Virtual Sports Betting vs. Regular Sports Betting

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Virtual Sports Betting vs Regular Sports Betting

Sports betting has existed in some form or another for thousands of years. The Ancient Greeks famously bet on the Olympics back in 776 BC and even beforehand.

Of course, some sports gambling aspects have changed since those times. For example, virtual sports betting is now available.

Relatively new to the scene, virtual betting involves wagering on digitized sporting events. If you haven’t wagered on virtual sports before, then you may wonder how they compare to the real thing.

The following post covers both the similarities and differences between virtual and regular sports betting. It also discusses if one type of wagering has an advantage over the other.

Similarities Between Regular and Virtual Sports Betting

If you’ve bet real money on sports before, you shouldn’t have much difficulty getting into the virtual variety. Here are commonalities that you’ll notice between the two.

Same Types of Odds

The odds, whether they’re American, decimal, or fractional, work the same in both traditional and virtual sports betting.

For example, a team with -110 odds will see you bet $110 to win $100 at a virtual and regular sportsbook. Provided you have strong knowledge of betting odds, then you’ll be able to jump right into the action.

Same Bet Types

The transition from traditional to virtual sports betting is also made easier by the bet types. Both kinds of sports gambling offer many of the same wagers.

Here are the common bet types that you’ll find in both virtual and regular sports wagering:

  • Moneyline
  • Totals (over/under)
  • Point spread
  • Prop bets
  • Quarter/halftime totals
  • Asian handicap
  • Double Chance

Online Setups Are the Same

Online sportsbooks have always offered regular betting. However, more have added virtual sports wagering to the mix as well.

The formats for regular online and virtual sports betting are basically identical. The only notable difference is that the latter always features a screen where virtual sports matches/races play out.

Both Offer Online Betting Bonuses

Mobile sportsbooks offer bonuses through both traditional and virtual sports gambling. You can even mix and match the two types of wagering when meeting terms and conditions (T&Cs).

For example, you might sign up and qualify for a 100% match bonus worth up to $200. Afterward, you can satisfy terms and conditions through both virtual and common sports betting.

The key is that you place all wagers at the requested odds or higher. For example, you might have to bet at -150 odds or better (e.g. -145, -140) while satisfying rollover.

Differences Between Virtual and Traditional Sports Gambling

While both types of sports wagering have the same basic components, they also differ from each other in many ways. Here are the key differences that you’ll notice between traditional and virtual sports betting.

Traditional Sportsbooks Can Be Available Online or Live

A regular sportsbook can be available through either a land-based or online bookmaker. Therefore, you have different options when betting on traditional sports.

For example, you might take a Las Vegas vacation and want to visit the most luxurious sportsbooks. In this case, you and friends/family can place wagers in style and watch matches on big screen TVs afterward.

Alternatively, you may feel like placing a quick bet. You need only pull out your phone or hop on a laptop to do so.

Virtual Sportsbooks Are Always Online

Unlike with regular betting, virtual sports gambling is always online. You can visit a betting site that offers this type of wagering to get started.

A land-based sportsbook could theoretically provide virtual betting. They can offer TV screens that play computerized contests. For now, though, brick and mortar bookmakers stick to traditional wagering.

Regular Sports Bets Are Determined by Real Athletes

Many sports fans enjoy placing bets and watching their favorite teams afterward. The athletes’ performances decide the fates of these wagers.


Sometimes, athletes will exceed expectations and help deliver a win. Other times, they’ll have underwhelming performances and cost you the bet. In either case, the human element of sports betting keeps you on your toes.

An RNG Determines Virtual Betting Results

Virtual gambling doesn’t involve real players. Instead, it uses computerized graphics and a random number generator to deliver lifelike sporting contests.

The graphics are on par with modern sports video games, similar to what you see in Madden or FIFA games. The RNG, meanwhile, delivers random results that, over time, fall in line with the given odds.

Of course, sports are random in general. A virtual contest, however, uses an algorithm to deliver this randomness.

Normal Sporting Contests Last for a While

No matter if you’re watching football or soccer, you can expect the games to last for a lengthy time period. With football, for example, regulation time is 60 minutes. This time doesn’t even account for the commercials and breaks.

Of course, you may appreciate watching an entire game. This is especially true if you’re watching and betting on the match with friends.

