Virtual horse racing betting allows punters to bet on simulated races every few minutes, all day every day. The always-on aspect is perhaps its biggest allure because unlike real horse races, virtual races happen around the clock and are never cancelled for weather.
While real races aren’t always available when you fancy a flutter, virtual races welcome you with open arms whether its midnight, noon or anything in between. Most major betting sites now offer virtual horse racing on demand. You can visit any of the following sites to get started today and claim a new customer bonus while you’re at it.
Best Virtual Horse Racing Bookmakers
Note: Online virtual horse racing is not yet available in the United States due to strict gaming laws. You may bet on real horse races online in the US, but virtual races are restricted in all states except New Jersey. If you live in New Jersey, you may legally bet on virtual races at PlaySugarHouse.com.
What to Expect with Virtual Horse Racing
Online virtual horse racing is designed to mimic the real thing as closely as possible with pre-race odds, a full lineup of betting options and streaming video complete with racing commentary.
The key difference of course, is the results of virtual races are decided by random chance and not by the efforts of real horses. The chances of every horse are still weighted by their odds such that a 3/1 favourite is still more likely to win than a 25/1 longshot – just like in the real world.
Thanks to modern technology, virtual horse racing feels very much like actual horse racing. After you place your bets and the race begins, you’ll watch virtual horses take off down the track as a commentator excitedly details the action. Graphics have improved drastically in recent years to create a much more lifelike experience today compared to just a few years ago.
Here’s an example from William Hill that shows what virtual racing looks like in action:
Bets are paid out at the end of each race as normal and then the next race gets underway a minute or two after that. You can play and bet as long as you want because betting sites automate the entire process to provide 24-hour racing action.
All the same types of wagers that you would be able to make in a real horse race are also available on virtuals. This includes win and each/way bets, forecasts, tricasts and more. Some betting sites even provide fixed and starting prices, which can fluctuate before the race just like they do in the real world. In this case, picking the starting price will sometimes work in your favour and sometimes not.
How It Works
The most important thing to remember with virtual horse racing betting is that it is completely random. Although the presentation looks and feels like real racing, the mechanics of how virtual races run make it no different than slots, roulette or any other random gambling game.
Betting sites produce virtual racing outcomes with the aid of a random number generator designed to produce unpredictable results. However, the bookmaker can and does make certain outcomes more likely than others. Thus, a horse priced as a 5/2 favourite is still more likely to win than a horse priced as a 33/1 longshot even though the outcome is still random.
You should also keep in mind that virtual race bets are fixed-odds wagers, not parimutuel bets. It is the bookmaker who sets the odds in a virtual race. In most real-world races, all wagers are pooled together and the odds are determined by the market.
What this all means is that it is impossible to gain an edge in virtual horse racing. Unlike real-world racing in which it is possible (in theory) to win over the long run, virtual racing betting is pure gambling. Sometimes you will win, sometimes not, but the bookmaker will have the edge over the long run.
Although the bookmaker has complete control over how much money is returned to players on average, the results are still random. An easy way to reconcile these two seemingly contradictory claims is to think of virtual horse racing as a fancy raffle drawing. The betting favourites may have six tickets in the drawing while the longshots have just two or a single ticket in the drawing.
The random number generator then picks a ticket (or horse in this instance) at random and that horse is chosen to win the race. In this manner, the betting site can set the return-to-player (RTP) to any percentage it wants while still ensuring random outcomes.
Virtual Horse Racing Do’s and Don’ts
Do: Set Limits and Know When to Quit
Online virtual horse racing betting is seductive for action junkies and should therefore be treated with respect. New races are held every minute or two on a continuous loop, day after day and week after week. It is absolutely vital that you know when to quit, because virtual horse racing never quits.
The single most important thing you can do to ensure you have a safe, fun time is to set a plan in advance detailing your stop loss and win limits. Pick an amount of money can stand to lose without feeling sick about it and set that as your limit for the day. If you lose any more money than that, you must quit no matter what.
It is also not a bad idea to set a win limit to lock in any profits you attain on a good day. I can tell you from my experience in the gaming industry that players usually end up giving back all their winnings due to getting too greedy. They go on a hot run, rack up some nice win totals and then give it all right back that same day. You will drastically increase the number of winning days you have by setting a reasonable win limit each day.
Don’t: Mentally Associate Virtual Racing with Real Horse Racing
What I mean by this one is don’t let your brain associate virtual horse racing too closely with real racing. It’s easy to do because both stimulate your brain in basically the same way, from the looks and sounds on down to the way you feel when you win and lose.
These are two very distinct forms of gambling. Virtual horse racing is faster-paced and is always available so it must be treated with more care. It is easy enough to spend too much money in regular horse racing. It is even easier to do that in virtual racing.
Additionally, virtual racing is pure gambling while real world horse racing includes some element of skill. It is important to keep this key difference in mind and accept the risk that comes with betting on simulated races. It is entirely possible that you win money on any given day, but always remember the house has the advantage over the long term. Risk management is key.
Do: Only Bet with Money You Can Afford to Lose
This is a tip that applies to gambling in general, but it bears repeating. In every form of gambling, there is a risk that you lose everything you bring to the table. Sometimes luck runs against us and wins are hard to come by.
Only fund your account with money you can afford to lose and consider that money gone. Pretend like you’ve already lost that money and must still pay the bills that month with everything else.
We tend to be an optimistic lot as gamblers even though we know nothing is guaranteed. When you pretend you’ve already spent any money you deposit, it helps you make a more realistic determination of what you can really afford to lose. Additionally, once you consider that money already gone, anything you win beyond that point feels like a nice bonus.
Don’t: Assume Past Results Are Indicative of Future Outcomes
This is an old adage from the stocks and investing world that seems obvious at first glance, yet still has a sneaky way of creeping up on us. In virtual horse racing betting, it is easy to win a few bets and start feeling as though you’re on a hot streak. If you’re not careful, this way of thinking will have you blowing through your win/loss limits in no time.
Streaks are only apparent after the fact. Every single virtual horse race is an independent, random event. Whether you’ve won or lost your last five straight bets, it means nothing regarding the next bet.
Winning a few bets in a row does not mean you are any more likely to continue winning. Likewise, losing a few in a row does not mean you are “due” to win any time now. Stubbornly stick to your win and loss limits at all times.
Do: Keep Track of the Time
The frequency and short duration of virtual horse races makes it all too easy to lose track of time. In the time you could have watched a real horse race take place, complete with trotting out the horses and announcing the winners, you can easily play through a dozen virtual races.
Gambling is best taken in small doses. Shorter gambling sessions make it easier to stop when you should stop and to make smarter decisions when it comes to how much money you’re really willing to risk. Conversely, longer sessions tend to dull your thinking and make it more tempting to chase losses.
Don’t: Refuse to Accept a Loss
We all experience losing days from time to time in gambling. That’s just the nature of the game. Even in games such as poker which have a large skill element, luck can be a cruel mistress. The same also applies in virtual horse betting.
If you hit your loss limit for the day, accept the loss and end your day there. It is never fun to stop on a negative note, but the entire purpose of loss limits to prevent you from losing an amount of money that is uncomfortable to lose.
It is much wiser to accept the occasional losing day and move on. One of the fastest ways to decimate your bankroll and lose an uncomfortable amount of money is to try to chase your losses. A gambler in the midst of chasing his losses tends to place riskier and riskier bets as the losses accumulate. Remember, there is always another day to try again when it comes to virtual horse racing.