Esports, live sports and virtual sports comparison


The sports betting industry has a huge, colossal audience on a global scale. One of the reasons that can explain the increased popularity of sports betting services is that the sports industry has many dimensions and various fields, creating a world of various colors with diverse alternatives for bettors. Well, for instance, clients can bet on live sports events, pre-match sports events, esports tournaments, and matches, and finally, there is another category of virtual sports where players can bet their money. 

Due to such diversity, sometimes it can be confusing to differentiate the distinctive features of live sports, esports, and virtual sports betting. Furthermore, you may also be wondering why you should incorporate multiple esports and virtual sports games in your sportsbook platform. These are the main questions that we will answer in the given article. So, if you are interested and need to understand more about the given topic, continue reading. But first, if you want to find out how to start your sports betting business, we recommend checking out an article about how to start a sportsbook in 2023. 

Live sports

One of the most popular forms of gambling is sports betting – placing a wager on the outcome of a specific sports event. Sports betting involves betting on live events (live sports betting) and pre-match events. A form of betting that takes place after a game has begun is called live sports betting. It allows viewers to place wagers during the game rather than just before it starts. The odds will change according to what happens during the game. 

Live events significantly increase the engagement of players since they also try to get a handle on the flow of the game, watch over the progress of the sports match, and set up winning wagers. 

In live sports betting, odds fluctuate frequently. Under such circumstances, it’s best to acquire a sportsbook that includes the support of in-house bookmakers. In-house bookmakers analyze and determine the market coefficients 24 hours a day. Bookmakers will accept and pay out bets on sporting events at the arranged odds. Nonetheless, these odds can change throughout the live event. Bookmakers do not just predict the outcome of events. They have to modify the market coefficients according to the changes and turnarounds during the match for the benefit of both sides, bettors, and your business. Thus, if you don’t have the support of in-house bookmakers, nobody will determine your market coefficients and your sports betting business will fail based only on pre-arranged odds.

Pre-match events are also an important part of the sports betting world. Pre-match bets are placed before the event begins. The player can place bets one day, one week, or a whole month in advance, even just a minute before the match or tournament starts. This group also includes long-term or future bets, such as the winner of the tournament, league, or competition. Live and pre-match bets are also available in esports.

Pre-match bets are less likely to fluctuate. It’s unlikely that there will be multiple numbers of significant factors that will affect the final result – the chance of either team winning. Nonetheless, pre-match odds may change too. For instance, the bookmakers will make the subsequent changes in the odds of a specific team winning if a key player gets hurt or a new player signs, and the bookmakers will make the subsequent changes in the odds. Nonetheless, the odds are still less volatile. Therefore, your bettors will have more time to research the markets and decide which bets to place if they plan to bet on pre-match events.

Nowadays, live sports betting accounts for most real sports bets. Nonetheless, pre-match bets are also frequently made. One should not forget that one of the primary preconditions for drawing clients’ attention is offering various types of betting forms, multiple sports, and diverse betting markets.

Upgaming’s ultra-fast sportsbook incorporates more than 82 000 live events, 75 000 pre-match events, 140 types of sports, and 4 500 unique markets. All of this is compiled in multi-profile, high-quality and fast sportsbook software that ensures the excellent performance of your sports betting business and increases the level of customer satisfaction rate.


Esports refers to organized video gaming tournaments held at regional and international championship levels. These grand events allow amateur and professional players to play against one another until one becomes a tournament champion. Esports, also known as electronic sports, is a rapidly growing market that incorporates an increasing number of players, viewers, operators, and bettors. Simply put, esports is a contest based on multiplayer video games played competitively for viewers and bettors.

Esports can be described as a broad term that covers many different types of games and genres. This is also true for esports betting, which includes and covers most of the titles in esports. Esports games can be divided into various categories, but the most popular ones for betting are Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) and First Person Shooters (FPS) games. 

As the popularity of esports increases, global investors, brands, and media outlets pay more attention to competitive video games. This trend also aligns with the audience of bettors as esports gambling is becoming increasingly popular following the exponential growth of the esports industry itself. Esports gambling has seen a surge in investment and revenue due to the popularization of esports.

