Virtual sports were first conceived way back in the 1960s as a computer modeling exercise. Major League Baseball games were the first to be simulated using real statistical trends, and while that’s always happened to a degree among the sports analyst community, the product has finally gone mainstream in a big way.
With the Coronavirus scare of 2020, virtual sports – and virtual sports betting – have taken off. Now, even when real sports leagues are on hiatus worldwide, sports bettors can wager on simulated sporting events that are based on real teams and real players. It’s not the same thing as traditional sports betting, but it’s a fun way to gamble, and offshore betting sites have made the concept accessible, entertaining, and profitable.
To learn more about this new revolution in virtual gambling sites, check out our virtual sports betting guide below!
Best Virtual Sports Betting Sites For US Players 2020
What Is Virtual Sports Betting?
Virtual sports betting is exactly what it sounds like: virtual sports betting! Instead of betting on real teams, players, and leagues, virtual sports betting allows you to wager on computer-simulated video games that use real data to inform game outcomes.
Because of branding rights and trademark/copyright issues, the virtual teams you wager on aren’t going to be the New York Yankees or Kansas City Chiefs or Manchester United. But you can always tell the clubs that are being referenced, and the betting lines you get are the same as they’d be when any two real teams or players match up. Video game simulations are also available at many virtual sites and they use real team names and players.
While this type of betting is randomized in a way that real sporting events aren’t (as bettors always consider the human factor in any physical contest), they’re pretty close, and you can still get many of the same edges by engaging in your own targeted research.
In other words, virtual sports betting isn’t a crap shoot – that kind of thing is for online casinos. Instead, virtual sports are mathematically representative models of real sports, and they play out in real time at all the best online sportsbooks and virtual casino sites.
Is Virtual Sports Betting Legal In The US?
Yes, it is! Just like regular sports betting, anyone in the US can participate in virtual sports wagering by signing up at an offshore betting site and making a deposit. There are no laws preventing individual gamblers aged 18 and up from participating, as the books offering this product are all located outside of US jurisdiction where the country’s federal laws don’t apply.
All the best operators are licensed and operate legally in their own home countries, and international trade laws give every American the right to gamble real money with these businesses.
That said, there are two states – Washington and Connecticut – that have nominally banned all forms of online gambling. If you live in either of these states, you can still sign up and play, as the laws have never been enforced, but you are nevertheless advised to follow all local mandates. If you’re a WA or CT resident and wish to bet on virtual sports, you do so at your own risk.
Kinds Of Virtual Sports To Bet On
The list of virtual sports to bet on is as long and robust as the list of real sports to bet on, as they’re all based on real teams and leagues. If there’s a sport you like, you can bet on its virtual representation at offshore sportsbooks. These include the following popular markets:
- American Football Betting (NFL, NCAAF, XFL)
- Basketball Betting (NBA, NCAAM, NCAAW)
- Baseball Betting (MLB)
- Hockey Betting (NHL, international leagues)
- Soccer Betting (Premiere League, La Liga, Bundesliga, etc.)
- Tennis Betting (ATP, WTA)
- Golf Betting (PGA, LPA, etc.)
- Cricket Betting
- Rugby Betting
- Combat Sports Betting (Boxing, UFC, etc.)
- Auto Racing Betting (NASCAR, F1)
- + More!
Virtual Sports Bet Types
Just because virtual sports are simulated matchups doesn’t mean you won’t get all the typical sports betting odds and lines you’re used to seeing at the top offshore betting sites. Of course, you won’t find a robust prop betting menu compared to real contests like the Super Bowl, but you’ll get to choose from the standard following mainstays:
Straight Moneyline Betting
Straight betting, as its name implies, is the most straightforward kind! Here, you simply pick a winner, and the moneyline shows which team is favored and which is the underdog. An example of a virtual sports moneyline bet is the following:
- New York Northern Statesmen -165 at Boston Tea Partiers +130
Here, the Yankees…er, the Statesmen…are favored over the Tea Partiers. By the above numbers, a $165 bet on NY will net a $100 payout, while a $100 bet on Boston would win $130. As with normal sports wagering, these are ratios, not betting minimum, and most online sportsbooks will allow bets of as little as $0.50 to $1.00.
Point Spread Betting
Point spread betting is a way that sportsbooks handicap contests to balance the action on both sides. This is accomplished by “taking” points from the perceived superior team and “giving” them to the perceived weaker team.
- Kansas City Head Honchos -7.5 (-110) at New England Constitutionalists +7.5 (-110)
With Tim Bradley no longer the QB of the Constitutionalists (he’s now with the Tampa Bay Criminal Boatsmen), the Head Honchos are the clear favorites in this matchup. If you take KC, the team has to win by at least 8 points in order for your bet to pay out. On the other hand, NE can lose by up to 7 points and still “cover the spread” to win the bet. In parentheses is the moneyline, which is the same on both sides and is the “price tag” of the bet (in this case, a $110 wager pays out $100).
- Totals Betting – Totals betting, also called the over/under, is simply a wager on whether the total combined points scored between both teams will be higher than (over) or lower than (under) the number set by the sportsbook.
- Milwaukee Mule Stags at Los Angeles Pond Scum O/U 210.5 (-110)
Here, the Mule Stags, with Giovanni Antioch-Kimbo, are expected to have a high-scoring affair against LA and Le’Baron Jones. If the teams combine to score 211 points or more, the “over” bet wins. If they score 210 points or less, the “under” wins. Sportsbooks often use half-point increments to prevent “push” outcomes, which result in refunds of all wagers placed.
