Virtual Sports Betting is growing year on year with new sports and new features being added to the offering, including ad-hoc virtual products such as Virtual World Cup, Cash-Out, improved Graphics and Bet-Builder. This is improving the user experience massively in the attempt of making Virtual Betting as exciting as real sports betting.
Virtual sports also has several advantages compared to conventional sports, both for players and for bookmakers. In this article, we’ll go over the fundamentals of virtual sports, the best providers, range of sports offered, and the pros and cons. We’ll also give you some examples of virtual sports and betting, and examine the legal status of virtual sports.
Best sites for virtual sports betting
|10bet offer Virtual Football, Basketball, Greyhounds and Horse Racing||Check it out||When you sign up with 10Bet and deposit £15 or more, you'll be awarded a generous welcome bonus of 100% up to £50 - so make a first deposit of €200 and bet with €300.|
|Bwin offer over 10 Virtual Sports, including Instant Football and In-Play Tennis||Check it out||When you decide to sign-up with Bwin, you’ll be awarded a welcome bonus of £10 money back as a free bet if your first sports bet loses.|
|Sportingbet offer one of the best designed Virtual Sports product||Check it out||If you open an account with Sportingbet, you’ll be awarded a FreeBet as a welcome bonus if your first sport bet loses.|
|MansionBet offer a wide range of Sports plus a free bet when you try Virtual Sports||Check it out||Min. deposit £10. Only debit or credit card. You must enter the code MB50. Deposit & bonus amount must be wagered 6 times (min. odds 4/5).|
|12 Scheduled Sports, 5 Rush Sports and 7 On-Demand: probably the best Virtual Sports out there||Check it out||Promo code SPORTS40a. 1st sports bet of £10+ at Odds of 2.00+. £30 free bet paid in 48 hours of settlement, valid for 7 days. Full T&Cs apply.|
What are Virtual Sports?
The Need For Speed
Virtual sports are the latest development from bookmakers seeking to meet the massive demand for new betting markets. Going online, bookmakers found an incredible platform to reach enormous audiences with ease.
That audience is comprised of players like you, from all over the world. Customers now expect sportsbook betting action around the clock. Traditional sports betting markets based on real-world events can’t keep up with the demand.
Furthermore, the inherent limitations of betting markets based on conventional sports began to show. In the digital age, players expect instant odds, instant bets, and even immediate events and payouts.
A football match still takes the same number of hours to play, regardless of the demands of players worldwide, conventional sports—and time itself—can only go so fast.
The Virtual Solution
Enter virtual sports.
It all started with pen-and-paper fantasy sports. Players would make betting pools with their favourite players, and update stats weekly, with winners taking home the pot. Fantasy sports were and are a smashing success. They were also the gateway into the world of virtual sports.
Players, now accustomed to making picks based solely on statistical data, were ready for the next step. Virtual sports simulate the rules and dynamics of real-world sports, complete with statistics and random chance.
Now, you can go to your favourite bookmaker and place virtual bets on a simulation of your favourite sport. It created an endless field of possibilities and countless new betting markets. More importantly, it satisfied that existing need for speed.
Virtual sports, being simulations, happen at a much greater speed than real-life events. Results that you would have to wait hours for, take mere minutes to payout. That’s how virtual sports are changing the picture of online sportsbooks.
How Virtual Betting Sites Work
Virtual betting sites give users an ample selection of different virtual sports to choose from. A virtual sport often has a full-fledged realm of stats and numbers you can gloss over. Entire fictitious teams, players and records come into play for each virtual match.
That means they require a measure of skill. Rather than a purely random outcome, virtual sports will simulate these fictional stats and provide an expected result. They incorporate hundreds of variables, which are generated through balancing algorithms
In a matter of minutes, you can see the result of the simulated matchup. You’ll also instantly receive your payout on any virtual betting markets.
Online Bookmakers Offering Virtual Sports
There’s a broad selection of online bookmakers offering virtual betting markets today. The amount of providers only continues to grow, as virtual sports rise in popularity. We’ve compiled a helpful list of bookmakers that have virtual betting below.
Bet365 is one of the largest international online bookmakers, with offices in multiple countries and thousands of employees. It’s one of the world’s best-known online gambling operators. Licensed in Gibraltar and based in the UK, it’s a legitimate outfit with official sponsorship deals with Premier League teams.
Bet365 was quick to jump on the bandwagon of virtual sports, in its usual seamless, polished style. It has an impressive portfolio of virtual sports, each with its version of virtual betting markets. Some games even have live betting markets available during the match.
