The NFL Draft is one of the most highly-anticipated events on the football calendar. The 2020 Draft was slated to take place at the illustrious Las Vegas Strip, alongside the resplendent Bellagio hotel, with players ferried to a grand stage set up on the Fountain. Festivities were planned well ahead of time to showcase this event, but current realities required a sharp detour.
The NFL Draft took place virtually on Thursday 23 April, 2020 across three major networks including the NFL Network, ABC, and ESPN. In line with Federal and State-sanctioned orders, players, managers, coaches, and the NFL Commissioner himself, Roger Goodell were safely at home while the Draft Picks were announced.
To facilitate a sports-related event as important as the NFL Draft is a massive undertaking. The TV networks coordinated some 100+ camera feeds for the Draft, to ensure that all relevant personnel would be live on camera for the networks. Many other companies including Microsoft, Verizon, Bose, and Amazon Web Services participated in ensuring the connectivity, supply, and hosting of live camera feeds, and top-tier audio-visual connectivity.
Expectations of betting activity for the 2020 NFL Draft were high, with leading New Jersey-based bookmakers anticipating $5 million in wagers for the Draft. This is substantially greater than the 2019 volume of betting which topped $1 million. Regulated sports betting states were expected to generate $500,000 in revenue from the NFL Draft this time around.
Leading Operators Excited about Virtual NFL Betting
The US-based director of trading at William Hill, Nick Bogdanovich was bullish regarding the NFL Draft handle for 2020. He described it as, ‘…As an isolated event, there is more interest. Had the NFL draft been held in Las Vegas as originally scheduled, there is no telling how much would it would generate, but we would have written an insane amount of money.’
The virtual NFL Draft featured a wide range of betting options including predictions for over/under on QBs during the First Round, proposition bets on whether a drafted player will be offensive/defensive, and other prop bet options such as will the drafted player be seen drinking beer. With limited betting activity in traditional sports matches and events, the virtual sports betting arena has exploded in states like New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
Indeed, new sporting deals have been struck in the Garden State between DraftKings Casino and Inspired Entertainment to showcase virtual sports at its DGE-regulated betting platform. Virtual sports betting has hit the ground running in 2020, as more sports bettors take to the virtual arena to get their dollop of real gambling on sports betting. This follows hot on the heels of the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992).
Virtual sports (computer generated games with RNGs), unlike traditional sports betting, is akin to gambling on slot machine games. There is no element of skill involved as bettors simply need to place wagers on teams or players. The recent deal between DraftKings Casino and Inspired Entertainment brings a dynamic selection of virtual sports betting options to players in New Jersey with HD visuals, rapid-play play action, and plenty of betting types.
Virtual Sports Betting Now Universally Popular
Other deals have been inked between leading online casinos and virtual sports betting companies all over the world, including the recent partnership between 888 and Golden Race ‘Beyond Virtuals’ in Europe. The 2020 NFL Draft took place over several days from Thursday 23 April – Saturday 25 April, 2020. This allowed for substantial betting action from sports fans in regulated states, notably New Jersey which generates the largest sports betting handle.
A significant uptick in virtual sports betting has characterized the betting scene in 2020, including 3D simulated betting on horse racing, greyhounds, football, basketball, and motor sports. Virtual sports betting is now available at several New Jersey online casinos including Caesars, Golden Nugget, BetMGM, Tropicana Casino, and Resorts Online Casino.