Thursday May 12,2016 : VIRTUAL SPORTS MAKING AN IMPACT IN THE STATES
Innovative European betting vertical is proving popular with land casino operators.
Betting on computer simulated competitions in sports like horse and greyhound racing, football and cycling – generically titled virtual sports – is proving increasingly popular with US land casino operators, with Atlantic City's Golden Nugget the latest to contract the Inspired group's products, and the Tropikana taking similar horse racing products from Slovenia-based Alfastreet
Players have access a wide range of information on the contestants in order to help them select what they hope will be a winner, but the games are algorithmically controlled, with outcomes determined through the random-number generation model developed for online gambling.
The software engines driving the game are clad in modern cinematic-quality graphics with sound effects to create the appropriate environmental ambience for the player.
This week Golden Nugget VP for online gaming, Thomas Winter, told the Press of Atlantic City that virtual sports presentations tend to be short – between 30 seconds and 2 minutes – and concentrate on the highlights of a particular race or match, with state law requirements imposing a minimum return to player percentage of 83 percent (because the games are RNG-driven they are not classified as skill games).
He said that the company hopes to launch virtual sports betting in July or August this year once it has received the green light from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
UK virtual sports supplier Inspired is watching New Jersey developments with interest, seeing a significant potential market in the United States. The company claims it has virtual products in over 50,000 land-based venues across the globe.
The head of the North American division of Paddy Power-Betfair, Eamonn Toland, shares Inspired’s enthusiasm, commenting that virtual racing is particularly popular in his company's 600 betting shops throughout the UK and Ireland, and that the product is a revenue driver for operators of retail sports books, allowing them to “fill in the gaps between actual races.”