Virtual Sports Betting Banking Options
You can wager on virtual sports using any of the standard banking options accepted by your offshore sportsbook of choice. These include credit and debit transfers, money orders, bank wires, cashier’s checks, and more. However, the best option for virtual sports betting is to use virtual currency!
Bitcoin is accepted by all major betting sites, and it’s our favorite banking method by far. If you’re going to bet on virtual sports, you might as well bet with virtual money!
Bitcoin + Virtual Sports: It’s Off The Blockchain!
Bitcoin (BTC) goes so well with virtual sports betting for a number of reasons. It’s not only thematically fitting, either. Bitcoin offers a host of benefits at every offshore site, including:
- Near-instant transfers
- High deposit limits
- Biggest bonuses
- Same-day payouts
- No added fees for deposits or withdrawals
- Industry-leading blockchain cyber security
- Greater anonymity than normal banking options
- High investment potential
All the best sites offer Bitcoin support as a matter of course, and many also accept altcoins like Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, and more. Regardless of the cryptocurrency you use, you’ll get the same benefits that Bitcoin provides, though we still recommend BTC above all others.
Online Sportsbook Bonuses
When you sign up at a reputable offshore sportsbook, you’ll get the option to take advantage of new-member deposit bonuses. These match your initial deposits by a given percentage, adding the difference to your bankroll. Many sites also offer reload bonuses on fresh deposits made by established members.
Just bear in mind that sports betting bonuses come with rollover requirements. For example, if you sign up at Bovada and accept their 50% Sports Welcome Bonus, you can get up to $250 in extra money added to your account. However, this is attached to a 5X rollover, which means that before you can withdraw any funds, you’ll have to wager $750 X 5 (or $3750) before being eligible to receive any payouts.
For frequent virtual sports bettors, most rollovers should be easy to meet, but low-volume casual bettors are better off forgoing such bonus promotions.
Mobile Virtual Sports Apps
Virtual sports betting would be pretty silly if you couldn’t participate on your most commonly used virtual devices. That’s why all the best offshore books have full mobile support for iPhones, Androids, and other modern smartphones and tablets.
Unfortunately, due to Apple and Google corporate policies, you won’t find official apps from our favorite sportsbooks on the App Store or in Google Play. But that’s okay, because all the top sites have dedicated web apps that simulate the native sports betting app experience.
All you need is an up-to-date web browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Brave, etc.) and an Internet connection, and you can bet on virtual sports from virtually anywhere in the USA!
Live Virtual Sports Betting
Live betting is a mainstay at offshore sportsbooks, and virtual sports are no exception. You can place wagers on simulated sporting events before the events start, but you can also bet on the action as the games proceed through the simulations themselves!
The best operators even have audio and video broadcasts of the events, replete with announcing and crowd noise. Virtual betting not only gives you an event to wager on, it gives you the actual event itself to watch in real time!
Betting On Branded Sports Simulations – Brand New!
In addition to typical the virtual sports options explained here, online sportsbooks are starting to offer some more forward-thinking options of late. In the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, most popular leagues were shut down indefinitely. This led to a surge in demand for branded sports simulations alongside the virtual sports already available. Betting options include the following markets:
- NBA 2K League – This is a partnership between the NBA and Take-Two Interactive, and it features some of the best eSports players in the world taking each other on using the NBA 2K video game platform. This is the first official eSports league operated by a pro sports league in the US, and bettors can put money on the matchups just as if they were wagering on real NBA games. This is technically eSports and not virtual sports (see below), but odds are it’s going to be a slam dunk!
- NFL 2020 Sims – Unlike the NBA 2K League, NFL 2020 sims are played entirely by computer using the Madden 21 video game’s simulation mode. Sportsbooks stream these games live vi Twitch, and they offer live betting on all the virtual on-field action.
- NHL 2020 Sims – As with the NFL sims above, these NHL sims are computer-controlled and streamed online by your sportsbook, allowing you to bet in real-time. The game used is EA’s NHL 20 series, so you can bet the puck line even when the real NHL season is on ice.
For now, branded NFL and NHL sims are temporary offerings due to the Wuhan coronavirus, and it is unclear if they will be regular features at virtual sports betting sites going forward. Due to its eSports nature, however, the NBA 2K League is here to stay, and hopefully, more franchises follow suit.
Virtual Sports Vs. eSports
Some people think virtual sports is the same as eSports, but this is a misunderstanding. Virtual sports are simulated sporting events you can wager on, while eSports are professional video game competitions. While you can also wager on the latter at the best online betting sites, eSports covers a huge swath of gaming, and the most popular events aren’t actually sports-related in any way.
Additionally, eSports are played by real people and are never simulations. Betting on either market is a lot of fun, but they are dramatically different and require different approaches if your wagers are going to be profitable.
Virtual Sports Vs. Fantasy Sports
As with eSports above, fantasy sports (or DFS leagues) are not the same thing as virtual sports. Fantasy sports require players to assemble rosters of real athletes, and they earn points based on those athletes’ performances. Virtual sports do not require real games to be played (which is useful for when sports leagues are closed down, as they were during the coronavirus scare of 2020).
Please note: While virtual sports betting is available at offshore sportsbooks, fantasy sports are not. For the latter, you’ll have to stick with a domestic option, and these are unfortunately unavailable in many US states.