add to the estimated 500 gambling related suicides every year in the U.K.”
eSports are seen to have expanded in popularity within the course of the last few weeks. The Online Betting Guide pinpoints that numbers to its eSports betting tips page show that there is a major 943% increase in traffic.
The crisis is going to bring enormous popularity to virtual sports but there is still the concern that people will spiral into gambling-related addictions faster than ever.
Keep in mind to bet responsibly and mindful whether it’s virtual sports or casino games and have fun. The question now is: Will virtual sports forever change sports betting post-pandemic?
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