As well as being one of the most popular games on the planet on its own merits as a sport, tennis has always also been popular in the gambling world.
Unlike with some other sports, tennis has a very busy scoring system with all of it available to bet on. Aces, double-faults, points, sets, breaks, games and so much more can be bet on alongside the match result or correct score, making tennis uniquely popular in the betting world.
How Does Virtual Tennis Work?
Tennis’ virtual cousin isn’t available with every bookmaker, only certain platforms are working with betting software providers who have been smart enough to come up with a virtual tennis offering, but it is already increasing in popularity.
Essentially, watching a virtual tennis match is a lot like looking over a gamer’s shoulder as they play a tennis game on a games console, with the main difference being that you cannot in any way control the outcome or even accurately predict it.
Rest assured there is nobody at bookmaking HQ flicking switches to attempt to manipulate how the match plays out that you’re betting on, instead every outcome is pre-decided by a random number generator which is checked by an independent third party and regulated by the Gambling Commission.
All punters logged into the same bookmaker see the same match, the same odds and the same result which is exactly how it should be.
The plus side to this is that the results are 100% fair, the bad side is that you cannot use any skill or knowledge of tennis to get ahead as any form or results in the real world will have no bearing here.
Pace and Frequency of Virtual Tennis
There are no lack of opportunities here, with matches going off every 3 minutes. This happens all day long too, so each bookie can accommodate nearly 500 virtual tennis matches per day.
In each virtual tennis match only one game is played rather than a full set or, even worse, a long drawn out five-set affair! Each game is scheduled to last only around 2 minutes meaning it can hold your attention, pay you out immediately if you’ve won and then leave just enough time before the next game for you to peruse the odds.
What You Can Bet On
While in the real world tennis is awash with different betting opportunities, in the virtual game there is limited time to get through everything and so of course you’ll find a truncated list of these options.
Most major online bookmakers aren’t even offering virtual tennis yet as a betting medium, and some who do have kept their wagering options to an absolute minimum. Perhaps the most comprehensive offering is with bet365 and with them, you may find the odds on a typical virtual tennis match laid out like this:
|To Win Match|
|Kevin Havard 1/4||Gary McAllister 3/1|
|4 points 9/2||5 points 9/4||6 points 2/1|
|8 points 11/2||10 points 12/1||12 points 14/1|
|Kevin Havard||Gary McAllister|
Is Betting Fair on Virtual Tennis?
To begin with keep in mind that even if you’re a tennis fan and at a glance this can look fairly realistic, from a betting point of view virtual tennis is more akin to slot games than real sport in as much as the result is decided by a random number generator.
With no real names allowed, you won’t be dragged into having a ‘support bet’ on a player you like as you are more likely to see a match between the fictional Alexander Zupan and Marcello Garcia than the real Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer.
That’s a good thing of course, and as mentioned previously, the RNG’s are rigorously checked and cannot be manipulated. A certain RTP (return to player) will be set, say 90%, and over the course of time will ensure players are regularly paid out to this level.
In terms of whether the result of each virtual tennis match is fair for all involved, the answer is obviously yes, but be aware that there are other games using RNG’s out there that offer a better return.
The RTP on most popular slot games is higher that what you’ll receive on virtual tennis, and even when thinking about it from the point of view of a betting margin on a real sport, it is of course less in our favour here than it would be in the real world, partly due to the buying in and the upkeep of the software itself.
Pros & Cons of Virtual Tennis Betting
As a general pastime for someone missing real tennis, even just watching a few of these virtual matches can be enough to quench that sporting thirst just a little bit. For those looking to have a proper bet however, keep these pros and cons in mind regarding virtual tennis:
- It’s Fast and Frequent – in real life we have to wait as long as it takes for a tennis match to finish up or for the next tournament to come around, but here games are just two minutes long and take place every three minutes of the day meaning no limit on betting opportunities.
- There’s No Skill Required – you don’t have to actually play the game like on a console, nor do you need to know a single thing about tennis. Results are decided by the computer so simply make your choice, watch the game play out and get paid immediately if you are successful.
- Payouts are Fair – with all games being watched by the same people who each get the same odds, payouts are kept fair and prices don’t change regardless of how many people are wagering.
- There’s No Temptation for Support Bets – bookmakers have done well over the years out of people who back tennis players because they support them, rather than because they have a genuine chance. With made-up player names here, there’s no temptation for fans of certain players to get involved.
- It’s Nothing Like the Real Thing – some virtual sports are close enough to the real thing, however this is played over one game, there’s no deuce, it’s all male and it’s done in two minutes and so is not close enough to the real thing to keep some people’s attention.
- Low RTP – the return to player percentage on most major slot games is higher than what you’ll find on virtual tennis, something to bear in mind when thinking of what to gamble on.
- The Lack of Control – while not needing to know anything about the sport to be able to play is a good thing for beginners, real tennis fans will be left frustrated at not being allowed to second-guess how well a player is likely to do on a virtual game.
- Betting Temptation – while support bets are off the table, what replaces them is the generalised temptation to keep betting with so many opportunities presented daily.