Amongst the backdrop of an ever-burgeoning sporting world, the rise of the virtual sporting environment is one of incredible success. Whilst the real thing continues to rise across the globe, so does the desire for virtual sports too, making it one of the industry’s most key revenue generators. But, just how has this happened?
The origins of virtual sports
It was 1961 when virtual sports first became an idea. John Burgeson created a code on a traditional IBM 1620 that supported a 20kb fantasy baseball program, essentially, it was the creation of the virtual sports model. Horse racing betting machines began to pop up in gambling arcades and casinos in the 1970s before the computer software explosion in the ‘80s initiated developments in software and games that would eventually become virtual sports titles.
Sports simulation games began to spring up in an increasing number of gambling establishments that provided the user with a chance to bet in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. And, as the internet and online gambling experience became and have become worldwide phenomenons, the virtual sports industry of the modern era was born.
A decade ago, virtual sports was a mere pipedream. But, with approximately a fifth of over-the-counter revenue within bookmakers on the high street coming from virtual sports, computerised sports betting is here to stay too. The growth of mobile gaming and the fact that virtual sports are no longer just required to fill spaces between race meetings have been key to both maintaining and enhancing the overall development of the virtual sports industry.
A generation of gamers
The so-called “gaming generation” have played a major part in this popularity boom too. It’s this current demographic that has witnessed the continuous developments in technology whilst growing up with the likes of computers, consoles, smartphones and even tablets permeating their lives in every which way possible.
It’s a generation that cannot stand waiting around, rushed off their feet with time constraints that seem over-exaggerated to older generations, but extremely real for those in the middle of it. Consuming their entertainment and betting at the time it suits – walking for a bus or a train or on their lunch break – is an example of that ‘instant win’ drive more normally associated with roulette and slots that virtual sports offers consistently.
With virtual games shown live repeatedly throughout the day, seven days a week, the massive betting markets offer an unbelievable potential. Whilst games of football last for over an hour-and-a-half, for example, a typical virtual sports event takes a matter of minutes. For players that enjoy placing bets on various sports, virtual gaming has made it extremely simple, quick and really rather fun to bet during the actual season too, and not just the off-season.
It is this cross-selling potential that gives a previously tired audience a new kind of buzz. For example, people who enjoy playing the best online slots UK sites avoid betting on sports simply because they do not understand the game or the rules surrounding it.
Virtual sports, on the other hand, acts as a bridge between the two, ensuring those lacking a basic sporting knowledge the opportunity to wager on an equally exciting, fast-paced action that these players desire. There’s no wonder then that more money is bet on virtual sports than on sports like cricket, darts, snooker and even tennis and golf.
And, virtual sports betting is not influenced by chance – unlike the real thing. Serious algorithms are employed by each and every sportsbook with the algorithm itself being subject to independent verifiers to ensure its complete neutrality. The form book and the section that contain the recent results of a virtual sports platform are certainly of prevalence, giving bettors the confidence to wager to their hearts’ content.
The good news for bettors is that the most popular markets can be backed, including the likes of football, horse racing and even Formula 1. Betting outright or each way and even combinations such as Forecasts are available to players.
Despite originating in Europe, virtual sports is not just confined to one continent. One of the most important things to note is that Africa too is experiencing an unexpected rise. That massive continent in the middle of the globe is not exactly thriving as a live sporting hub.
Yet, virtual sports is taking off in that continent too, mainly because of virtual sports’ ability to provide players with entertainment where live sports and broadcast options that can be relied upon are unavailable for the vast majority of the population.
In essence, virtuals are not far from the real thing, particularly because of their incredibly life-like graphics, engaging gameplay and thrilling narratives. Plus, with over 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa boasts the youngest population in the world, making it an extensive expanse of potential.
The future of virtual sports
Virtual sports seems to be on an irrepressible rise; greater advancements are to be expected, as, given the improvements in computer memory and software in the past couple of decades, the technological boundaries will continue to be pushed.
The recent virtual Grand National and the hype and excitement surrounding it given the absence of the real thing suggests that there is an appetite for such events. The success of Potters’ Corner and the life-like race that featured every fence, jump, speck of mud and the grip of the spectators suggests that virtual sports is most definitely on the right track.
The audience, throughout the globe, is there in huge numbers and virtual sports gambling sites are not exactly going to sit on their haunches and keep a stagnant product. As an increasing amount of money continues to be spent on virtual sports betting, that industry will grow to an extent nobody can predict.
And, with most virtual sports betting being done at home or on a mobile device, an improvement of internet speed and the capabilities of devices to process the software will undoubtedly enhance the industry.