New Jersey will have to wait until next year for the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision when it comes to the state’s right to offer legalized sportsbetting in its casinos. Meanwhile, gamblers in the Garden State still can bet on games, but only on competitions that are virtual.

New Jersey virtual sports betting

Inspired Gaming’s virtual sports games almost look real, and are now live in the New Jersey online casino market. (Image: Inspired Entertainment)

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) gave final approval for its licensees to allow betting on Inspired Entertainment’s virtual sporting event products, according to a press release issued Monday.

“Virtual Sports betting is now available in New Jersey – online – and we’re delighted to be the first (and only) player in the industry to offer this in North America,” Inspired Vice President of Interactive Lucy Buckley said.

Familiar Games, New Technology

The first Virtual Sports games will appear at PlaySugarHouse.com. Players will be able to bet on a variety of simulated sporting events, including soccer, horse racing, greyhound racing, and motor racing. More sports are expected to be added soon.

In virtual sports betting, players make the same kinds of bets they would at a sportsbook. Once bets are set, they can watch a simulated event take place to determine the outcome of their wagers. Games use near-real HD graphics, and include game commentary to create a quasi-authentic sports experience.

The games were brought to the New Jersey market in partnership with Rush Street Interactive, developer of the SugarHouse online casino.

Three other New Jersey casino sites expected to offer virtual sports betting soon include Golden Nugget, Betfair, and Resorts.

Prepping for Possible Legal Sportsbetting

According to Rush Street Interactive President Richard Schwartz, the games could help casinos prepare for the future legalization of sportsbetting in the United States.

“It’s computer-generated, and not based on any current active live sports event, so it’s not legally considered sportsbetting,” Schwartz explained to the Associated Press. “You can acquire a database of people with an interest in sports betting.”

While this is the first time this technology is being offered online in the US, it’s proven a popular option in casinos throughout the world. Some live casinos in Nevada offer betting on virtual events built on similar technology, while bookmakers in Europe have seen as much as 20 percent of their revenue come through these simulated contests.

“We expect the same results in the New Jersey market,” Schwartz said. “Virtual sports betting is used effectively to fill in time between races and in time periods where there are no real-time sporting events.”