Legalized betting apps should be NASCAR’s route to growing fan interest


Attendance at live events used to be the barometer of a sport’s popularity in an era when baseball, boxing and thoroughbred racing reigned supreme. More recently, television ratings have become the yardstick, and the NFL has dominated.

Now, however, it might be worth looking at it from another perspective, where NASCAR is currently not doing well but has plenty of room to grow.

For the first time, betting $20 on Kyle Larson at odds of 9 to 2 is as easy as it used to be to pick the Dallas Cowboys to cover the spread at home. The amount of money wagered by fans could be the new way of measuring popularity.

A new car and a new opportunity for NASCAR

Brad Keselowski, driver of the #6 Ford, and Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 Toyota drive during the NASCAR Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2022. | Jared C Tilton/Getty Images

Alex Bowman was an 18-to-1 bet to win the Pennzoil 400 in the NASCAR Cup Series a week ago. Since the race took place in Las Vegas, finding a legit sportsbook for the race was not a problem.

But it’s now easy for bettors in many cities and states alike, whether they’re professional gamblers or just fans, to bet money on a driver. The proliferation of casinos has set the stage for the opening of sports betting, and now betting through mobile apps is a reality in numerous states.

This goes hand in hand with an expanded selection of offers, after decades of neighborhood bookmakers only becoming active in the “big four” sports and horse racing.

“When sports betting was legalized, people were already betting on the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, whether it was through their local bookie, offshore, or any type of illegal way they were betting,” said NASCAR sportsbook executive Joe Solosky Fox sports. “People weren’t really betting on NASCAR because those offshore books or the bookies weren’t offering odds on it.

“So we were a little bit behind the curve at NASCAR in the sense that the bookies weren’t as enthusiastic about working with us because the handle count was so low.”

According to the Fox Sports story, NASCAR accounted for a tiny 0.1% of betting volume in 2020, but the number rose to 0.25% last year. While that remains tiny, there is potential for explosive growth; More betting opportunities will generate interest in the sport and interest in the sport will lead to more betting.

NASCAR is increasing its presence in legal betting

Pro sports leagues that have introduced wagering at their competitions mostly follow the same schedule, and it’s one that NASCAR sportsbook executive Joe Solosky says his sport has taken four years to introduce. It requires alliances with multiple partners.

First, NASCAR has asked Sportradar for help on two fronts: distributing live timing and scoring data to media partners like The Associated Press for public access, and ensuring integrity. Sportradar monitors betting patterns and looks for suspicious bets that might indicate someone is acting on inside information. It also assists leagues in conducting educational programs for athletes and staff.

Next, NASCAR joined forces with BetMGM, WynnBet and other sportsbooks to cross-market. NASCAR is urging fans to sign up for mobile betting where permitted, and the sportsbook is highlighting the latest developments in racing. Genius Sports formats and distributes NASCAR’s live timing and scoring so sports bettors can determine if bets are winning or losing.

Eventually, NASCAR closed deals with providers of gaming-related content such as The Action Networkwhich offers weather analysis of straight and proposition bets, e.g. B. whether Aric Almirola or Brad Keselowski will achieve the better result in a race.

Sports betting is a fast moving industry

Innovations in technology are constantly being added. Wi-Fi in the stadium was scarce 15 years ago, but thousands of fans are now streaming live video simultaneously from the same place. Now ATMs become electronic companies; Fox Sports reports that NASCAR has contracted with BettorView to install touchscreens on NASCAR-owned tracks to enable on-site betting for those without mobile access.

NASCAR could probably make one big deal a month based on pitches coming in.

“We’re being bombarded with requests from suppliers and operators to work with us,” said Sportsbook CEO Joe Solosky. “And we only have the bandwidth for so many things. So we want to make sure we’re thinking about the best ideas and what fits into our strategy.”

Meanwhile, state governments are increasing the pool of potential bettors. More than half of states now allow it, according to The Action Network personal or mobile betting.

How to get help: In the US, contact the National Problem Gambling Council Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.

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