Frank Wenzig for iGamingBusiness
Virtual Sports has long been considered an effective way for bookmakers to increase engagement and time on site. As part of an offering, it can help deliver similar advantages of other Betting Stimulation tools in both enhancing a user’s experience and generating increased betting activity for the operator. Despite this, not as much has been said about its potential impact and role in newly emerging markets.
There may be several reasons behind this. However, in order to get on the front foot in emerging markets, the importance of being proactive and looking ahead to the potential trends and technology that could take hold is widely advised. As such, Virtual Sports really shouldn’t be ruled out when it comes to deciding on what to include as part of an offering within emerging markets.
While traditional sports betting appeals to punters and fans, and slots and esports meets the desires of gamers, Virtual Sports is the perfect go between to attract both types of audiences. It therefore can be considered a fitting solution for current and prospective emerging betting markets like the US and Asia specifically.
One of the other key, yet largely undermined, ways for operators to invest in newer markets is by helping customers understand and embrace legal betting. If we look at the US pre-PASPA, fantasy sports and casinos were largely the only ways to place a legal wager. In Asia, where betting is predominantly not legal, esports and video games are popular. Fantasy sports, casinos, esports and video games all share similar gaming, interface and fictitious elements found in Virtual Sports. Given audiences’ existing understanding of such features, Virtual Sports could be seen as an ideal method of attracting and familiarising audiences within newly legalised betting markets. In this way, it has the power to introduce punters to sports betting and other offerings part of a sportsbook.
With the constantly evolving nature of technology, Virtual Sports are becoming closer and closer to reality. Using Motion Capture, real game footage and betting opportunities based on real-life sports data and betting markets, these days users are presented with Virtual Sports that look and feel just like betting on real sports. Again, it could therefore be used as an effective bridge to entice new punters who may be familiar with gaming but are nervous or unsure about placing their first legal bets on real sports.
Virtual Sports also provides the ability to be entertained by match action and place a bet while this plays out. In this way it can act similar to live streaming, which is renowned for its high entertainment and engagement factor. Sportsbooks can also use Virtual Sports effectively by choosing the product and markets that best suits the region where they wish to operate. In Asia, for example, using Virtual Football or for the US, Virtual Basketball. When it comes to emerging markets then, Virtual Sports therefore can and should be viewed as an ideal option given they contain several components that could enable a sportsbook to get off the ground amongst new audiences.