The global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns fundamentally changed many of the industries that were once seen as infallible. The sports world was one of the hardest hit by the lockdowns in particular, seeing countless international events being closed down and millions of disappointed fans, especially for those sports betting lovers that could no longer indulge in their favourite pastimes.
This didn’t mean the end for sports betting, however, and wasn’t long before virtual sports became massively popular seemingly overnight. And in the year that virtual sports have been in the spotlight, they have become one of the biggest revenue generators in the betting world, and raking in huge new groups of fans hungry for sports betting.
How It Started
The premise of virtual sports, one where fans are able to take out a wager on a sporting event that didn’t actually take place in real life, was based on fantasy sports, a pastime that has become wildly popular across the world in recent decades. But it’s a premise that didn’t appeal to the general public until it was taken to the next step of its revolution, one where adding 3D visuals and advanced computer algorithms to bring the events and the players to life. This is how virtual sports were ultimately born, but where they once nothing more than an experiment, the 2020 pandemic turned them into a full-blown industry that has the potential to take over the conventional sports industry completely.
Its Growing Popularity
Virtual sports have always had their small share of the betting market, but compared to live sports betting, it was relatively small and was seeing almost no significant growth up until the start of 2020. Research has shown that during the period from the start of the lockdowns that occurred around the world, betting based on virtual sports increased by 30% – and that was from a single study – the true number is almost certainly higher. With live sporting events shut down almost completely across the globe, more and more people were scrambling to find a way to continue their betting, and virtual sports offered a simple and accessible way of doing just that.
The advantages of virtual sports are fairly straightforward: having access to a full range of different sports in the comfort of our own homes with nothing needed except a computer/tablet/smartphone, along with an internet connection. Constantly improving technologies mean that virtual sports are also becoming much more complex and nuanced, and current RNG systems allow for a truly unpredictable outcome for each event that adds the thrill to each game that most betting fans fall in love with.
The Future of Virtual Sports
Much like video gaming, virtual sports are starting to skyrocket in international popularity, and most experts believe that they will continue to hold on to their new fans even when real sports once again become available to the general public. With more and more betting companies investing heavily into virtual sporting technology, they may just start to overtake their conventional counterparts.