It's already been established that sports betting is perhaps the more prominent and popular forms of gambling in the UK. It's widespread and has experienced a 9% increase year on year since the end of the Fifa World Cup in 2014. But sports betting has always been a popular past time in the British Isles — it is, after all, the most common form of betting found in most betting shops, usually horse-racing or football. The worldwide use of the internet and the introduction of virtual sports betting has only increased that.
There is a time of year, however, where virtual sports tend to explode with popularity — during the summer. Why is this? The answer is simple: summer equals sunshine and sunshine equals sports. Every year, all the best sporting events come into the public eye: Wimbledon, Fifa, the Olympics, the UEFA. It all happens around this time of year so it's only natural that players will be more in the mood for sports betting.
But what other reasons are there for this growth? Some point to the coinciding release of new games. And will this tradition continue? As long as there's summer, then yes. Yes it will.
Recently, companies such as SIS, Ladbrokes and Playtech have announced the release of new virtual sports betting games to compliment the real-world events that are happening at the moment. Many other companies have developed slots just because the UEFA Euros are happening.
Playtech, for example, are now releasing a Playtech Virtual Tennis which is set to go alongside the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and has been described as “the world's most realistic virtual sports product.” While what exactly makes this game “realistic” remains to be seen, Ladbrokes have agreed to implement SIS's platform of on-demand racing games which they claim will be able to garner a bigger reach with their customer base. Apparently this will give players six times more betting chances compared to more “scheduled” virtual games. This is largely thanks to the SIS Infinite Games project.
So we can blame companies for being responsible for wanting to play more virtual sports — they keep timing their releases so that we have no choice but to do so. A clever bit of marketing but it's something we've come to expect now, especially since it's so popular.
So because Wimbledon is now in full swing (pun fully intended), does this mean that they'll be an onslaught of new games involving tennis? And we're not just talking about virtual sports here (that takes a lot of time and effort to create), but video slots with a strong tennis theme.
Evidence suggests that it might. The Euros, for example, have inspired countless slots that feature football as its core theme, some not even trying to hide the fact that it's heavily based off the Euro Cup in particular. Let's point some fingers — we're talking about Football Champions Cup and Bicicleta in particular.
While more games are always welcome, there is a point where too many games with a similar theme become boring and the USP becomes irrelevant. This has happened with slots that have an “oriental” theme in particular.
Let's hope the same thing doesn't happen with tennis, though new games inspired by Wimbledon would be welcome! However, as Wimbledon tends to occur every year while football championships happen every 2/4 years, creating tennis-themed slots around this time seems less of a novelty. We do, however, hope virtual tennis creates more interest in the sport. Football's great and all but it can get a little… same-y.