Still, animations and sound effects, while serviceable, leave room for improvement. They’re sufficiently detailed to be immersive for players, but lack that extra something you’d expect from such a sizable operator.
William Hill is one of the oldest and most reputable bookmakers on the planet. Founded in London in 1934, William Hill is a major force in the industry and is listed in the FTSE 250 stock index. With millions of players and billions in revenue, William Hill is one of the safest and most trusted operators.
William Hill was one of the first online bookmakers to introduce virtual betting markets to its customers. William Hill offers a variety of virtual sports and betting markets for users. It also offers unique, dedicated promotions and offers for its virtual sports customers.
William Hill’s virtual sports platform is rather sophisticated, with excellent graphics and an intuitive user interface. It’s one of the finest virtual sports simulations around.
SkyBet is an online bookmaker, the sports betting arm of the Sky Betting & Gambling company, based in Leeds. Born from the ashes of the defunct Surrey Sports bookmaker, SkyBet has absorbed online operators like TotalBet and UKBetting over the years.
Fully digital, SkyBet is one of the few UK gambling operators with no physical locations. Its operation is entirely based on telephone, internet and mobile betting action. That also makes its digital platform one of the soundest in the market.
SkyBet has a broad selection of virtual sports, from virtual football betting to virtual greyhound racing and beyond. SkyBet’s virtual sport streams are of decent quality and fairly stable. The graphics are nothing to write home about, but good enough for immersion.
Founded in 1886, Ladbrokes is one of the oldest and most reputable bookmakers in the world. With a long and illustrious history, Ladbrokes employs over 16,000 people and has yearly revenue exceeding a billion pounds.
In recent years, Ladbrokes has shifted its focus from operating physical betting shops and casinos to online operations. This approach has led to tremendous growth and international expansion of its online business.
Ladbrokes sponsors many sports leagues and events, including the Scottish Professional Football League. Its licensed and regulated by the prestigious UK Gaming Commission, the UK’s highest gambling authority.
Ladbrokes was among the first bookmakers to join the tidal wave of virtual sports. It now offers a complete virtual platform, comprising multiple virtual sports and virtual betting markets. Ladbrokes also offer exclusive virtual betting welcome bonuses and offers.
BetVictor is an independent bookmaker, founded in 1931 by businessman William Chandler, and later renamed Victor Chandler after his son. When Victor Jr. inherited the business, he decided to move it offshore in 1998, to avoid unfavourable UK taxation.
This move is credited with inspiring the abolition of the gambling tax in Gordon Brown’s 2001 budget. Renamed BetVictor in the 2000s, the company, headquartered in Gibraltar, is an active sponsor of many professional sports championships.
Licensed and regulated by the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, BetVictor is also a member of the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association. BetVictor began offering virtual sports through its online portal several years ago.
BetVictor offers some attractive promotions and offers for new virtual betting players. It offers fantastic odds across various virtual sports leagues.
Ireland’s largest bookmaker, BoyleSports, based in Dundalk, is a major player in the online sportsbook industry. Founded in 1982 by John Boyle, the company is a top-rated online and mobile operator.
BoyleSports has grown over the past three decades from a small betting shop to a massive operation. The company have hundreds of offices across Ireland and have entered the UK market as well.
BoyleSports sponsors many horse racing events and professional sporting teams and events. The company also has Irish professional footballers as brand ambassadors. Its online business, though, is now the largest part of BoyleSports.
With a dedicated virtual sports section, attractive 3D graphics and an appealing interface, BoyleSports is a contender in virtual betting. It offers multiple virtual sports, promotions and an excellent diversity of virtual betting markets.
Based in London, Betfair, founded in 2000 by Andrew Black and Edward Wray, is the world’s largest online betting exchange. Betfair offers an online sportsbook, casino, poker, bingo, and many other markets.
Betfair introduced virtual sports into its platform back in 2016. Since then, it’s become an increasingly popular option for players, with a few different sports. Betfair offers excellent virtual sports betting odds as well.
Betfair also has a collection of ongoing promotions for virtual sports fans. These include bonuses and offers to make the most of every bet.
When first introduced in 2016, Betfair’s virtual sports centre had over 3300 unique betting markets every day. It’s only grown since.
Betway is one of the largest international online gambling operators, handling everything from poker and casino to sportsbook and bingo. Betway holds licenses from multiple regulators, including the UK, Malta, Spain, Denmark, Italy and others.
