What Are Virtual Sports? The Casino-Sportsbook Hybrid, Explained

Virtual sports refers to software that plays out a digital version of a real-life sporting event. This is not to be confused with eSports, where human players face off in a competitive arena. Virtual sports are wholly computer-generated competitions, and they can be a fun alternative to traditional sports betting and slots play.

What Are Virtual Sports?

Virtual sports are simulations of real-life sporting events. The virtual players usually have real-world counterparts, which means the favorite on a virtual sport would likely be the favorite in a real-life matchup. But the chances of winning are more akin to a slot because you’re still relying on random number generators (RNG) and other algorithms to generate a random result.

Then again, you don’t have much control over how a real-life sporting event plays out either. Gambling is gambling, and virtual sports offers a fast-paced, on-demand alternative for sports bettors when a game isn’t being played.

How Virtual Sports Are Fair

The teams in virtual sports don’t play perfectly in that their odds of winning represent probability, not a guaranteed representation of success or failure. Every on-field event has a certain chance of success or failure depending on players on your team, players on the opposing team, and the random luck that exists in sports. 

For example, if you’re playing virtual football, your team could have a high-quality kicker and defense but a low-quality offense. If the ball lands right, your team could win, even if they’re not the favorite before kickoff.

More specifically, let’s say you bet on a team that’s currently on offense. The quarterback might have a 90% chance of making a pass, the receiver has an 80% chance of catching it, and the opposing team has a 30% chance of an interception. If your receiver catches it, it now has a certain percentage of gaining yards, taking the ball all the way, fumbling the ball, and so on. 

The probability of violations as well as poor playmaking decisions can also play a role.

Types of Bets On Virtual Sports

The types of bets on virtual sports depend on the software provider. All of the different variations accept outright match winner money line bets, and most also offer points spread betting. But some accept live betting wagers and prop bets.

For example, if you’re betting on virtual soccer, you can bet that the next in-game event will be a corner kick. If you’re betting on virtual basketball, you can bet that a specific player will score over X number of points.

Scheduled eSports Vs. On-Demand eSports

At both online casinos and land-based casinos in the US, virtual sports are typically on-demand. But as more states legalize online casino gaming, the scheduled virtual sports options will likely become more robust. In Europe and Asia, most of the big online casinos offer both on-demand and scheduled esports events.

Scheduled esports events often include live chats with other bettors as well as the ability to enter and start betting on a game after it’s begun. There’s also sometimes a betting pool component where the more people betting, the bigger the win potential.

Virtual Sports Vs. Virtual Horse Racing

Virtual horse racing has been around for well over a decade now. It’s much simpler than virtual sports in terms of how the algorithms work. No in-game situations are really taken into account that can affect the outcome. Each horse has a certain probability of winning, and an RNG determines the result at random.

What’s most interesting about virtual horse racing—as well as virtual dog racing, car racing, and motorcycle racing—is the ability to bet win, place, show, and other horse racing bets rather than simply the winner of the race. For example, you could bet that a horse will win for the highest possible payout and the lowest chance of winning. Or you could bet that it will “show,” or come in the top three, for a lower payout but a better chance of winning.

Where To Play Virtual Sports In The US

Many land-based casinos in the US offer virtual sports, especially virtual horse racing. Around Vegas and Atlantic City, you can find virtual basketball, football, and soccer pretty easily.

In terms of online, the only states with online casinos offering virtual sports betting are Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Some of the top options include:

  • Caesars Casino

Most of the virtual sports available to US bettors are available on all three platforms. So whichever you’re already familiar with should do you fine.

About the Author

Mike Epifani

Mike Epifani

Casino Content Manager
Mike Epifani is a gambling expert and professional writer with more than a decade of industry experience. His current role is Brand Content Manager at Bonus.com, part of the Catena Media network. Mike has written hundreds of guides on online casinos, casino gaming, sports betting, sweepstakes sites, and lottery play.
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