NASCAR is jumping into sports betting and should have its first gambling product ready for the public in September. This new sports betting platform has been in the works since May. Earlier this year, NASCAR announced a deal with Genius Sports to create new sports betting options for sportsbook operators.
This partnership will create a unique betting product for sportsbooks that would be exclusive to NASCAR. Genius Sports is using NASCAR’s official data to build this betting product to be sold to sportsbook operators in the US and around the world.
NASCAR betting just getting started
EGR North America was first to report with details on when the NASCAR/Genius sports betting product will launch. This September, NASCAR will soft launch their sports betting product for sportsbooks.
The launch will coincide with the end of the NASCAR season and beginning of the playoff races. Coincidentally the first NASCAR playoff race takes place in Las Vegas with the South Point 400.
The new NASCAR racing product will be available to sportsbooks in phases. The managing director of gaming at NASCAR told EGR they’d like to launch the product with new betting options. Some of the wagers they intend to offer include:
- Which driver leads the most laps
- Individual stage winners
- Driver and group matchups
- Opportunities surrounding lead changes
The full NASCAR/Genius racing package will launch in February 2020 at the Daytona 500. It’s expected they’ll offer more in-play wagering opportunities next year.
Free NASCAR Pick ‘Em available now
In a manner of speaking, the soft launch of NASCAR’s gambling products is already underway. NBC announced the free to play NASCAR Pick ‘Em contests on July 1. The first game was at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 race at Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR Pick ‘Em can be played on the NBC Predictor App or online at NBC Sports. The free contest has a $10,000 progressive jackpot prize. Participants who earn a perfect score will win (or split if multiple winners) the jackpot. If there are no perfect scores one week, the $10,000 jackpot rolls over to the next race, making that jackpot $20,000, then $30,000, and so on.
This new game ties back to the NASCAR legal gambling as contestants (soon to be gamblers) make selections for two categories that should be available to casinos for gambling in the near future:
- Contestants will pick the driver that will have the best finish from a group of four drivers.
- Contestants will pick which drivers will finish the race in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place – in exact order.
The full NASCAR gambling product is expected to offer these and more wagering opportunities.
NASCAR and gambling
NASCAR is hoping that gambling will help increase its popularity around the country. Last year NASCAR hit a low in TV ratings. This year some of the more popular races are seeing fewer people in attendance according to Awful Announcing.
In addition to lower TV ratings and attendance, NASCAR isn’t very popular in Nevada sportsbooks. Earlier this year Westgate Las Vegas’ sportsbook manager Ed Salmons told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that they only saw $5,200 wagered on the race that took place in May.
Salmons went on to say that the low handle on NASCAR races probably means that they won’t spend money on the new racing product. There’s no word if NASCAR will offer the new product free for the soft launch in September.
Local live events are often catalysts for gambling on niche sports. Only two of the 10 NASCAR playoff races will take place in states where bettors can legally gamble on events. Las Vegas, Nevada will host the South Point 400 on September 15 and Dover, Delaware will host the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race at Dover.
NASCAR is hoping that their sports betting arrangement will help boost engagement with the sport in person, on TV, and in the sportsbooks.