Virtual Racing Betting Sites
In recent times there has been a strong development of, and demand for, virtual sports. This has been especially prevalent in the world of racing, which is perhaps one of the easiest of all sports to create in a virtual world. Whereas the likes of football, cricket and basketball all have virtual sport equivalents, they have numerous moving parts for punters to consider.
Racing, on the other hand, is relatively simple for game makers to look towards as the idea behind it is relatively simple: who will win the race. Whether it's horse racing, greyhound racing or cycling, the premise is still the same and there aren't many variations that can be considered when it comes to a virtual version of the real thing.
On this page we take a closer look at the world of virtual racing, mainly horse racing and greyhound racing but also other racing sports such as motorsport and cycling. We look at how the games are made and how they work along with how to place bets and who are the best sites for virtual racing. You can read about other virtual sports on our main virutals page.
Best Online Bookmakers For Virtual Racing
Virtual races have no human interaction at all, the games software generated with outcomes defined based on probabilities. The games use random number generators to determine outcomes but these are based on algorythems made using real-world data. In general this means the games accurately reproduce real world outcomes, therefore the favourite will still win most often but there will still be shocks where the 100/1 outsider does, just like the real thing.
Being games it is easy for sites to provide virtuals and most simply license the product from third party providers. Therefore what makes a good virtual racing bookie is more about the offers and features that surround it rather than the virtual races themselves. Here we tell you are favourite bookies for virtual racing and why.
We feature bet365 as the best virtual sports bookmaker on our main page and they are equally deserving to be singled out for their virtual horse and dog racing. They have been offering betting on virtual racing for longer than almost all others and unrivaled experience and depth.
The frequency of races, stream quality and ease of placing a bet are all stand out features. In our opinion they are the best virtual racing bookie if you are looking for a non-nonsense approach where the set up is entirely about the markets and races, which is how it should be. This isn't the site to choose if you want flashy features and load of offers but if you just want great choice and consistency backed up by one of the best brands there is then you can't beat them.
Inspired Virtual Racing
William Hill have an entire virtual world of sports on their site but it is for racing that they are best known. William Hill have been involved with horse and dog racing for the best part of a century and they know what customers want when it comes to virtual racing. Their races and streams are provided by Inspired, a company that specialise in virtual sports feeds and have some of the most incredible graphics you will find anywhere. It is easy to think on occasion that you are watching the real thing.
Horse races go off about every minute and greyhound races every three minutes. There is an equal split of flat, jump and sprint races available. Hill's are also renowned for racing promotions many of which can be used on racing, they often run odds boosts that let you enhance the prices of your own bets, these can be applied to virtual races too when available.
In Their Own Virtual Reality
If you want your races quick and fast with lots of offers to back up your wagers then Paddy Power should be on your list for virtual racing. With one of the easiest betting consoles to use and simple navigation between flat, jump, sprint and greyhound races it couldn't be simpler to bet. Races go off by the minute and as they are developed by one of the best companies out there, Playtech, a powerhouse of online gaming. The quality of the visuals is awesome quite frankly.
Being a bookie known for free bets and offers you can also expect a plethora of short term free bet deals and longer term offers, such as rewards clubs, for which virtual racing bets count.
BetRadar Powered Virtual Racing
Unibet are a more recent entrant to the the virtual world but they are a long running online powerhouse and big into real-world racing so it is no surprise they have gained ground virtually in an instant.
The feeds and streams are provided by BetRadar, one of the biggest developers of virtual games. The overall product seems to be more focused than with other brands with a very logical and easy to use betting console that doesn't require any scrolling around with all the information and the video in one window. They also give more options by default, such as place markets, forecasts and tricasts all shown in the console.
As with all bookies serious about virtuals they also have incentives to use the games in the form of regular free bets and prize tournaments.
Virtual Racing Payout Limits
The table above shows maximum payout limits for all virtual sports not just racing. These types of games often carry one of the lowest payout maximums and are often much lower than the comparative real-world events. This is something to be aware of before placing big bets or long odds accumulators.
How To Place Bets
If you've never really engaged in the world of virtual sports, or even any sport other than the most mainstream ones, then you might be slightly concerned about how to place bets when it comes to virtual racing. You needn't be. In all honesty, placing bets on virtual racing works in pretty much exactly the same way as placing bets on real racing does.
