Virtual Horses

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Created for online casinos by software developer Ash Gaming in conjunction with Orbis OpenBet, the fixed-odds game called “Virtual Horses” is based upon thoroughbred flat racing. It recreates the thrill of being trackside, with the advantage of on-demand action available 24/7. Graphics and audio are highly realistic, and a great number of betting options are offered.

Virtual Horses features an 8-horse race. The names of the mounts, along with their saddle cloth numbers and silks, are displayed across the top of the screen. Many of the horses have names worthy of a smile, such as “Phone A Friend,” “Miss Piggy” or “Stewards Enquiry,” but no matter what names they bear, the odds remain the same for the entries by saddle cloth number, with #1 always the favourite. Specifically, the #1 horse has odds of 3/1, the #2 horse has 4/1, #3 has 5/1, #4 has 6/1, #5 has 8/1, #6 has 10/1, #7 has 12/1 and #8 has 16/1.

To bet on a horse to “Win,” the player must first select a betting denomination from the chip tray at the bottom left of the screen. Depending on the casino, the available chips are typically £0.10, £0.50, £1, £2, £5, £10 and £50, although some may also offer £100, too. As the cursor is moved over the horse’s name or saddle cloth number, the odds for the wager are displayed in an adjacent indicator. Clicking on “Win” on the right will set the bet in place. Multiple clicks will add to the wager in the same denomination.

It is also possible to wager on a horse to “Place,” meaning a podium finish—first, second or third. Again, the corresponding odds are displayed as the cursor passes over the Place betting area to the right of the horse’s name, ranging from 1/2 to 16/5.

A complete array of forecast bets are also available when playing Virtual Horses, which means predicting the first two finishers in the race in the correct order. These wagers are made in the field of forecast options in the middle of the screen. Again, because the order of the favourites and their odds are fixed, the forecast odds also remain unchanged from race to race. For example, betting on the forecast #1-#2 is always at odds of 13/1, while the highest odds are 200/1 for #8-#7.

As soon as a wager is made, the amount will be added to the total, which appears in the “Stake” indicator just below the “Balance” at the upper right corner of the screen. Clicking on “Undo” at the bottom of the screen will erase the most recent bet, which clicking on “Clear” will remove all chips from the betting area. Alternatively, holding down the SHIFT key and clicking on a placed chip will remove it.

When all of the bets are right, clicking on the green “Play” button in the lower right corner will start the race. A trackside view will replace the betting display, and an announcer will begin his commentary on the race. The horses come thundering out of the stalls and down the turf, moving around the course toward the grandstands in the distance. A display at the bottom of the screen shows the order of the first three as they race, along with a marker moving left to right to show how much distance remains.

When the horses reach the finish post, a photograph of the finish is flashed up on the screen with a box indicating the player’s winning, if any. Then, the scene reverts back to the betting screen, where the race results are now recorded under “Results” on the right side of the display. The amount won shows in the “Paid” indicator below the “Balance” at the top right corner of the screen.

Among the special controls that players will find useful is the red “Auto” button at the bottom of the screen for placing the same wagers on 1 to 10 races. There is a red “Repeat” button, too, for making the same wager manually. A red “Turbo” button speeds up play, by skipping right to the photograph of the finish and bypassing the race animation. It is also possible to jump to the finish by clicking on the “Skip” button that appears at the top left of the screen during the animated race,

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