A combination of the most popular sports betting markets for ‘life-like, top-tier football action’ with fast-paced casino style features powered by a mobile-optimised design.
That’s the blueprint for the success of Vermantia’s Virtual Football League, as explained by Spyros Stavropoulos, Commercial Director of Vermantia, who explained the product’s key features, launch timing and why virtual sports have evolved from a round-the-clock ‘filler’ to become ‘highly autonomous’ within an operator’s portfolio.
SBC: Can you just explain what the product is in simple terms?
SS: Our brand new HD Virtual Football League is an all-time-classic virtual football game combined with casino-type features to raise players’ expectations for fast draws and interactive betting experiences. But what sets it apart is the mobile-optimised design, following the great shift towards mobile and fully aligned with today’s tech-savvy mobile and online players.
Designed also as a plug n’ play standalone solution, we achieved a fast time to market for betting operators, while also in line with our bespoke and localised approach the product offers numerous customisation options to meet any operator’s requirements.
It’s a combination of life-like action through HD graphics, top-tier football leagues and the most popular betting markets, and fast-paced experience with casino-type features in a mobile-first design.
SBC: Virtual sports enjoyed a huge boom during the early Covid lockdowns; why is the timing right for this new product? What is the USP against those already on the market?
SS: The pandemic had a significant impact on players’ behaviours. With the suspension of live sporting events in place during the early Covid lockdowns, players turned to virtual games to fill the betting gap. This was an indication for us about where the market is headed but it was neither a clear one nor the most powerful indication.
What instead is a reality, is the growth of mobile betting which has expanded exponentially across the globe over the last years as the popularity has particularly been enhanced by the growth of mobile technology, the fast development of 5G and smartphones features.
The data speaks for itself. A tremendous shift presented in players’ preference regarding the way they bet. Between 2018 and 2020 there was a 500% increase in the number of visitors that have been using a mobile device to visit a website for betting purposes.
Our new Virtual Football League is the result of a careful monitoring of the market trends and our customer-centric approach. Everything is done on the move now and betting simply follows suit.
Players are heading towards betting on the go now more than ever, and this is why we developed a mobile-optimised product. A key strength is definitely its mobile-first perspective, but also the casino-style features that power a thrill to players and ensure increased engagement.
SBC: Do you see it as a cross-selling tool for your partners given the mix of casino-style pace of play and traditional sports betting features?
SS: Based on its nature, Virtual Football League can be integrated by a wide range of betting operators. Why is that? Being a classic virtual game with full HD graphics, realistic models and moves, powering life-like experience, as well as key betting markets, covers all the needs of virtual players and traditional sports-book fans’ expectations. Alongside, the casino-type gameplay includes all those elements that attract the casino audience.
Virtual games started as a filler for live racing and sports in the old days, when operators didn’t have enough content to provide around the clock service. That’s not the case anymore. We are seeing a situation where virtual products are highly autonomous and can attract many different types of audiences, offering operators a greater scope of choice to expand their existing portfolios.
SBC: What have you seen from the early player engagement with this game? What are the key betting markets? How popular is the Skip feature?
SS: Despite being a newly added game, the initial feedback is very positive, especially in newer markets that have evolved over the last years like the African markets, the LatAm markets but also in established markets that have continued to perform well and are also the biggest markets for virtual games.
Coming now to the ‘Skip’ feature, this is already popular among players. The functionality has been labelled as a valuable addition to the betting process, aligned with today’s society that has changed into a fast paced race. Skipping a round is gaining traction and the reasons are obvious.
When it comes to betting markets, similar to the above, we include everything the players need, sealing the top spot in players’ preference. The inclusion of all the popular betting markets of a traditional sportsbook, especially those that the mobile players tend to bet on, ranging from match result, double chance, correct score among others, make the product even more appealing to today’s players.
SBC: Are you concerned at all that European jurisdictions might follow the UK’s lead with measures to curb speed or ‘intensity’ of play, given you have centred your promotion of the game around its fast-paced experience?
SS: Keeping on top of current events and complying with the rules is one of our top priorities. The measures taken by the UK government will surely have an impact on the online vertical of the industry. The fresh restrictions aim to curb the speed of play for online slot games, but our Virtual Football League isn’t one of those. Its logic is purely on the virtuals side while it includes some casino-type features.
Even if we focus on the intensity of play for Virtual Football League, this is a fast-paced game in accordance with virtual games nature that exist in the market for a quite long time.
We could never reach the speed of slots and this is not our purpose either. What we designed is a product that provides fun, safety above all, and a seamless experience to the tech-savvy players of the modern mobile era by adding a new twist to our game.
SBC: And finally, what are your expectations for the Virtual Football League in 2021? What would constitute a successful year for the product?
SS: As the data suggests, the future of mobile betting is bright. The pandemic permanently accelerated mobile betting adoption and that trend according to industry experts will continue its onwards course during the next months. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the benefits are several.
Betting on the go offers convenience and ease of use. Also, with the arrival of 5G, mobile betting is only becoming stronger as more and more users have now access to unlimited data plans and are looking for interactive betting experiences.
Even if the global lockdowns will stay in place during 2021 or restrictions are lifted, we are confident that players will continue to enjoy seamless mobile experiences and we are here to provide exactly that with our Virtual Football League.