The first thing you need to do is to have a look at the various competitors taking part in the event that you're going to bet on. For the purposes of ease, here we're going to have a look at horse racing, though the same is applicable to all. You'll see a list of the horses entering a race, just as you would for a normal race. You can check out each one according to its colours and its number.
Some sites will even let you see the previous 3 months' worth of races, giving you a sense of a horse's form. You then simply need to click on the horse that you want to bet on and you'll see that they're added to your betslip. From there you can decide whether you'd like to make the beat an Each-Way one or just a straight Win single, then place your bet.
In pretty much every virtual racing sport that you can bet on, you can place Win, Each-Way, Forecast and Tricast bets, with some websites also giving you the option of the likes of Reverse Forecast and Tricast wagers or even Combination Forecast and Tricasts. If you want to go for one of the more complicated bets, you'll need to add more competitors to your slip.
Because most bookmakers want to keep it simple when it comes to virtual betting, they won't allow you to bet on any more than three horses in a race. Again, all you need to do is to add your selections to your betting slip and then choose your stake on the type of bet that you want to place, whether it's a Forecast, a Tricast or a variation on that theme.
Virtual Horse Racing Types
When it comes to virtual horse racing, the options available to punters are plentiful. The most obvious examples of things that you can bet on are flat racing and jump racing, though sprint racing is also popular. On top of that you'll be able to place bets on trotting and harness racing with some bookmakers, so it's worth shopping around on that front.
Let's have a quick look at the different types of horse racing that you can bet on:
This is arguably the easiest type of horse racing to explain, given that it is for races that take place on the flat and therefore involve nothing fancy. When it comes to virtual races they differ slightly from the real world insomuch as the length of the race isn't really that important. Indeed, most bookmakers don't tell you how long the race is before it takes place.
You will see a race's length displayed prior to it getting underway, but it's unlikely to change your decision in terms of what to bet on. What might give you pause for thought is the number of participants, which will vary from race to race. Again, unlike in real life, you're not going to see horses being pulled out close to the race's start or anything like that, so the field is the field.
In the real world of horse jump racing, there are many different types of race that you can watch. Whether it be hurdle races, steeplechase or races aimed at juveniles or mares, there are choices galore for a horse racing lover. Whilst some bookmakers and virtual sport makers want to make things look as realistic as possible, most opt for the easy life.
As a result, there isn't usually any distinction between the different types of jump race that you'll be able to bet on when it comes to virtual racing. Instead, there'll be a generic jump racing course in most instances and you won't even know how many jumps there are. That's not really the point, so don't worry about it too much or read into it if there is more information.
Sprint races are a variation of flat races, which are typically run over 5 or 6 furlongs and take place at high speed. In the world of virtual racing, these types of races are just the same and therefore tend to be over much more quickly than the other race types. That means that they can be run in quick succession and therefore turned over nice and fast.
Harness Racing / Trotting
Harness racing is a popular in North America, but is also well-known in the likes of France and other parts of Europe. It involves horses pulling a two-wheeled cart around a race track. This obviously adds a different dimension to the race and makes it more interesting in terms of the betting, though it works in basically the same way as normal flat racing.
The Virtual Grand National
A quick note at this point for the virtual Grand National, which is a virtual racing version of the World's Greatest Steeplechase. Created by Inspired, it promises a full field of 40 horses to take on the famous Aintree Racecourse. Licensing and an association with the Jockey Club means that it's based on the real course and features the actual jumps that are famous around the world.
The virtual Grand National mirrors the real one, meaning that horses can fall when jumping a fence, unseat their rider and even pull up. It's a pulsating version of one of the best steeplechases in the sport, truncated slightly for the purposes of speed of watching. There's even commentary and crowds in the grandstand cheering on the competitors.
Virtual Greyhound Racing
The world of greyhound works in pretty much exactly the same way as horse racing. You select your greyhound and place bets in precisely the same manner as you would do with a horse, so in that sense you don't need to worry too much.
Obviously the key difference is that dog racing tends to me much more fast and frenetic than horse racing. You can place similar bets including win, place, each-way, forecase, tricast, etc.
