Motorsports have been popular in the US for many years, and their overall increase in popularity can be partly attributed to the 2020 pandemic. However, it can also be due to the continuing legalization of sports betting throughout the country and new options for betting on auto racing becoming more available. Since the activity became legal in 2018, NASCAR has led the way by accelerating its efforts to integrate sports wagering and putting it at the forefront of the betting industry in the country.
Gaining new fans and bettors is how NASCAR hopes to increase popularity without focusing on taking fans away from other popular sports. The simplicity of wagering on auto racing is another method to attract new bettors as they don't have to concern themselves with complicated things like point spread betting. In addition, more people betting gives the sport more interested observers who could turn into hardcore fans in the future.
Not Letting Off the Gas
NASCAR is pushing ahead to gain a more significant share of the sports betting market. The circuit accounted for about one percent of the total sports betting handled in the U.S. in 2020, which more than doubled to 2.5% in 2021. Although that may not seem like a lot, the potential for a major increase in growth will lead to more wagering.
NASCAR also has made deals with suppliers of gambling content to help bettors analyze their bets. They also formed partnerships with major sports betting providers such as BetMGM to push fans to open mobile betting accounts. NASCAR sees this as more of a fan engagement strategy rather than a money-making tool and is using sports betting to grow the sport's base.
The circuit has a lot of work to do, as the latest numbers for the first quarter of 2022 saw just a slight increase in NASCAR wagering. This may not seem encouraging, but NASCAR betting has improved every year since the legalization of sports betting in 2018, mainly due to its national TV coverage. Sporting events that are televised always draw more wagers than others.
Adding a Second Screen
Like any other sport, some NASCAR fans are opposed to sports betting due to their personal beliefs. However, they don't want to risk alienating those fans and are taking a different approach outside the standard means of broadcasting events. They are working with their broadcast partners to potentially put cameras in each car so the individual drivers will have an option for a second screen for fans to view if they like.
They are also hoping the introduction of the "Next Gen" cars in 2022 will help enhance the second screen experience while at the same time driving betting on vehicle manufacturers, which is one of the wagering options offered.
NASCAR is also working to keep up with innovations in technology. For example, thousands of fans are now streaming live video using stadium wi-fi while at the racetrack. In addition, they recently made a deal with BettorView, which will install betting kiosks at NASCAR-owned venues and allow bettors without mobile access to bet on-site.
The sport has also been getting a big lift from in-race betting. According to NASCAR sports betting manager Joe Solosky, some betting operators took almost as many wagers on Daytona 500 last year as they did on all of NASCAR in 2020.
NASCAR hopes to gain a more significant share of the sports betting handle by continuing to grow and improve its in-race betting model. In-game betting is the trend of the future in sports betting and continues to grow in all sports markets.
The sports betting industry has still not explored the full potential of NASCAR, but if it keeps growing as expected, the industry will have no choice but to pay attention. Betting has been proven to entice fans to increase their sports engagement.