Virtual Dogs

Published: 12/03/2013

Developed by software specialist Ash Gaming for online casinos, the fixed-odds game called “Virtual Dogs” is based on greyhound racing. It offers all the excitement of being at the track, with the advantage of races starting on demand 24/7. Every effort has been made to create a wagering experience that’s as realistic as possible, including down-to-the-wire, nail-biting action with photo finishes and plenty of betting options.

Virtual Dogs allows wagering on either a 6-dog race or an 8-dog race. Just a click of the red button on the right side of the betting display is all it takes to “Switch” between the two race formats. The names of the dogs, along with their trap numbers and colours, are displayed on the left side of the screen for 6-dog races and at the top of the screen for the 8-dog versions.

Many of the dogs featured in the game have whimsical names, such as “Dog Breath,” “Flaming Fido” or “Barking Mad,” but no matter what names they bear, the odds remain the same for the dogs by trap number, with #1 always the favourite, #2 tipped second, etc. In fact, the fixed odds truly are set in stone. In the 6-dog race, the #1 dog has odds of 2/1, the #2 dog has 3/1, #3 has 4/1, #4 has 6/1, #5 has 9/1 and #6 has 14/1.

To bet on a dog “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 dog’s name or number, the odds for the wager are displayed in an adjacent indicator. Clicking on “To 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 dog to “Place.” In the 6-dog race, that means the selected canine must finish either first or second. In the 8-dog race, Place means 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 dog’s name.

A full range of forecast bets are also available when playing Virtual Dogs. That 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 8/1 in the 6-dog race and 16/1 in the 8-dog race. The highest odds are 230/1 for #8-#7 in the 8-dog version.

As bets are considered, each wager is confirmed in a message display at the top of the screen. For example, “Click to place bets on Dog 2 to ‘Place’ in 1st, 2nd or 3rd (1/5 win odds).” As soon as the 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.

When 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, the starting bell will ring, the rabbit will shoot out from the lower left corner and the trap doors will open to release the dogs. Crowd noise and the voice of an announcer in the background all but drown out the thud of paws on dirt as the dogs gallop around the track. 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 dogs reach the finish line, a photo 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 “Previous 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 or for making it “Double” after the bet has been set. And a red “Turbo” button really speeds up play, by skipping right to the photo of the finish and bypassing the race animation.

Published on: 12/03/2013

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