Obviously with virtual greyhound racing there are not the same types of race to bet on as there are in horse racing, with all races being around an oval track, like the real-world equivalent. You can however bet on flat dog races and hurdle races. Like actual dog racing though the distances can vary so you will find sprint races up to stayers races listed.
Many people prefer virtual greyhounds to horse racing as the races in the virtual world happen at the same pace as in the real world.
Pros And Cons Of Virtual Racing
There are pros and cons to both types of racing that we've discussed so far, with the key differential in them compared to other race types being that they both involve animals. For that reason, virtual horse and virtual greyhound racing will actually be preferable for many people to the same type of racing in real life as no animals can get hurt.
You can ask virtual greyhounds and horse to run in as many races as you want as often as you want and they're never going to get tired or begin to show signs of fatigue. You don't need to worry about whether the animals have been looked after well before arriving at the racecourse or fear that the selection that you've bet on is going to pull out of the race.
Cons come in the form of people being unable to do the sort of research that well-practiced punters would do for real races. You can't get a tip from someone working in the yard, for example, or look into the fact that particular horses don't do well in bad weather. In fact, there is no weather to speak of and any that is there is irrelevant to the outcome of the race.
Another con is that the speed that races can come round at means that people who have a problem with impulse control will need to work hard to resist the temptation to bet regularly and often. Virtual races can take place every hour of every day of the year, so they can be an issue for problem gamblers. Virtual games are effectively used by betting companies as bridge between sports and casino games so always make sure you only bet with money you can afford to lose.
Can Horses Or Dogs Fall In Virtual Races?
Given that races take place over fences in both the virtual horse and virtual greyhound world, a natural question would be to ask whether it's possible for them to fall. The answer to that is slightly complex, insomuch as it is possible but that doesn't mean that it actually happens. Instead, more horses and dogs will tend to finish the race.
The reason for this is that adding the capacity for a horse or dog to fall during the course of a race adds an extra dimension to the programming of the algorithm that dictates a race's outcome and most bookmakers and game creators don't want to have to do that. The good news is that if horses or dogs do fall then they won't be injured or hurt!
The virtual Grand National is a good example of a horse that bucks the trend, doing what it can to fit in with real life by having horses fall, pull up and unseat their riders. It is the exception that proves the rule, however. That being said, it's proof that companies that make the virtual races can introduce that aspect if they particularly want to.
Can You Have A Dead Heat In A Virtual Race?
Another question that people will likely want an answer to is whether it's possible for a race to end in a Dead Heat. Again, the answer here is technically 'yes' but that doesn't mean that it will actually happen. After all, that would add a needless complication to an event that can, by its very nature, be as simplistic as possible.
The nature of a virtual sport that is dictated by a Random Number Generator and a computer algorithm is such that things will be done in a binary fashion. There's no need to have Dead Heats or horses pulling up with an injury or withdrawn from a race before it begins, so why would game-makers add that into the algorithm?
Other Types Of Virtual Racing
There are other types of virtual racing in addition to the ones involving greyhounds and horses. If it's a popular thing then you can be relatively confident that a bookmaker somewhere will have it on offer as one of the things that you can bet on in their virtual offering. If there's something specific that you want to have a flutter on then shop around different bookies.
Based on the sort of indoor cycling that you might well have watched during a Summer Olympics once, you'll see virtual cyclists competing in a velodrome. They'll be looking to see which if them can cross the finish line first, with the same Win, Each-Way, Forecast and Tricast bets available as in virtual horse racing and virtual greyhound races.
Speedway is the sort of sport that is immensely popular in some circles but has entirely passed people by in others. It involves people riding motorbikes around dirt tracks, skidding into corners and sending the dirt up in the air as they do so. It's all virtual, of course, but it's based on the real thing and once again the same bet types are open to all.
Different bookmakers will offer different forms of motorsports, but the theory is still the same whichever one you opt for. You'll see virtual Formula One cars, for example, ripping around a circuit and you'll be able to bet on which one will win. Unlike real Formula One, the races don't last for hours and are instead truncated into about a minute and a half.
How Do Virtual Races Work & How Lifelike Are They?
Now that you know the different types of race that you can bet on and how to place your bets, it's worth having a look at the technical side of virtual racing. There are numerous different companies that produce virtual races, for example, as well as there being other things on the technical side of the issue that you might want answers to.
