Legal Sports Report

Virtual Sports Betting Ramps Up With New Launches In Italy, New Jersey

virtual sports betting SNAI Italy Resorts NJ

The spread of virtual sports betting continues apace after Inspired Gaming announced that its virtual sports product, V-Football Evolution will be available online at the regulated site snai.it and in all of SNAI’s Italian outlets starting Monday, June 6.

Inspired also signed a deal that will bring its Virtual Sports via Spin Games LLC’s Robust Online Client (ROC) to Resorts Casino in New Jersey.

The deal with Resorts is Inspired Gaming’s second deal in New Jersey. At the beginning of May, the Golden Nugget decided to add virtual sports betting through its own deal with Inspired.

Italian market is more important but New Jersey may be more significant

SNAI is Italy’s largest gaming company, with both an online and offline presence in thousands of outlets throughout the country. 2015 revenue were not far short of €1 billion, and are expected to grow in 2016.

Fabio Schiavolin, CEO of SNAI, commented:

“The agreement between SNAI and Inspired enables us to significantly improve our offering on desktop and mobile devices, and to propose more innovative and engaging products to our clients. SNAI’s gaming and betting offering, therefore, becomes more unique in Italy: we are the operator who can guarantee the broadest gaming portfolio in our country.”

Italy’s population of 60 million is obviously far larger than that of New Jersey, but establishing a foothold for its virtual sports betting products in the U.S. market may be strategically more important for Inspired Gaming.

Even though nationwide sports betting looks to be a distant prospect for the U.S. it isn’t completely off the table, so a profitable investment in New Jersey makes complete sense as a long term plan.

Virtual sports betting widely available for the UEFA Euro 2016

SNAI’s adoption of the V-Football Evolution product comes in time for the Euro 2016 competition, which is expected to provide the biggest betting opportunity this year.

No. 2  in the gaming market is Sisal, which does not yet offer virtual sports betting. Sisal agreed to be bought by private equity company CVC Capital Partners this week.

Bet365 owns the largest share of the online sports betting market in the Italian regulated sector. It went live with Inspired’s virtual sports betting in March this year.

In a statement announcing the deal, Inspired claimed a dominant market share:

“Inspired currently supplies circa 95% of the land-based, online and mobile virtual sports market in Italy. From a standing start, Inspired’s virtual sports supported the development of a €1 billion p.a. market in Italy, in just one year.”

Inspired doesn’t have the Italian market all to itself. Microgaming, which operates regulated online poker and sports betting sites made its own announcement this week. It has added virtual sports betting from BetRadar and Media Systems as well as Inspired Gaming.

New Jersey may be a small market but it’s a test bed for virtual sports in the U.S.

Phil Katsaros, Inspired’s Head of Business Development, North America, said:

“Virtual Sports is a game-changer and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with Resorts. Not only will Resorts be among the first to offer Virtual Sports in N. America, it will be the first to offer a truly convergent gaming product, where players located at Resorts will be able to wager on the same virtual events occurring online (and vice-versa). We look forward to contributing to Resorts’ rapid growth and continued success.”

Ed Andrewes, CEO of EAGCC, the company that manages Resorts Digital Gaming, agreed that virtual sports has tremendous potential in the market:

“We are thrilled to be adding the Inspired Virtual Sports product to our already extensive portfolio of games. This is a truly unique product in the market and I think it will prove very popular with both the resortscasino.com and mohegansuncasino.com customers. The product is also tailored made for launch in our unique iGaming lounge at the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.”

Inspired Gaming is a British company, established in 2001 by Luke Alvarez who then sold it to private equity firm Vitruvian Capital in 2010 for £74.4 million ($107 million). Alvarez remains the CEO, and has led the charge into virtual sports betting products.

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Joss Wood
- Joss Wood, a former editor of Poker Industry Pro, has long focussed on regulated online gambling issues and in particular the international market. For LegalSportsReport.com, Joss turns his attention primarily to regulated sports betting markets. With a degree in English from the University of Birmingham as well as a master’s degree in organisational development from the University of Manchester, Joss’s career has taken him from the British Army into the world of business and finance. For seven years he played poker professionally.