A well-established company, Betway has entered numerous sponsorship deals with professional sports teams and events. The company sponsors Premier League football clubs, Premier League Darts, horse racing and more.
Betway has integrated virtual sports options into its platform for years now. The website has pretty standard quality graphics and sound effects. Nothing to get excited about, but good enough to do the trick.
Where Betway truly shines when it comes to virtual sports is in its selection of virtual betting markets. Its virtual football betting markets are extremely diverse, and other virtual sports aren’t too far behind.
Bwin, originally Betandwin, is one of the largest online gambling companies in the planet. Founded in 1997, this Vienna-based operator Bwin acquired the British gaming titan PartyGaming in 2011.
After this merger, Bwin wound up becoming the largest publicly traded online gaming company in the world, by valuation. With operations in 25 core markets and several gaming licenses from multiple regulatory bodies, Bwin is a trusted name.
Bwin has over half a dozen virtual sports to choose from and a sizable offering of virtual betting markets.
Its virtual football betting markets and simulation software are rather high-quality. The interface is quite intuitive, and the graphics are polished. The graphics for other virtual sports are also well-executed, though not as fit as those in virtual football.
How many Sports can I find for Virtual Betting?
Every virtual betting sportsbook operator has its set of virtual sports, depending on its unique simulation software solutions. Some providers concentrate on just a few sports, like Betfair, featuring mostly horse racing, football and motor racing.
Other providers have a broader selection of sports, which can include tennis, American Football, greyhounds, darts, and more. The following are some of the sports most commonly offered by virtual betting operators.
Virtual Horse Racing
Virtual horse racing is one of the most popular offerings in the virtual betting world. They include graphical 2D or 3D simulations of the race itself. You’ll usually find they have sound effects such as crowd reactions, starting pistol, and track announcers,
Different events are often available, such as Flat Races and Jump Races. Each event has its list of horses and jockeys, odds and virtual betting markets. Some operators provide virtual live betting markets as well.
Most virtual betting sites offer some kind of virtual horse racing, with new events available every 4 to 20 minutes.
Virtual Football Betting
Virtual football is another pillar of the best online virtual betting sites. Virtual football includes a wealth of different betting markets, with some sites providing dozens.
Matchups are often separated by classifications such as the World Cup, European Clubs, UK Clubs, American Clubs and such. Most virtual football betting sites come up with a unique league, team and player names and visuals.
Graphics can go from the rather shoddy to the downright impressive, and the same applies to sound effects. With most operators, virtual football simulation graphics are a showcase of the best their platform has to offer, technologically speaking.
Virtual football matches are very fast, taking mere minutes in some operators. There’s often new matches every 4 to 20 minutes, depending on the individual virtual betting site.
Virtual Greyhound Racing
Virtual greyhounds can be just as thrilling as the real thing! Widely available with providers who offer virtual horse racing, virtual greyhounds follow a similar format.
In terms of graphics and sound effects, virtual greyhounds normally lag behind virtual horse racing. Event selection usually features both Flat and Jumps races. Many operators create virtual dog tracks, complete with track names and other information.
They do tend to be more superficial simulations than other virtual sports. Most races don’t have much in the way of historical data, and virtual results don’t feed into future races.
Virtual Motor Racing
Virtual motor racing is one of the most popular forms of virtual sports around, and operators know this. They invest significant resources into producing polished race virtual tracks, circuits and whole virtual championships.
Previous virtual results are visible, and virtual motorsports tend to be among the most attractive in an operator’s virtual sports portfolio. Races are fast and frequent, with most virtual betting sites offering them every 2 to 10 minutes.
Betting markets can be somewhat limited with some providers, though a few are more open and even offer some accumulators.
A handful of virtual sports betting sites offer additional simulated sports matchups. These include virtual tennis betting, virtual American football betting, virtual darts and others.
Some operators offer advanced features such as live in-match betting for their virtual tennis platforms. Still, when it comes to graphics, other virtual sports tend to be rougher around the edges.
Betting odds can also be slightly less favourable, due to the reduced competition for a specific sport not frequently offered.
Bet Builder – How to Create a Virtual Sports Bet?
The Vanishing Bookies
Before the advent of online sportsbooks, placing a bet was a personal matter. You had to call up a bookie and talk to them or see them in person. Getting odds on a custom, highly specific bet was always possible if a bit bothersome.
As more and more operators shut down or minimise their high street shops and focus their efforts online, traditions are lost. The role of the bookie as the human mediator between players and oddsmakers increasingly become obsolete. In the process, though, people lost the ability to easily request a custom bet of any type, at any time.
