Virtual Sports Betting Has Been a Big Winner in 2020


As the saying goes ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ and while the early part of 2020 has been a veritable disaster on so many fronts, many charities, especially those in any way related to the treatment of diseases such as Covid-19 have seen record charitable donations.

NHS Charities Together (the umbrella organisation that represents more than 140 NHS charities) is a case in point. In April they received a single cheque for £2.6 million from British bookmakers who accepted bets on a hastily arranged virtual Grand National and donated all of their profits to the cause.

It is fair to say, in a normal year when the real Grand National would have taken place at Aintree, the bookmakers would have scooped even greater profits which they would have pocketed for themselves. But let us not forget that all betting shops were shut meaning punters could only place their sports bets online and furthermore it was agreed that the maximum bet stakes they would accept on the ‘2020 Virtual Grand National’ was just £10.

The virtual race was won by 18/1 shot Potters Corner with the favourite Tiger Roll finishing in the each-way paying positions. The size of the profits shows just how popular a virtual edition of the race was and that’s underlined by ITV’s viewing figures which show almost five million people watched the animated race.


Changes to the Business Model

Inspired by the success of the virtual Grand National, bookmakers have since made alterations to their business model. No longer relying on the ever-faithful live horse racing and football, they have kept some part of their turnover churning courtesy of virtual sports betting.

For some punters betting on sports which are not real may seem like nonsense but people have been betting on slot machines for years. Online arcade style slot games are something which have enjoyed widespread popularity for two decades. If you want to explore them offer free spins to all new customers every single day.

And it must be pointed out virtual sports presentations which are used for betting work on the same principles of online casinos. By that we mean the results of virtual games and matches are derived from a Random Number Generator (or RNG for short) which selects the winners and placed contestants by absolute chance.


Here’s How Virtual Sports Work

Every virtual sport, whether it’s virtual horse racing, football, greyhounds, speedway or NASCAR will always feature a set number of runners/selections available to bet on. And, just like real life, every possible selection has a price / odds depending on its chances of winning, the shorter the price, the higher the likelihood of winning and vice-versa.

Each virtual sports event runs through a regulated (licenced and verified as ‘true’) random number generator to determine the outcome. But how do they determine the odds from here? Well, each event can be compared to a spin of a ‘luck wheel’ where an arrow determines the winner. The largest segment of this wheel will represent the horse/dog/driver/team most likely to win. They will be the favourite and if half of the segment of the wheel is for the favourite they will be priced around even-money.

Consequently the price, or odds, on offer is the lowest for the favourite and they increase as the probability of winning drops (think of just a small section of our lucky wheel). Players can thereby choose their own risk vs. reward. It doesn’t sound too dissimilar to normal racing, but there are plenty of positives in backing virtual sports.

Not only are the races and games staged every couple of minutes, the real beauty of virtual sports betting is exciting colourful life-like images and results which are not clear until the contestants cross the line or the final whistle is blown.  

Game makers have become masters of making virtual sports betting events an exciting spectacle which is not always the case in some sports particularly horse racing which can be subject to very short-priced favourites, small fields and facile winners.


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