How Virtual Odds Are Created
Let's start with one of the most influential aspects of virtual racing: the odds. After all, in virtual horse racing, for example, you don't have a lot to work with placing bets on virtual races other than a horse's name, its colours and the odds that you're presented with. The longer the odds, the less chance a competitor has of winning and vice-versa for shorter odds.
Whilst it is obviously far more complicated than this, we can offer you a relatively simple explanation as to how a horse can be given odds when the result of a race is decided by a Random Number Generator. Imagine, if you will, that what you're betting on is akin to the lottery. There are 20 possible numbers that can be drawn and you have to choose one.
Competitors with short odds will have their number written on several different 'balls' that are entered into the pot. Competitors with longer odds, however, will have fewer balls entered into the pot and there will then be far less chance that the number of that competitor being drawn out. That doesn't mean that there is no chance of it happening, though.
Clearly it's not actually like that, but it's a decent analogy. The odds are created at random by a computer algorithm and the Random Number Generator then picks the winner. The odds allow the RNG to weigh each competitor, offering something approximating a real life race where anyone has the ability to win, however unlikely that might be.
This means unlike in real racing where odd are dependent on opinion and all sorts of factors and you might be able to spot an overpriced 20/1 shot in the virtual version a 20/1 shot really is just that, it will win proportionally to its odds. It is important to remember these are just games and you can't beat the bookie using your own knowledge like in real racing.
Virtual games also generally have poorer return to player margins compared to casino games. This is however calculated on an individual bet basis, while you might get better odds per spin on say a roulette table vs an individual bet on a virtual horse race it is also true you can bet every 20 seconds or so on a casino game and you can't do that on a virtual race, so overall loses can end up higher with casino games even though the RTP is better. It all depends what you want from a game, if value matters most play casino table games but if you want something that is more lifelike and akin to a real-sport choose a virtual game.
Game software is based on the real-world events so the odds margins for a virtual race, for example, would be similar to those you would get on a real race, which is part of the point.
How Good Are The Streams?
Another question that many people will want some guidance on is how good the stream quality is. The answer to this will unquestionably vary from person to person, with the speed and reliability of your own internet connection being one of the deciding factors. If you have a super fast stream then you'll no doubt find that the streams you watch will be close to flawless.
In that sense it is very similar to live streaming of real life sports, with the only difference being that virtual sports are hosted by a server rather than having to be beamed from a physical location and the issues that can come with that. Even people with a slow speed will find that most virtual sports will stream at decent quality because they use up little bandwidth.
In terms of the actual quality of the races, most bookmakers offer High Definition videos, meaning that the quality is excellent. It's little wonder, of course, considering that virtual sport makers now have incredible technology at their disposal. It already seems as though you could be watching the real thing, with that only like to improve as the years pass and the technology develops.
Who Makes Virtual Racing?
Some of the bigger bookmakers will have their own in-house departments that are able to create virtual racing events that people will be able to bet on. It's important to note that they'll still have to follow the rules around the Random Number Generator deciding the result and they will not be able to interfere in any way with the outcome of the event. All games are independently regulated and tested no matter who develops them.
There are third-party betting platforms such as SBtech and BetConstruct that offer bookmakers full gaming platforms that they can opt into if they wish to do so. Within the various packages will be virtual race events, meaning that bookies that get their content provided by an outside company will be able to offer virtual racing depending on the package that they pay for.
Equally, the biggest software companies in the industry will create packages that bookmakers can buy from them. One such example is Playtech, which is one of the leading suppliers of virtual sports to the betting industry. Likewise Betradar have a virtual gaming solutions package that is paid for by more than 180 bookies around the world. One of the best regarded providers is Inspired, who's graphics quality is immense.
Obviously it's up to the various bookmakers to decide which company they want to go with to provide their virtual sports offering, with different things such as price and quality the deciding factor. The best in the business use the latest in motion capture technology and 3D graphics to create virtual races that are as close to lifelike as it's possible to get.
There are countless different producers of virtual games in the market, all offering something different for the bookmakers and other providers that might want to take advantage of their products. Whilst finding out about them won't help you to win your bets on the races that you'll be placing, it will no doubt assist in making decisions regarding which bookies you'd like to place your virtual bets with because of the systems that they use to provide you with your options.