Special Report: How Real are Virtual Sports?

Published February 11, 2016 by Lee R

Special Report: How Real are Virtual Sports?

In no other betting environment may punter opinions be more valuable.

Virtual sports sound clear conceptually, and many might bet on them, and enjoy betting on them, yet still not be able to define exactly what they are.

What are Virtual Sports?

Likely the technical accomplishment the provider is proudest to offer, virtual sports combine real-time results with the intelligence and creativity of the operator through different variations and rules which are compiled as games, enhancing punter engagement to enjoy the betting experience all the more.

The notion of virtual sports stems from fantasy sports; today's most popular fantasy leagues might be considered the most generic and basic form of virtual gaming today.

What does this mean? In the simplest terms, player performance by real-time statistics provides the basis customized games and variations defined by the provider in the rules of the games upon which the punter(s) can bet.


Virtual games are more than just intricate and innovative variations on existing player performance: they are also simulated games themselves, with each operator providing that simulation based on proprietary technology.

This gave rise to computer-generated games which punters can bet on. Virtual leagues have even been used to replace existing major sports competitions, such as the simulated league which was generated during the (American) NHL Hockey League strike of 2012.

Fantasy Origins

Conceptually, let's start with popular fantasy games, which are based on real time results but whose results are determined by the combination of players (“fantasy teams”) which each punter has compiled, or “drafted” as participants in a specific provider's fantasy league. Subsequent combinations of statistics can go in any direction, as long as they are clearly defined according to conventional standards of fair play and competition on an equal playing field.

Fair Play Defined

In the betting context, Betfair defines virtual sports punter offerings as a “selection of scheduled fixed odds games (events) that use a random number generator to decide the outcome. All players view the same schedules and the same outcomes. After the event has finished, the results are published and any bets on that event are settled.”

Punter Engagement

The games appeal to punters as unique betting opportunities offering a different form of engagement from betting on conventional real-time sporting events.

Single bets are most commonly placed by choosing, and selecting, a sport and/or event, and clicking on the price, which brings the selection to the player's betslip.


Technically speaking, the options are literally countless and unlimited. Virtual sports are more than just leagues, they are at root computer-generated combinations of sports and in-game statistics whose unique combinations define the game itself. Virtual events are patented according to US patent 8360835 B2 as “providing a system that creates virtual events within a virtual world.” Obviously, there is a wide range of latitude within this definition. Of virtuosity, or virtuality, the patent further explains that “A virtual event may be akin to a real event, but is completely computer generated within a computer-generated world and is based on statistical measures, either real world or created.”

The Importance of Statistics

The statistical measures become the components of the virtual game experience, and the target of outcome bets on virtual games that are already highly popular with punters in such online sportsbook giants such as William Hill Sports, 10bet Sports and bet365 Sports.

The Fun In Virtual Sports Betting

The fun in these bets is that knowledgeable punters passionate about real-time sports can make informed wagers based on their knowledge of circumstances, characteristics, and conditions by which these statistics were accrued in real-time. This means it behooves punters to understand the rules of the game in virtual betting as much as the statistics upon which those games are based.

Parting Punter Clue

Are you still trying to wrap your head around all of this? Here's a constructive hint: while virtual games do not take place in real-time, the statistics did.

Mentioned in this article

See also

Special Report: The Popularity of Fantasy Sports

Special Report: Trends in Gaming 2014

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