Virtual Grand National Bet Profits Going to NHS Charity

  • Computer-simulated event set up after Aintree Grand National got canceled due to COVID-19
  • 30-fence horse race taking place on Saturday at 5:15pm, will be broadcast on ITV
  • Virtual Grand National expected to raise £1m+ for charity, max bet £10 per person
  • Additional ‘Race of Champions’ set to feature Tiger Roll, Red Rum among 40 runners
horses and jockeys in action during a race
UK sportsbooks will be donating all betting profits from this Saturday’s Virtual Grand National race to the NHS Charities Group. [Image:]

Replacement for the real thing

Major sportsbooks across the UK are offering odds on the virtual version of the Aintree Grand National and committing all resulting profits to the NHS Charities Group. The decision came after the operators spoke with the Betting and Gaming Council and came to an agreement. 

The Virtual Grand National will replace one of the most anticipated annual horse races after the coronavirus pandemic led to its cancellation. The event will take place on Saturday, with computer systems simulating the outcome of the race. It will be broadcast on ITV at 5:15pm.

Potential profit estimate

A spokesperson for leading sports betting brand William Hill said, “We like to think that the public will get right behind it and hope that the industry can raise a very substantial sum of money.”

expected to raise more than £1m for charity

The Virtual Grand National is expected to raise more than £1m ($1.25m) for charity. The odds for the different horses have been fixed, so they will not change at all in the lead-up to the race. A maximum bet of £10 ($12.45) per person is in place. 

Race simulation and accuracy

Inspired Entertainment is in charge of operating the race simulation. The course will be exactly the same as the real deal, with 30 fences to be jumped.

course will be exactly the same as the real deal, with 30 fences

The company has recreated the action of many leading sporting events in recent years. The simulation uses CGI technology and various algorithms to harness data to produce a result. Some of the variables considered include the going and the current form of the runners.

Virtual races by Inspired Entertainment have been a good predictor of the real outcomes of the Aintree Grand National since they started being used in 2017. 

Showcasing the accuracy of the virtual racing technology, racehorse Cause of Causes came a close second in the actual Grand National in 2017 after it had won the virtual race. Tiger Roll won the virtual and the actual Grand National in 2018. Last year, three of the top five finishers were accurately predicted via the virtual race.

Two events for racing fans

As well as the Virtual Grand National, racing fans will also be able to bet on a special ‘Race of Champions’. This will see past Grand National winners take part in a virtual race. The likes of Tiger Roll and Red Rum will be among the 40 runners in the competition. 

Fans of horse races were eagerly awaiting the 2020 Grand National, hoping for history to be made. Tiger Roll was set to win the race for the third year in a row. Only Red Rum has managed to win three Grand Nationals, doing so in the 1970s. Tiger Roll is one of the favorites to win the Virtual Grand National among bettors.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, most racing events across the world have been either canceled or held behind closed doors. The situation has wreaked havoc with sports betting operators, who are now looking at other ways to generate revenue, including virtual sports. 

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