Sports betting data and services specialist Sportradar will offer 3,000 virtual National Basketball Association (NBA) games a day to its betting partners, allowing them to offer markets at times when little or no live events are taking place.
Each virtual NBA game is powered by real-life NBA data, acquired through Sportradar’s existing US$1 billion betting data and streaming deal with the league, with outcomes simulated by combining artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools.
The game engine algorithms have been trained millions of data points from 480,000 previous simulations in order to generate realistic outcomes.
The games are simulated visually using motion capture technology, with player movements captured using cameras and sensors from half a million data points. These images are then paired with the data driven simulation to create the virtual game.
Sportradar says virtual NBA games will be available via its eWallet Remote Game Server, or via the Betradar Unified Odds Feed, allowing for easy integration into existing client feeds. Bettors can watch up to eight games at any one time, each offering 12 betting markets.
“Virtual sports betting is growing in popularity with more than 200 million betting tickets accepted across Sportradar’s portfolio of virtual betting products so far this year,” said Frank Wenzig, managing director of gaming at Sportradar.
“Through the introduction of Virtual NBA, featuring the names and logos of NBA teams, Sportradar is providing operators with dynamic new basketball content to drive engagement with the sport and provide fans with access to NBA betting markets, even in the off season.”
The legalisation of sports betting in some US states has initiated a frenzy of activity among leagues, bookmakers, and solutions providers, all eager to tap into this massive new revenue stream. However by its very nature, sports betting is restricted by the frequency of actual sporting events.
Whereas bookmakers in the UK and other markets are able to offer live casino games that can take place at all hours of the day, counterparts in the US have to contend with hours of inactivity and off-seasons.
This constant need for live sport can explain many of the deals that betting service firms such as Sportradar and Genius Sports have struck with rights holders around the world. However, there is no limit to the number of virtual events that can be offered, so long as they promise the same level of integrity as real-life contest.
Virtual events also maximise the value of expensive data rights partnerships, which helps explain why Sportradar already offers virtual in-play betting for cricket, Major League Baseball (MLB) and German soccer’s Bundesliga.
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