DraftKings New Jersey will soon have virtual sports on its online betting platform through a deal with Inspired Entertainment. The partnership will allow DraftKings to use Inspired’s virtual sports wagering product with “minimal integration effort and rapid speed-to-market”. An official launch date is yet to be confirmed.
Inspired Entertainment debuted its virtual sports betting product in New Jersey in 2017 on two online gaming websites. This was before the May 2018 US Supreme Court decision that led the Garden State to legalize sports betting later that year.
While wagering on real sports involves a certain amount of skill, virtual sports betting is more like playing the slots. As such, takings from virtual sports fall under online casino revenue. Virtual sports products look a lot like video games and are available at many New Jersey sportsbooks.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic closed the doors Atlantic City casinos in March. However, online gambling is still available in the Garden State and last month had a revenue stream 65% higher than March of 2019. However, sports betting revenue was down 60% year-on-year with many leagues suspended and events canceled.
Brooks Pierce, President and CEO of Inspired Entertainment, said of the DraftKings deal, “Not only do we have the largest and most advanced portfolio of virtual sports, we tailor our products to sports fanatics with a combination of fast-paced action, ultra-realistic player simulations, and a tremendous breadth of bet types. We are looking forward to working with DraftKings on bringing a continual stream of betting content to their customer base, especially at this time when there is limited live sports content available.”
The deal will see DraftKings NJ offer 14 virtual sports variants, including basketball, soccer, football, horse racing, and motor racing. All of the virtual sports offerings will be available 24/7 at the DraftKings Casino. The football product features past great players through Inspired’s 2019 deal with NFL Alumni. There are 11 teams in the virtual football title playing in a single-game, head-to-head format, while live betting is available. There is no NBA branding in the NBA virtual game.
Inspired Entertainment also offers casino and lottery content. In 2016 the company received regulatory approval in Nevada through an arrangement with William Hill. Inspired operates in 35 jurisdictions around the world and, according to the company, is used by over 100 operators.
It has been reported that virtual sports now accounts for nearly a third of total revenue for some online gaming operators in Europe. It is expected that virtual sports in the United States will continue to grow in popularity while the world’s top leagues and tours are out of action.