The deal features three elements:
Of these, the in-play betting extension is probably going to be the biggest revenue generator. In-play or live betting is the most popular form of sports betting, with wagers substantially in excess of pre-match betting.
GVC explained the importance of adding in-play betting:
“It adds an additional layer of realism and excitement to the virtual product genre by replicating a feature which has become the most popular category of wagers in real life sports betting.”
The on-demand product, called Instant, makes virtual sports betting more convenient for the customer:
“Their Instant (on-demand) virtual event product allows bettors to generate their own exclusive virtual sport events schedule and place bets on-the-go, eliminating wait time.”
Liron Snir, chief product officer at GVC Holdings commented:
“In-play is a critical feature for real-life sports betting and we have every confidence that it will be a popular element in virtuals, while on-demand is another great innovation that will enable our users to define their own event schedule. To cap it all, Leap’s virtuals feature outstanding graphics and state-of-the-art UX which substantially improve the user experience.”
The deal saw GVC incorporate the Betradar branded Virtual Football product into its SportingBet website. At the time this product enabled customers to place bets on over 2,400 virtual matches per day.
Last year’s Euro 2016 soccer championship provided plenty of evidence that virtual sports betting has come of age.
In advance of the competition, several sports betting operators rolled out new products, including Betradar’s virtual Euro Cup product.
In June 2016, Inspired Gaming struck a deal with top Italian sports betting operator SNAI to launch its virtual sports product, V-Football Evolution.
At the same time, Inspired signed its second deal to offer virtual sports betting in the New Jersey market. It struck its first deal with the Golden Nugget in May. Then, Inspired partnered with the Resorts Casino to add virtual sports on the casino floor. There is not New Jersey sports betting on real events because of US law.
In the US, virtual sports betting offers an opportunity for customers to enjoy an activity that is generally illegal for real sports. Single-game wagering on live events is legal only in Nevada.
Where traditional sports betting is allowed, virtual sports betting can be used to enhance the existing offer and create new forms of betting entertainment.
Virtual sports betting products can be used to create matches that would be impossible in real life, but which can be run in simulation because of the big data that backs up the virtual products.
If a bettor wants to create a soccer match between Germany and Manchester United, the virtual sports technology can make this possible. Or a competition between any two teams in the NBA, with any player line-up the customer can imagine.
In mirroring an existing sports competition like the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, customers can in effect enjoy two competitions; the real event and the virtual event.
If their favorite team is knocked out of the real event, then they can still bet on it winning the virtual event, and vice-versa.
The virtual events don’t have to run in real time. Therefore, operators can accelerate the experience to highlight the entertainment value and pack in more excitement in much less time than a live sporting event.
Like other sports betting businesses, GVC can see that virtual sports betting can give them major advantages when allied to their existing sports betting products.