WHEN IT COMES TO EMERGING MARKETS, DON’T FORGET VIRTUAL SPORTS
(Switzerland).- 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.
WHY SPORTSBOOKS SHOULD EMBRACE VIRTUALS
(Switzerland).- As the gaming industry continues to grow more crowded and competitive across the world, bookmakers are increasingly looking for ways to enhance their sportsbook offering and gain an edge over the competition. Aside from the basics – the odds, interface, the right selection of sports and UX factor – this is about providing the entertainment and engagement factor that punters seek these days, as this is what can attract and retain customers on site for longer.
Gaming solutions began as a straightforward way of achieving this, with virtual sports enabling punters to continue betting after the real event had ended, in fact, whenever they liked. Thanks to advancements in technology and gaming, virtual sports has an even greater ability to extend user sessions and increase site visits. And as the concept of anytime, anywhere mobile technology continues to advance and increase, so too does the potential of virtual sports in adding more value to a sportsbook.
However, like any component of a bookmaker’s offering, operators need to be aware of the trends that make virtual Gaming Solutions a viable option for various sportsbooks in markets worldwide. Here’s three that should be considered.
Fans want more betting entertainment
Gone are the days of linear sportsbooks with single sets of odds. These days audiences want more out of their betting experience. This is partly due to the fact that, within the sports technology industry as a whole, cutting-edge innovation has helped bring fans closer to the action, with more options available to increase entertainment and levels of engagement. As such, additional elements that appeal to the user, including statistics, live content and gamification will continue to help bookmakers create a unique offering that can stand out from the rest. Personalisation will also be a huge factor, enabling fans to choose what they want to bet on, when and how.
Virtual sports has all these features of betting stimulation rolled into one. With Betradar’s Gaming Solutions for example, virtual sports are based on real sporting events and can be played out live across multiple channels, including retail, terminal, mobile and online, providing the same engagement factor as live streaming. The same betting markets and statistics utilised in real sports are presented, giving users access to just as much information and entertainment. While the look and feel, betting options and ability to play around the clock provide the gamification and personalisation factor that, again, will continue to be a key aspect of a stand-out offering. The underlying factor of all of this is realism.
Realism is crucial
Gaming technology has come a long way. These days video games and virtual reality are becoming more and more realistic and immersing users into the experience like never before. Audiences therefore expect the same quality from virtual sports betting solutions. There isn’t much point providing a virtual sports offering if it looks old and not up to the quality of what audiences expect. Gaming Solutions with long load times, latency or low-quality, pixelated imagery are therefore less likely to gain traction. This is one of the reasons why some of the world’s best motion capture studios are behind Betradar’s Gaming Solutions. Utilising this technology with real-life professional athletes, we are able to create virtual sports that look and feel just like the real thing.
The other key to ensuring the most realistic experience with Virtual Sports is by utilising the same data, markets and odds as real sports. Our Gaming Solutions are all based on our comprehensive sports and betting data, which we have been accumulating and analysing for almost two decades now. This is what enables our virtual sports to be powered with real-life team and player statistics and strengths. This has, and will continue to, boost our Gaming portfolio with in-play betting solutions to appeal to punters who like to bet on form and momentum. This is important as it helps to maintain the unpredictability and therefore exciting nature of real sports. We offer the same betting markets in our virtual solutions as we do in real sports, merging the betting experience seamlessly so that the experience of betting is the same to that of placing a bet on a real sport. Using the quality and speed of our data, we offer just as many markets with new bet cycles that are just as frequent.
Flexibility and choice are key
Having the same extensive fast-cycle betting options as real-life sports ensures punters are presented with just as many options just as quick. Virtual sports enhance this further given they provide punters with the ability to bet on these markets before, after or even during the half-time break of a real event. This is an ideal solution for bookmakers who may want to fill the gap in their current offering with an option that not only allows users to bet how they like but when they like. And in today’s day and age, where flexibility and, again, personalisation are continuing to grow as trends, giving the audiences this choice is ideal.
Gaming Solutions have expanded across the years, with more and more sports presented as virtual offerings. Betradar, for example, has grown its Gaming portfolio from a single Virtual Football product to one that includes multiple competitions, including World Cup, Euro Cup, Champions Cup and Asian Cup modes, and multiple sports, including Virtual Horse and Dog Racing, Virtual Basketball and Virtual Tennis In-Play. There’s also many more to come, with Baseball and Cricket In-Play on the horizon.
Such solutions are also available in a variety of different languages. This not only gives more punters across the world more choice when it comes to virtual sports betting options, but bookmakers themselves too, whether they want to provide a complete Virtual Sports solution, or use one preferred sport to target a particular region. Virtual Sports continue to prove popular in areas of Asia, for example, so could therefore serve as a way for bookmakers to step into new and upcoming markets. Truly innovative Gaming Solutions, like ours, give operators the opportunity to completely customise and localise their virtual sports offering so that it can be integrated in the most seamless way possible to cover a range of demographics, geographies and channels.
As technology and sports betting continues to advance across the world, the appeal of Virtual Sports is likely to grow. As a supplement to a sportsbook, Gaming Solutions should therefore not be underestimated. Operators, however, do need to be aware of the trends that make a Virtual Sports offering truly effective as part of a sportsbook. With comprehensive data and cutting-edge technology adding to its realism, the flexibility and 24/7 nature of Virtual Sports can enhance and complement the entertainment and engagement factor of a sportsbook. Essentially, this is an efficient way for operators to target and increase audiences, their usage and time on site, therefore providing a feasible way of contributing to commercial goals.