In an interview with SBC, Dmytro Voshkarin, CEO of GG.BET, talked about how virtual basketball and virtual football products open up new betting opportunities for players.
SBC: Could you tell us a bit about the virtual products available on your platform?
DV: Virtual sports are a relatively new phenomenon in esports. It is essentially a computer game in which two virtual teams, either controlled by real players or artificial intelligence, compete against each other.
Esports football matches are usually played in football simulation games such as FIFA and PES, where the outcome of the match is determined by the skill and algorithmic actions of the players on the computer.
Despite its novelty compared to all other gambling entertainments, virtual sports have already gained a significant following. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost, there is an ability to place quick bets and get quick results. While a traditional football match lasts 90 minutes or more, a virtual match is 12 minutes long, so players can quickly place a bet before going to bed or during a coffee break.
The second reason for the popularity of virtual sports is that when playing with artificial intelligence, the likelihood of rigging the results is reduced to zero. Match-fixing scandals happen from time to time in any sport, but matches based on artificial intelligence eliminate the human factor. For many players, these are great reasons to bet on virtual matches.
Betting on virtuals is not much different from playing in a casino in terms of thrill. Unlike other sports, punters don’t have to keep track of players’ fitness, latest contracts and team results. If you look at all the facts and figures related to the World Cup in Qatar, you will understand what I am talking about. Not everyone likes to think about that. Instead, they try their hand at virtuals.
In fact, virtual sports have another notable advantage, which is a round-the-clock availability of matches. This means that whenever players visit the GG.BET website, they will always find something to bet on.
We decided to focus on what our audience wants and dedicated our attention to AI quick matches. Today we offer unique tournaments created by GG.BET’s own teams. Our virtual football is divided into four leagues: Elite League, World League, World Cup and Volta.
The top three leagues feature virtual clones of the famous European clubs and teams. Volta is different in that it resembles street football. Imagine a game that is usually played in the backyard of an apartment building, with the exception of having Messi and Ronaldo score goals in their signature styles. Volta is highly addictive and fast-paced, with matches lasting only six minutes.
For each virtual match, the widest possible range of betting options is available. In fact, we offer as many bets as we offer for the World Cup Finals and the same goes for virtual basketball with its NBA league. In addition, the composition and balance of the teams are updated on a regular basis. Each season, a certain athlete’s level of performance may drop, another one’s level may rise, and so on. GG.BET makes sure that these changes are up to date.
SBC: Have basketball and football products always been a staple for your company, or has the demand for them increased since the pandemic?
DV: We started running virtual sports on GG.BET about three years ago, right before the pandemic hit. At that time, we identified a growing demand for this type of betting products from our customers, and GG.BET decided to respond to this demand.
Indeed, it was a time when most countries went into lockdown, stadiums were closed, teams stopped training, and the demand for virtual sports skyrocketed. The number of bets in virtual games has tripled. However, this does not mean that COVID-19 is responsible for the development of this genre. If we look at a longer period of time and consider the period from the launch of virtual matches in 2019 to today, the number of bets processed at GG.BET has increased seven-fold. In other words, this genre demonstrates a steady growth, and we see that this trend will go on for several years.
SBC: Do you think virtual versions of traditional sports appeal to a certain demographic of players? If yes, how can betting on games like DOTA2, CS:GO and VALORANT be promoted to these players?
DV: I would say that virtual sports betting is not specific to a certain audience, although there is a correlation between the country of residence and the games being bet on. European players mainly bet on virtual football, while players in Brazil and the Philippines prefer to bet on virtual basketball.
Naturally, players prefer to choose teams from their country or region. For example, punters in Norway or Denmark are more interested in betting on the Norwegian or Danish teams than on the Asian ones.
As for the division of the audience into fans of virtual and other sports, it is worth noting that everyone likes to bet on virtual football: from gamers who have spent thousands of hours in Dota 2 to fans of traditional games.
Because each of these bets offers a different experience, players often place them in sequence or at the same time. Why not? When footballers leave the pitch for the half time break and the broadcast switches to commercials, you will not resist being able to place a quick bet. On the other hand, if you are going to spend the evening betting on virtual sports, why not bet on longer matches as well? Obviously, these different sports complement each other and provide users with a more dynamic and immersive experience.
SBC: In 2022, GG.BET made a huge marketing move for Dota 2. How important is it to keep diversifying the offerings alongside more targeted campaigns?
DV: From a business point of view, promoting the brand to the huge audience of Dota 2 is a logical and very natural step. We believe that building GG.BET brand awareness is a way to bring players to the site so that we can offer them all kinds of markets, bets, bonuses and tournaments. This means that by promoting Dota 2 and CS:GO we can focus our efforts and not limit our potential audience.
Of course, along with this, we also run campaigns aimed at attracting other segments of the audience. This year, for example, we have developed a very wide range of betting options for the FIFA World Cup and cross-promotion advertising aimed at the esports audience.
As I said before, in terms of betting, these different sports do not compete with each other. On the contrary, their combination can provide a greater experience for players.
SBC: How do you use AI technology on your platform to create a more immersive gaming experience for players?
DV: This is a particularly far-reaching and interesting development. As mentioned, virtual sports are one of the most obvious applications for AI. The fact that these matches are a simulation helps build confidence in both the results and the bookies. Previously, we have already experimented with virtual matches in which the same team played, either versus a person, or a computer program. AI matches have always attracted larger crowds and bigger bets.
Another example is live betting, where GG.BET’s selection of markets is considered one of the most dynamic in esports. This speed is made possible by artificial intelligence, which allows traders to analyze the probability of outcomes and provide more attractive and realistic odds in real time.
AI is also playing an active role in the platform’s user experience, with the launch of an exciting new feature in the summer of 2022 — a personalized event feed entirely created by AI. An algorithm jointly developed by our developers and esports traders analyzes players’ preferences, such as the games they like, what bets they often play, and which teams they choose, and uses this to provide information about upcoming events tailored to each registered user.
In addition to the above, AI can be used to analyze how users interact with the website’s interface to see which sections are viewed the most, which areas perform well and which do not. This data is automatically collected and shared with our team, who are constantly working to improve our user experience and apps.
GG.BET also spares no expense to implement high-tech solutions. Our goal is to provide a truly exceptional betting experience for every user, and we use every tool available to achieve this goal.
SBC: Could you tell us about GG.BET’s plans for 2023?
DV: We have many plans in different areas. In the meantime, we are gearing up to expand into new markets and are busy localizing our website and apps, as well as training our customer service team.
The developers are working hard to update the functionality of the site so that it remains simple and intuitive to use. Every time the interface of GG.BET is updated, it becomes more and more like a gaming platform.
Meanwhile, 2023 opens a new betting season. The marketing team is already busy preparing surprises and promotions for the entire betting community. We will continue to work on interesting and exciting projects to please a large tournament audience and increase brand awareness.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our Telegram channel!