The NBA has been fairly open about their support of legal sports betting this year, but now they’re taking it a step further. Now they’re planning to release a virtual sports betting game scheduled to launch by the start of next season. The game is titled NBA Last 90, a result of a partnership with gaming company Highlight Games Limited.
Sports betting is still new to the U.S., but virtual sports betting is a foreign concept altogether. Virtual sports betting has been quite popular in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom. Between April of 2017 and May of 2018, more than £750 million in virtual sports wagers were placed in the UK.
Virtual sports betting is different from traditional sports betting because virtual sports betting doesn’t involve an actual sporting event. Instead of using a real, live game to wager on, virtual sports betting uses a simulated event that has the outcome decided via random number generation. This is the same type of technology used to decide winners of slot machines.
This may prompt the question whether virtual sports betting is actually sports betting or just gambling, but it is no different from betting on esports. Any form of competition with a winner and loser can be deemed a sport, making virtual sports betting fair game as a sports bet.
NBA Last 90 will use real highlights from actual NBA games in prior seasons to create an engaging experience. Like the name might suggest, the game situation involves the last 90 seconds between two teams. Bettors will be able to make proposition bets based on several different win conditions, including which team will score first, the point total between both teams, and who ultimately wins.
Josh Goodstadt of THINK450, which serves as the profit-generating sector of the National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA), has indicated that the purpose of the game is to help increase the overall popularity of the league and the players involved. One thing that makes this virtual game particularly unique is that it uses real players and actual game footage, making the game much more exciting than most other offerings on the market.
Not only will NBA Last 90 be available in the U.S., but it will also be distributed in Europe and all around the world. Not only will the game be available in physical retail establishments, but it can also be accessed via mobile app or online. This is extremely important considering how successful mobile betting is when it is offered.
Currently the only form of virtual sports betting you’ll find in the U.S. involves horse racing. Coincidentally, this is also the most popular virtual sport wagered on in the UK. Nevada has offered virtual horse racing since 2016 and has 19 locations that currently offer it. Now that virtual basketball is coming to the U.S. and includes actual players from the league, you can expect that it will be quite popular for basketball fans that want another way of enjoying NBA basketball.