Virtual Illustrations

Even though so much of the news today focuses on the challenge to federal law that bans sports betting, New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement last month authorized “virtual” sports betting.

Think of virtual sports as a cross between an ultra-high-definition video game and sports betting.

PlaySugarHouse.com and BetfairCasino.com are the first to offer virtual sports — horses, greyhounds, speedway (motorcycles) and motor racing, as well as soccer. Additional racing and team sports are scheduled to launch in the near future.

GoldenNuggetCasino.com plans to go live the week of Dec. 18.

Content for all of these sites is provided by Inspired Entertainment Inc. Based in London, with other locations throughout the world, Inspired began offering virtual sports betting in 2001.

According to a news release from Inspired, the company also has agreements with Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Caesars Interactive Entertainment and Resorts Casino Hotel.

In addition to online virtual sports betting, Resorts plans to offer virtual sports betting in its iGaming Lounge just off the casino floor.

“We think they will prove very popular and have the potential to create a really exciting atmosphere in that area,” Ed Andrewes, CEO of Resorts’ digital arm, EA Gaming Consultancy, says.

How does it work?

Just like an actual sporting event, after placing their wagers, gamblers watch a live stream of the race or game, including “live” commentary.

The difference is that virtual sports outcomes are determined by a random number generator. In terms of wagering, virtual sports offer a number of options, depending on the sport.

Horse racing wagers include win, place or show, as well as exacta and trifecta.

Team sports, like soccer, offer the standard sports book wagers: straight, money line, over/under and such bets as the final score, selecting the team that will score first and/or last, and the outcome of the first half.

Already extremely popular in Europe, William Hill Sports Book in the United States was the first to introduce virtual racing and now offers it in casinos throughout Nevada.

“We see virtual (sports) mainly as a filler product,” William Hill U.S. CEO Joe Asher says. “There’s less live horse racing content available these days, so virtual racing fills the void, particularly on slower days when the major tracks aren’t running.”

But what if the Supreme Court allows sports betting in New Jersey? What effect will that have on virtual sports betting?

Following Asher’s train of thought, not much. Gamblers can bet on virtual sports 24 hours a day in peak and off-peak seasons.

Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Darryl at MrACCasino@gmail.com and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question — without your name — may appear in a future column.

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