Regardless, sports games typically last for at least two hours. You’ll need to wait a while before the outcome of your bet is decided.

Virtual Contests Finish in a Minute

Virtual sporting events are supposed to mimic the real deal. They do this to a large degree in terms of gameplay.

However, virtual sports gambling doesn’t show the entire contests. Instead, it only showcases the highlights of digitized games.

If you’re betting on virtual soccer, for instance, you’ll see some shots on goal, great saves, and important penalties. All of the highlights combined might only take a minute to play out. After the highlights are finished, you’ll see a final score and learn the fate of your wager.

Official Sports Matches Have Starting Times and Dates

Sports leagues put out schedules for each team in advance of the seasons. If you want to wager on a particular match, then you’ll need to bet before it starts.

The only exception is live betting, which allows you to make wagers throughout a contest. Regardless, you still must pay attention to the schedule and figure out when the game takes place.

Virtual Matches Run One After Another

Virtual sports matches don’t follow any particular schedule. Instead, they take place within minutes of each other. Furthermore, the teams playing in these digital games can be random as well.

Sportsbooks commonly list tabs for different markets and when the games are going to take place. For example, the tennis tab may show that the next match is happening in one minute.

In this case, you have a minute remaining to place bets. Even if you miss this chance, though, you’ll have another opportunity in another one to two minutes.

Real Sports Strategy Involves Human Elements

One reason behind sports being’s popularity is the in-depth strategy. You can literally spend hours poring over stats and other aspects of a single match.

Given that athletes are real people, you should also consider the human elements. For instance, one player may be more motivated because they’re competing against a team that recently traded them.

Virtual Betting Strategy Is All About the Given Odds

Digital athletes don’t have any emotions when playing. Instead, they just do what they’re programmed to based on the odds and RNG.
As a result, you don’t have to think about any human aspects with virtual sports gambling. The only things that you need to consider are the odds and stats supplied by the sportsbook.

Traditional Sports Gambling Features More Markets

You’ll have many markets to choose from at the average sportsbook. Both land-based and online bookmakers cover lots of different sports.

Here are some of the many markets that you can expect to see:

  • Australian rules
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Cycling
  • Darts
  • Golf
  • Handball
  • Hockey
  • Horse racing
  • Live betting
  • Motor sports (e.g. NASCAR)
  • Rugby
  • Snooker
  • Soccer
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Digital Betting Only Covers the Main Markets

Virtual sports betting is only several years old at the time of this writing. It hasn’t really had time to branch out to many different markets.

Soccer is the main sport that’s available through virtual wagering. European bookmakers have found great success through virtual soccer betting.

Virtual Sports

Racing is the second most-common type of virtual sport available. Greyhound racing, horse racing, motor racing, and cycling are all common at virtual sportsbooks.

Of course, operators are diving into new markets such as basketball and football. You’re not going to, however, find lines on virtual badminton, darts, or handball.

Is One Type of Sports Gambling Better Than the Other?

Depending upon your preferences, you may favor one kind of sports betting over another. For most people, traditional sports gambling still rules the industry.

Normal sports betting features real games and athletes. With that said, you can put more strategy into picking winners. You’ll especially have a leg up if you know the players well and can get into their heads.

Regular betting also offers more markets. If you’re looking to go beyond soccer, basketball, football, and/or racing, you’ll enjoy more options through traditional betting.

Virtual sports wagering may not be as popular. However, it does have its merits when compared to the traditional version.

First off, it offers fast-paced action. you don’t have to wait for official start times and dates. Instead, you can dive in at any time and begin placing bets.

Secondly, you don’t need to watch a two- or three-hour match to see how your wager plays out. Virtual matches typically ends in around a minute or so.


Virtual sports gambling is a nice compliment to regular sports wagering. It lets you bet on virtual matches/races at any time.

Assuming you love a particular sport that’s in its offseason, you can use virtual betting as a fill-in. You’ll feel like you are wagering on the real deal.

Of course, virtual sports betting isn’t perfect. It doesn’t contain the human side of sports gambling nor does it present the chance for a long-term edge.

Nevertheless, virtual betting is still close enough to real sports gambling. If you’re hesitant about trying it, you might place a few low-stakes wagers or just visit a sportsbook and look around the virtual section.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. ...

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