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NBA and betting - Innovations in the virtual sports betting market

Many casino operators this year announced their collaboration with gaming software providers. These collaborations will open the potential for creating new possibilities on the gaming and betting market. Along with a few new slot titles, this collaboration introduced the virtual sports betting game NBA last 60. This game comes from the British developer Highlight games, differing from other virtual sports titles. How is this accomplished? Well, very easy - they use real NBA footage.

How does the NBA last 60 works?

Many virtual sport games use animations to show a match simulation. NBA Last 60 pulls footage from a library of virtual highlight moments captured from recent NBA seasons. During the game they are attached together to simulate the final 60 seconds of a fictional game.

As a player, you first select which two teams you'd like to compete against each other. The game then offers the odds for two different types of wagers, such as win-lose or the total score. Once you finish placing your bets, the game randomly generates a minute of highlights for you to watch and resolve the wagers.

The developer announced a 90 second version of the game in June 2019. The 60 second version was added later, probably at critics' request. The game is still not available on partners' sites, but it should be announced for launch in the following period.

Following the success in Europe

NBA Last 60 is the provider's second virtual game title. The first virtual sports betting game is named Soccerbet. Soccerbet's great reception in Europe offers hope and optimism about the potential NBA theme success. Since making its debut in Italy in 2019, it has been well accepted by famous country's sportsbooks. Greece also announced a deal with the Greek football league to use its footages for virtual bets.

This placed the sport themed virtual slot to become a number one product in the betting category.

The differences between the two virtual betting games are only seen in their rules to play. Instead of portraying the final minute of a game like NBA last 60, in Soccerbet every clip presents a highlight reel for the complete match. This includes goals, near misses and even yellow or red cards.

In general, basketball seems like a perfect fit for this type of product. The pace and highlights of the game are more dynamic and can occur several times in 60 seconds. When compared, the NBA offers that last second close game thrill compared to the long and calculated football matches.

US market represents a challenge

The biggest challenge that this game will face in the US will be the lack of presence and product demand. The Europe betting market stands for a very mature playground. They are well introduced to sport betting and seeing virtual games alongside land-based ones is not uncommon. However, this is not the case with the US, where no sportsbook offers virtual sports betting. The opportunity exists, and it's alongside other online casino games. If the casino market recognises and embraces the opportunity, many online casino games will offer this virtual betting opportunity. There is a great potential in the casino slot games for testing the community and online market. Sports and even adventure themed slots like this interesting slot game Gorilla Gold Megaways may offer a completely different betting experience. This would prove that betting is not limited only to sports and sport themed activities. However, caution and regulation are needed in order to distinguish the relations between betting and gaming.

What does it take for a successful product?

Introducing virtual sports in the US very much depends on lawmakers and casino regulators. It's up to them to decide whether simulated match refers more to sports betting or casino gaming. Up until today, no US sport betting law encourages provision for virtual sports.  The audience and demographics for sports betting and casino gaming are very different. However, the popularity of the virtual betting market is rising, and we expect this industry to grow and evolve even more.

Nonetheless, there is no such thing as an established market for a specific product. Many things depend on how a product is initially cross marketed to conventional sports bettors. That in turn, depends very much on regulatory discretion. This will also represent a challenge on how much NBA and operators are willing to invest in the promotion of the product.