Due to the worldwide shutdown of all live sports, what exactly are punters able to wager on? Although different sports run for different seasons, and there is the lull period between June-August where the major European soccer leagues take a break, there are always other leagues and sports to be on. Never before has there been a complete lack of any live sports to bet on, and this has created a vacuum of punters, as well as an opportunity for new betting products to finally become popular.
Simulated-reality soccer is proving quite popular. This is a virtual soccer match, but it is based on actual historical data. A company called Betradar take the historical data of 50,000 soccer matches and use it to try and predict how a certain match up (for example Liverpool vs Manchester City) would play out. They then have the matched played (virtually) for the full 90 minutes, with the computer predicting how each player will behave.
Also known as electronic soccer, this is betting on players playing the FIFA video game. It is very popular, but not many players understand it fully yet and the issue is not being able to watch games, as streaming the uses up a lot of data. The other issue is that you are not betting on the team, but rather the skill of the individual player with the Playstation controller, which makes electronic soccer tips difficult to predict, as the player behaviour is the only real factor at play.
Apart from eSoccer, there are also a full range of esports. These include League of Legends, DOTA 2, CS:GO, Call of Duty, Rocket League etc. These esports have been around for years and the betting on them has also been available for ages as well. What has changed recently is that, as these esports matches are still being played during the lockdown, they represent one of the few ‘live’ sports to bet on and so are seeing a surge in betting activity. There is a steep learning curve to be able to bet on esports as the gameplay is so different. When traditional sports returns, the betting on esports will go down, but will remain higher than it was before.
Live Casino Games
These games have become very popular. As online casinos are illegal in South Africa, the South African betting sites have managed to get these games approved as they are showing live games and live draws. That is, not computer generated, but actually drawn or played by real humans, who you can watch while the game is played. These include versions of Roulette, Poker, lotto draws etc.
This is another virtual soccer product, but unlike simulated reality soccer which is based on historical data, this game is based on an RNG (random number generator). This makes the game more like playing lotto or slots, as the moves by the players is completely random.
So, will these new betting products replace traditional sports when it returns? Definitely not. Nothing can beat supporting real people and real teams. However, they have opened up more opportunities and will stick around as placeholders and as ways of entertaining players between real soccer games. Some of the games popularity will slow down dramatically, such as eSoccer and SRL, but others like Live Casino Games will continue to be popular as they represent a different entertainment that sports betting.