Esports has exploded in popularity due to the social aspect of gaming and live streaming. Twitch and YouTube Gaming have served as video streaming platforms that allow fans to connect directly with the teams and players. All of this was represented in a growing number of viewers, players, and bettors – while the number of players and viewers increased, so did the number of bettors.

On the other hand, there is a growing interest in esports from the younger generations. Especially, Gen Z is opting for electronic sports, leaving regular sports beyond the sphere of their interest. Thus, esports also represents an opportunity for sports betting operators to acquire new clients from the rising generation. If you want to find out more about esports betting, you can read our article – ESports betting market.

Virtual sports

Virtual sports resemble live sports competitions and races, except that they don’t feature real players. Instead, virtual sports events are computer-simulated games. Players can bet on Virtual horse racing, tennis, and football matches. These events have the same betting markets as live sports events, including outright winner, total score, over/under, etc.

Virtual counterparts can be offered for almost any sport, and these virtual matches, fights, or races are presented with high-quality 3D graphics. The experience is very similar to betting on actual sports. However, the outcome is determined solely by the RNG and not by multiple, real factors influencing the result of the real, live event.

Random Number Generators (RNGs) are algorithms that generate random numbers, as their name implies. An RNG system determines who wins an event in virtual sports based on predetermined odds. Although everyone has a chance to win, the final result generated by the RNG is not predictable for either players or operators. This makes virtual sports betting very similar in technical terms to roulette and slots.

There are many options for setting up an RNG. It can be set up with varying levels of transparency, complexity, and randomness. Most importantly, operators must be concerned that the RNG is sufficiently random so players cannot discern patterns and predict outcomes of virtual events. On the opposite side, players must also be sure and informed that the operator isn’t manipulating the outcome. Independent labs issue Random Number Generator Certifications to ensure that RNGs meet industry standards. Such certifications are required of the operators in order to operate legally in white, regulated markets.

Below you can see the table that includes a short comparison of live sports, esports, and virtual sports according to the various factors, such as betting strategy, accessibility, outcome, etc.

Below you can see a small table comparing live sports, esports, and virtual sports according to several characteristics.

Live Sports Esports Virtual Sports
Betting Strategy Analytics Analytics No (odds may be helpful)
Accessibility According to the schedule of leagues and tournaments

Playing style Betting Betting Same as games of RNG nature
Outcome Numerous factors Numerous factors RNG
Teams Real teams with real players Real teams with real players Prototypes of real-life players

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between esports and virtual sports?

Esports is a form of competitive video gaming in which players compete against each other in real-time. These events are often held in front of live audiences. On the contrary, virtual sports are powered by Random Number Generators (RNGs). Through software, they simulate traditional sports such as basketball and football, but they do not have live audiences as it is present in esports and live sports.

  • Why should you incorporate virtual sports in your sportsbook platform?

The answer is simple – to get the attention of more clients and allow them various options for betting. Furthermore, virtual sports are easy to play and quite funny. Another significant point is the accessibility of virtual sports. As we all know, real-life sporting events occur on a fixed date and schedule. However, that’s not the case for virtual sports, as they are available throughout most of the day. You can place your bets and watch the games online whenever you like. The availability of virtual sports makes it possible for us to bet on these games based on our different schedules.

  • What is RNG, and why is it applicable to virtual sports?

Random Number Generator (RNG) is a computer algorithm that can create a set of numbers without predictable rules. Thus, the generated result won’t be foreseeable. Virtual sports use RNG because it is a simulation of actual live events. To put it in simple words, the result of the virtual sports simulations are not dependent on real-life events. Therefore, they need programmed software with specific codes and strings of orders that can generate a different, unique result for each simulation. This is why RNG is the best fit for virtual sports.

  • Do live sports, esports, and virtual sports share the same betting markets?

There are specific essential betting markets that are used in live sports, esports, and virtual sports at the same time. The shared betting options include overs, unders, the win of a specific team, etc. Nonetheless, esports must also have betting markets that are different from the markets of sports and virtual sports due to the disparity within the fields themselves.