Virtual sports is a new concept, but it has already gained traction in global markets. The question is, could it have a future in Nigeria?  A key problem is that the concept of virtual sports is so recent that even experienced gamblers aren’t sure what it is. So let’s first take a look at how it works.

Virtual sports must not be confused with eSports. eSports involves human players going head-to-head in video games. This is a separate market all of its own, and it’s also seeing a surge in global popularity. Virtual sporting events are simulations. A presented event may involve football teams going head to head, but with all players simulated by customized software. Since the outcome of the match is unknown, bets can be placed on the score.

Other sports that can be simulated include greyhound racing, horse racing, and even cricket.

Realistic Odds and Outcomes

What is making this sort of betting so popular is the way it’s presented. The simulations play out like real events, although far more condensed. While a real football match may take 90 minutes or more a simulated version will take only 90 seconds. Regardless, the presentation still appears convincing.

Most important is that bets on the events are presented with realistic odds. This is a particularly appealing aspect that’s sure to get the attention of sports betting enthusiasts. It’s even free to see the odds in advance, further solidifying the illusion. Hence the resemblance to actual sports betting is unmatched.

However, at their core, the game outcomes are similar to slots. RNG is used to determine how the sport plays out, and likewise how it pays out. The real difference is that a range of outcomes is offered, as opposed to the single outcome of a slot.

Why Bet On Simulations?

But will this new form of betting find popularity in Nigeria?  A better question to ask is why any bettor would choose an artificial alternative? Similar wagers could be placed on real sports, after all.

The key is that simulations are a condensed version of sports betting. Many Nigerians are sure to embrace the convenience, even if they also enjoy full-length events. Virtual betting markets are also available 24 hours a day, regardless of seasonal timing. So if a real football league isn’t available virtual sports will be.

This option is a bite-sized alternative that can be enjoyed at will. It also benefits from being supremely convenient as bettors can use their smartphones to instantly place a bet.

Laws In Nigeria

The last matter to consider is Nigerian law. Local gambling laws prohibit games of chance but allow games of skill. Sports betting is seen as a game of skill and is allowed. Virtual sports is also seen as a game of skill, given that betting requires a smart evaluation of odds.

It is legal to bet on odds-based simulations. So in this regard, the path is clear and the market is free to proceed. 

World Health Crisis Impact

This alternative has also come along at the best possible time. Since the world health crisis is still limiting sporting leagues, enthusiasts are keen on trying something new.

2020 was a devastating year for traditional sports. Nigerian fan favourites such as the NBA and the English Premier League were unable to play. Without matches to bet on, enthusiasts soon became familiar with online-based alternatives. Specifically tech-savvy youngsters familiar with the internet.

So, the groundwork was already laid for virtual sports. Some traditional leagues are returning to normal, but the world health crisis remains a risk. This means that there is still an opportunity for simulation-based betting to find a fan base. If anything, betting enthusiasts now always have somewhere to look when real sports fail.

The Future of Virtual Sports Betting in Nigeria

The key to making virtual sports regionally accepted is adaptation. Each country must be treated as separate, and changes made to the software accordingly. It’s obvious that football is appealing to Nigerian locals, but what about horse and greyhound racing? With some tweaking, these lesser-known sports could find a footing.

The fact is that industry experts have already cited Nigeria as a virtual sports hotspot. Young Nigerian betting enthusiasts are keen on making quick wagers, so it only makes sense that they have adopted the technology. Developers will also be stepping up to broaden the offering.

Either way, local operators are sure to be adopting the option. How big the market gets remains to be seen.

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