Bet Builder to the Rescue
Bet Builder features were introduced to remedy this shortcoming, and have been quite a hit since. Bet Builders let players add together various same-match betting markets on a single bet. They instantly calculate the odds, giving players a lot more freedom in their wagers.
Bet Builders are different with every provider, but they’re universally intuitive. They may be integrated into the regular platform of the website, like with BoyleSports, or a standalone feature. In either case, they include a selection of sporting events and related betting markets.
Using Bet Builder for Virtual Sports
For virtual betting sites, that includes a helping of virtual sports betting markets. Bet Builders that accept virtual betting markets will simply list them among the available events and markets. Players only have to place their virtual Bet Builder wagers like they would any other.
Select the virtual matchup you’re interested in, and explore the available betting markets. Make all your picks for the match you want, in every market you want to participate in. Once you’re ready, the Bet Builder algorithm will calculate the odds for your custom virtual sports bet.
It’s as simple as that! As long as the Bet Builder operator includes virtual sports in their repertoire, it’s a pretty straightforward process.
Virtual Sports Examples
If the whole virtual sports deal still sounds a little abstract to you, don’t worry. That’s perfectly normal. It can be a bit tough to wrap your head around without seeing it yourself.
We’ve put together a few helpful examples for you to get a picture of what virtual sports can look like.
Virtual Football Betting Example
Let’s say you’re a fan of football, and particularly enjoy the English Premier League. So, what would your options be in the virtual football world? Let’s pick a virtual sports bookmaker for our example: BoyleSports.
Most sites will have a virtual football league equivalent of the Premier League. It may be called UK Football, Grand League, Premier Championship, or anything else that bears a passing resemblance.
In the case of BoyleSports, it’s simply called Football (Classic Football offers national selection matchups). Immediately you’re greeted with the information of the next match, with matches being no more than 3 minutes apart.
Two teams face off: the fictional Manchester Reds vs the Basel Spires. Eight markets are available. 90 minutes (H, D, A), correct score, total goals, over/under 1.5, over/under 2.5, both teams to score, and total goals for home and away teams.
Each market has a variety of possible bets and odds quoted. Select the markets you’re interested in, enter your stake, and place your wager. That’s it!
Virtual Horse Racing Example
For this example, we’ll be using SkyBet’s virtual horse racing platform. With SkyBet, you can view a list of results and scheduled race times, spread about 3 minutes apart. Each race will show you a list of 9 horses and their riders, along with their odds.
We’re partial to a horse called Station Square, with hockey J: David Barry. Odds are 4/1. We could simply click on the odds and add the pick to a bet slip, and get results within 3 minutes.
Another betting market available is the tricast or forecast. We could pick Station Square to win, and any other two horses for 2nd and 3rd. We could also put together a forecast with any number of horses, to finish anywhere in the first three. Simple enough.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Betting on Virtual Sports?
Virtual sports are a relatively new development in the world of online gambling. And like any new development, they pose many convenient advantages, as well as some unfortunate downsides. Check out the pros and cons of virtual sports betting below.
- Virtual sports betting has exceedingly fast results, with matchups lasting mere minutes. Faster virtual sports results mean faster payouts, faster cashouts, and more action per day. It’s the biggest advantage that virtual sports have to offer.
- A related advantage of the speed of virtual sports betting is the extremely high frequency of matchups. There are thousands of events per day with every operator, including dozens of betting markets.
- Unlike conventional sports betting markets, virtual sports are available every day of the year. No matter the season, the weather or the time, your favourite sports have virtual matches about to start.
- Virtual sports offer a permanent selection of betting markets that might not otherwise be available to customers. By presenting new sports and events at all times, virtual sports can guarantee certain betting markets at any given time.
- Modern virtual sports feature immersive live streams with 2D or 3D simulations, sound effects and ambient soundtracks.
- A reduced element of skill. While conventional sports are affected by an abundance of variables available to players as information, virtual sports rarely do. Bets placed are inherently less informed than bets on conventional sports. Some operators do include statistical simulations for some sports, such as football, but it’s very uncommon at the moment.
- Relatively limited betting market selection. Virtual sports may have a highly stable portfolio of betting markets with their 24/7 availability. But the actual range of betting markets is usually much smaller than what’s available for conventional sports.
Is Virtual Sports Betting Legal?
