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    Virtual Greyhound Racing: A Modern Twist on Tradition
Virtual Greyhound Racing: A Modern Twist on Tradition
People watching greyhound racing on VR glasses. Source: Midjourney

Virtual Greyhound Racing: A Modern Twist on Tradition

In Alan Milne's timeless poem "The King's Breakfast," the monarch's disdain for a milkmaid's substitution of marmalade for butter echoes a sentiment shared by many traditionalists. Much like the King's insistence on his usual fare, enthusiasts of traditional greyhound racing may find themselves puzzled or even perturbed by the notion of engaging in a computerised rendition of the sport when live events are readily available.

Live greyhound competitions offer an immersive experience, allowing attendees to soak in the ambience of the racetrack, place bets at their leisure, and even interact with the dogs themselves. For many, greyhound racing is not merely a pastime but a cherished part of their cultural fabric.

While televised broadcasts provide a convenient alternative for those unable to attend in person, they still capture the essence of live racing—real dogs, real tracks, and real excitement. Virtual greyhound racing, on the other hand, exists solely in the realm of simulation and gaming. While it may offer aesthetic pleasures and simulate the thrill of the racetrack, it lacks the authenticity and human connection of the real thing.

In virtual races, the focus is primarily on gameplay and betting, with little room for the genuine engagement and camaraderie found in live events. While the virtual rendition may feature realistic visuals and sound effects to enhance the experience, it ultimately falls short of capturing the true essence of greyhound racing.

Those who are intimately familiar with the sights and sounds of live racing are unlikely to find the same level of satisfaction in its virtual counterpart. For them, the joy of greyhound racing lies not just in the outcome of the race but in the shared experience of being present at the track, surrounded by fellow enthusiasts and the undeniable energy of the event.

Virtual greyhound dog. Source: Midjourney
Virtual greyhound dog. Source: Midjourney

Betting on virtual dog racing brings forth several notable distinctions:

• The virtual racing operates as a continuous computer program, allowing players to wager and participate in gameplay at their convenience. Races are held consistently every 3-5 minutes, 7 days a week.

• Unlike real-life races, external factors such as weather conditions do not affect virtual races. There's no risk of disqualification, illness, doping, or any unforeseen incidents disrupting the proceedings. The system operates flawlessly.

• Advanced graphic editing capabilities produce highly realistic video content, sometimes even surpassing the quality of real race broadcasts.

• Virtual races are available day and night, and the program offers a variety of racetracks, tracks, and distances to keep the video sequences diverse and maintain player interest.

• Race outcomes are determined by a random number generator, making manipulation difficult. Dogs with lower odds are represented more in the generator's number pool, increasing their chances of winning.

• In traditional races, players can assess a dog's winning probabilities based on factors like pedigree, age, and track record. However, virtual racing removes this aspect, requiring players to focus solely on the game, bets, and potential winnings.

Greyhound dog with VR glasses. Source: Midjourney
Greyhound dog with VR glasses. Source: Midjourney

In the gaming sections of numerous casinos and bookmakers' websites, enthusiasts can find a plethora of information on greyhound racing. To dive into the action and potentially earn winnings, one must first register, create an account and deposit funds.

With virtual greyhound racing available 24/7, players may find themselves deeply engrossed, risking losing control of their bankroll. Seasoned players advise starting with modest amounts, keeping track of time spent, and maintaining composure to avoid overindulgence.

A subset of multiplayer games allows participants to immerse themselves in activities like breeding, training, buying, selling, and competing with other virtual greyhound owners, sometimes with real money at stake. These games offer a simulated reality, giving players greater control over various aspects of the greyhound racing experience.

The greyhound racing industry has faced a significant challenge in recent years: while greyhounds typically race for 3-4 years, they can live up to 12 years. As a result, thousands of retired greyhounds require care, and the infrastructure to support them falls short. Despite successful adoption programs, there remains a surplus of retired dogs, highlighting a welfare concern.

Animal welfare organisations advocate for the discontinuation of greyhound racing due to instances of maltreatment and euthanasia of unfit dogs. The commercial viability of retired greyhounds is limited, posing a dilemma for the industry.

In light of these challenges, virtual sports emerge as a potential solution. While it may not eliminate the human desire for competitive racing, transitioning the commercial aspect to the virtual realm offers a practical alternative that addresses welfare concerns and ensures the sustainability of greyhound racing as a sport.


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