Although Formula 1’s owners, Liberty Media, do not want to get into the gambling business, they have recently struck a sponsorship and rights deal with the Interregional Sports Group, which will negotiate and organise partnership rights to regulated betting brands.
Whether or not these agreements will see full on sports betting available trackside, a la bookies at the (horse) races, at future grands prix is yet to be seen, but the building blocks are being put into place.
These agreements will probably include trackside signage, on screen images, and online integration with F1’s social media platforms. And all of the betting activity will be monitored by Sportsradar, a Swiss-based data-analysis firm, which provides safety and integrity systems to monitor the gambling. The firm says it has a “Fraud Detection System” which is currently used by many of the world’s leading sports rights holders involved in gambling.
Not to be outdone by their single seat competition, NASCAR, has just taken a calculated gamble that by introducing live on-track legal sports betting will allow the sanctioning body to further engage its existing audience and also attract new fans and commercial partners to the currently embattled racing series which operates countrywide at various regional and national levels.
And last weekend Dover International Speedway, located in the eastern US state of Delaware, became the first venue on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to offer sports betting on at the track!
As well as bets on who would win Sunday's race, odds were offered on various lines such as the number of drivers on the lead lap at the finish (12½) and the most laps led by any driver (188½).
This new approach to fan appeasement has come about after NASCAR has continued to suffer declining TV ratings, audiences and commercial interest in recent years, and sports betting – NASCAR hopes – could open the door to new revenues.
"From a sponsorship standpoint, I think sponsorship will definitely [bring] betting houses and different opportunities in sports betting," NASCAR president Steve Phelps said last Sunday. "They’ll gravitate to NASCAR as most sponsors do because of the return on the investment they can get because of the visibility that it has.”
As of time of writing this story, no official figures or trends had been released by NASCAR as to the betting volume or the take-up of the services by race fans at Dover.