Like all betting and online gambling activities, virtual sports betting falls under the purview of national gambling commissions. Different jurisdictions follow different regulations, but a few gambling commissions hold the most sway in the international gambling industry.
Rule of Thumb
The status of virtual sports betting itself also depends on the specific legal jurisdiction in question. In jurisdictions where all betting is illegal, they’re probably illegal as well. However, if betting is legal in your jurisdiction, virtual sports are probably legal as well.
There are some special cases. In certain jurisdictions, betting on sports is illegal, but not betting in general. This loophole allows virtual sports betting sites to offer services in these regions. A good rule of thumb, though, is to look for regional availability and licensing.
Licensed online sportsbooks will comply with the local regulation of every territory they operate in. Therefore, if your home country is available as an option when signing up, the bookmaker is permitted to operate there.
Similarly, if a licensed virtual sports betting site offers its services in your region, you can safely assume they’re legal. Regulatory agencies monitoring licensed operators regularly audit them for compliance. So simply focus on verifying that you’re dealing with a licensed sportsbook, and you’ll stay safe.
What To Avoid
Certain questionable online guides offer some ill-conceived advice for getting around geographic filters and restrictions. They include techniques such as spoofing your location or using VPN services.
Following such advice is unwise. When licensed casinos block access to users from certain regions, it’s almost certain they’re not legally allowed to operate there. Accounts found to have been opened using false information or using VPN services are subject to closure.
If gambling is illegal in your location, seeking out online sportsbooks willing to take your business is also unwise. It’s likely a crime in your jurisdiction, not to mention, operators willing to do business are probably unlicensed.
The following are some of the most common questions from players regarding virtual games betting. They span the basics, key differences and standout operators, among others.
How Do Virtual Sports Work?
At their most basic, virtual sports are all electronic games that draw rules and dynamics from real-world sports. They’re offshoots of fantasy sports and leagues, with fully fictional sports matchups.
They work in a pretty straightforward way. An algorithm determines the outcome of every match, down to the details. The action is displayed in a live stream to the player, at an accelerated pace. Events take only a handful of minutes to complete and payout.
Virtual sports have client-facing odds and internal probabilities. Unlike real sports, you can’t capitalise much on information about the match or players, beyond the odds provided. They may have numerous betting markets, but the selection is often more limited than with conventional sports.
Which Is the Best Bookmaker in the UK for Virtual Sports?
There is a great variety of online bookmakers for virtual games betting in the UK. The best operator, though, depends entirely on what your priorities are.
BoyleSports is one of the better virtual betting sportsbooks for players who want to keep it simple. Their no-frills interface is extremely easy to use and combines a smooth experience with full functionality.
BetVictor is the operator with the best portfolio of virtual basketball options. They include markets like virtual European basketball and virtual US basketball.
William Hill offers the best odds for most virtual sports and is the most trusted name in UK sportsbooks.
How Many Online Bookmakers Offer Virtual Sports in the UK?
The UK has both legal gambling for everyone over 18 and zero taxes on your winnings. This makes it a uniquely favourable place for bookmakers to flourish. There is no shortage of options for sports betting fans, and virtual sports are no exception.
There are dozens of major and minor UK sportsbooks offering virtual sports services. When you consider the number of sportsbooks outside the UK offering their services to UK players, the options are endless.
Some of the best virtual sports bookmakers for UK customers are Bet365, William Hill, SkyBet, Ladbrokes, BetVictor, Bwin, Betfair, Betway, BoyleSports, Betfred and Coral.
What’s the Difference Between Virtual Sports and eSports?
eSports and virtual sports may have similar-sounding names, but they’re radically different things. Similarities stay at a superficial level, like the fact that they are both based on computer software.
Virtual sports are largely played automatically. Players gage the odds and place their bets, but the outcome of the game itself depends on algorithms. Neither the player nor any third parties have any influence over the results of the match.
On the other hand, eSports are actual live matches, involving real players or teams facing each other in computer games. They are broadcasted online and have been gaining prominence in recent years, with notable examples like Overwatch and CS:GO.
Is Virtual Sports Betting Available in Other Countries (e.g. US)?
The regulations that oversee gambling activity depend entirely on the territory you are playing in. In countries such as the US, this includes your state, as different states have different gambling laws.
In the US specifically, the Protection and Amateur Sports Protection Act forbids betting on real-world events in the country. There is an exception for the state of Nevada, but that’s it. However, virtual sports aren’t real-world sporting events. In states where gambling is legal and regulated, virtual sports betting can be legal.