According to Martin Wachter – CEO and Founder of Golden Race – who predicted it will lead to increased traffic and visibility of virtual goods, the return of live sports would have a positive effect on virtual sports.
The pandemic has proven to the betting industry, according to Wachter, that virtual sports is not a side commodity but instead ‘a real option for bookmakers’ to continue to engage with bettors.
He elaborated: “Virtual sports is the only side product that doesn’t have to be afraid when sports betting comes back. In fact, sports betting coming back will bring only positive effects, as there will be more traffic and people on the website. When there weren’t real sports, some people looked for virtual sports, but many people didn’t enter the websites at all.
“Virtual sports will benefit when sports betting is back, as more people in the websites will find a very similar product as an additional tool next to sports betting.”
During the pandemic, operators have switched to virtual goods with a mostly regional absence in live sport to provide betting markets for punters missing sporting events.
The Golden Race CEO pointed out that interest in online and virtual sports has risen in recent months, with online ticket sales increasing by 74 percent in March, doubling the figure in April.
However, it is not just the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in the popularity of virtual sports, as Wachter pointed out that Golden Race goods have been on a growth trajectory for more than seven years – albeit one exacerbated by the crisis.
The pandemic has been a ‘wake-up call’ for betting operators to see that virtual sports is not merely a ‘short-term option,’ Wachter explained: “In my opinion this situation has been a wake-up call for sports bookmakers to embrace virtual sports and we may see some changes in our industry from now on. But there is plenty of evidence that virtual sports have been successful and have helped businesses to grow in the past.
“Back in 2004, when I was starting with virtual sports in Germany, operators were happy to include Virtual sports as a way to add traffic to their sportsbook in the betting shops, especially during complicated months when real sports betting was down because of high payouts or other issues. Currently, virtual sports provide the same amount of traffic (or even more) than sports betting in many countries.
“Of course, the more diversified your product is, the better prepared you will be to survive no matter what happens.”