The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement officially approved the lawful use of Inspired Gaming’s virtual sports betting platform and others. NJ players can now bet on virtual horse racing and virtual soccer, with more exciting sports to follow.
PlaySugarHouse online casino was the first to add virtual sports betting to its online world of entertainment, but you should be able to find more action in the coming weeks at Resorts Casino, Golden Nugget, and Betfair Casino.
What is virtual sports betting all about?
Virtual sports betting is what happens when video games and gambling have a love child. The user wagers on the outcome of a virtual sports simulation, which plays out just like the real thing.
First, the player places the bet in a sportsbook-style format, offering plenty of options. Then the virtual sports event begins, and the users can watch in real-time the action unfolds. Virtual sports outcomes are determined by a random number generator so bias and favoritism don’t have to play factors here.
Sports betting is trending, online and offline
SugarHouse Casino launched PlaySugarHouse online casino a little more than a year ago, almost three years after its competitors. However, product differentiation has helped SugarHouse to enjoy some wonderful growth the past few months. Virtual sports betting will be the latest addition to an already exciting platform.
While SugarHouse was the first to break this virtual ground in New Jersey, Resorts Casino has large aspirations for its virtual sports offerings. It plans to offer virtual sports betting in its iGaming Lounge, which has been a great success thus far.
All this success is a telling precursor to New Jersey’s upcoming case in front of the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments surrounding the legalization of sports betting in the 46 states where it is currently illegal.
Which virtual sports can you play in NJ?
SugarHouse currently has virtual horse racing as well as virtual soccer available for wagers. Multiple sources confirm that dog racing, motor racing, and speedway (bike) racing will be available in the very near future. Further down the line, fans can hope to expect favorites like American football and basketball.
Virtual sports betting has less legal red tape to work around than its traditional counterpart, real/live sports betting. Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive, told the AP:
“It’s computer-generated, and not based on any current active live sports event, so it’s not legally considered sports betting. You can acquire a database of people with an interest in sports betting.”
The Division of Gaming Enforcement for New Jersey agrees.
“Virtual sports games are not based on any real-world teams or players,” New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement spokesperson Kerry Langan told Gambling Compliance earlier this year. “They are computer simulations based on computer-generated teams and players.”
It is important to note that a random number generator determines outcomes so the DGE can apply current slot machine regulations to virtual sports; new regulations aren’t required.
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Virtual sports betting is successful in Europe, so why not the US?
Virtual sports betting is already enjoyed across Europe, accounting for up to 30 percent of all sports betting in the UK and Italy. For soccer (or “football” across the pond) fans who can’t get enough of that action on the pitch, the virtual sports gaming arena provides an alternative. This is especially true when teams are on a break, as Ed Andrewes, the CEO of EA Gaming Consultancy, which manages Resorts’ digital business, explained.
“Virtual sports in the European market has done particularly well as a ‘filler’ for live real events in sports and race betting…brick and mortar venues,” remarked Andrewes.
Could that success carry over to the US? According to Andrewes, “Once the customers have latched on to the concept, I think they will do really well in the US, not only online but also on property where they have the potential to create areas with a real buzz of excitement.”
NJ gambling operators see potential of product
“Consumers are always hungry for something new. This is a different form of casino entertainment that we are really excited about. As a sports fan, part of the excitement is the journey of the game. How each game unfolds differently from start to finish. As a fan you get to experience the dramatic highs and lows of the game that come from behind victory, or that last second move that drives an exhilarated experience with each event.”
Said Calapp of virtual sports, “Players can really feel the fast paced action of live sporting events but in the digital world.”
Virtual sports is just plain fun, and it provides an important service as a filler in lulls during the various sporting seasons. There is little reason to doubt that virtual sports betting will be just as successful in the US, if not more so than in Europe.