Virtual sports and Esports have both been around for some time now but for many punters they remain relatively unknown.

If you prefer betting on sports like football and horse racing you may never have explored these alternative areas of betting. However, if you fancy something new, or just want to understand the difference between them, we’ve got all the answers you need.

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What are Esports?

You can read a lot more about Esports in our “Betting on Esports” feature but, in short, Esports (sometimes called eSports, E-Sports or just about any other variation of that you can come up with!) involves betting on organised video/computer gaming.

The video games industry is hugely lucrative and massively popular, with games like Fortnite really breaking into the mainstream. Any parent of children above the age of about six or seven will know just how big such games are and now universities even offer degrees in Esports!

Whilst they are called Esports, the name refers to the concept of gaming as a sport, rather than the video games themselves being sports. Whilst football and other traditional sports do feature among the games played within Esports, the most popular ones tend to be multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games such as DOTA II, and shooter games such as Fortnite, Call Of Duty and Counter-Strike.

When it comes to betting on Esports you are betting on which team or individual will win a given tournament, league or game. There are also more innovative markets akin to in-play betting in traditional sports.

Betting on Esports is great if you love video games and you can usually watch live streams or even televised footage of the biggest events. As with any sport, betting on Esports is a great way to spice things up and add even more interest.

What are Virtual Sports?

In contrast to Esports, virtual sports do not involve genuine, real-world action, but involve betting on virtual recreations of popular sports. These are typically computer generated sequences with the outcomes determined by Random Number Generator (RNG) software.

You can bet on a wide range of sports when it comes to virtuals but as with “normal” sports betting, the most popular in the UK tend to be horseracing and football. Because these games use RNGs, in truth they are more akin to playing at an online casino. Instead of betting on the spin of a wheel or the turn of a card, you are instead betting on a horse, football team or racing car.

When you play online casino, where the ball falls is determined not by the chaos of gravity and motion as in a real casino, but by an RNG that is designed to give each number the exact same chance of hitting.

In the same way, when you bet on virtual horseracing, RNG software determines which horse will win. Each horse’s chance of winning is based on their odds, and their chance of success in proportion to the odds is the same.

So, whilst a horse with odds of evens is far more likely to win than a horse with odds of 10/1, in theory if you made 10,000 bets of £1 on each, your profit/loss would be the same on both.

If that seems confusing, consider online roulette. If you made 10,000 bets of £1 on lucky number seven you would win far less often than if you made 10,000 bets on red. However, overall you would expect the same outcome in terms of profit and loss because the odds when you win on seven are proportionately higher.

There are loads of great casino offers, some of which are valid for virtual sports. If you’ve never tried betting on virtual sports then why not see if you enjoy it?

Pros and Cons of Esports v Virtual Sports

Whilst people may get these two confused, they are very different. Here is a summary of the key differences and pros and cons of each.

  • Esports are great if you know about video games and enjoy watching people play them
  • Virtual sports are better if you like traditional sports such as F1, horse racing and football
  • However, in terms of betting, Esports are more like a normal sport in that you are betting on an event taking place in the real world (albeit a video game tournament or league)
  • In betting terms, virtual sports are more like online casinos, with events determined at random
  • Virtual sports are available 24/7, 365 days a year with only a few minutes between one event and the next
  • Esports are played regularly but nowhere near as often as virtuals