PASPA’s demise earlier this year is raising hopes for sporting events around the US. The possibility of betting on their favorite cars and drivers is exciting NASCAR fans as well. Fans at the Dover International Speedway got a taste of “Sports Betting: Vegas Style,” as a banner at the venue proclaimed this Sunday.
The 400-mile race, fondly known as the “Monster Mile” is one of stock-car racing’s most prized possessions. Fans started lining up for betting two hours before the Gander Outdoors 400 race began. The event allowed them to bet on the driver whom they think will win the first two stages of the race, i.e., Lap 120 and Lap 240. Prop bets were also allowed for the race- including the number of caution flags to be shown during the race, number of lead changes and the number of drivers to finish on the lead lap.
Senior director of horse racing and sports betting for Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, an adjacent property of the oval mile was available to answer fans’ questions about betting. The experiment is driving up the hopes of NASCAR, which is planning to join the list of top sporting events like NFL to court sports betting and reviving fan interest in a unique and exciting new way.
The historic 14th May decision by the US Supreme Court that allows sports betting in states led to New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Mississippi pass laws quickly to allowed full-fledged sports wagering. NASCAR tracks across the US are now hoping that suitable regulation will allow them renewed fan interest and better revenues. With the retirement of popular drivers- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart, the sport’s fan base has declined steadily.
Sports Betting to Connect With NASCAR Fans?
Sports betting will give a chance to fans to connect with stock car races emotionally. It will also help in providing adequate leverage to emerging drivers like Bubba Wallace, Austin Dillion, and Ryan Blaney. Chris Powell, president of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, called legal sports wagering “manna for heaven.” In tough times, it could be NASCAR’s saving grace.
Legal sports betting will also give NASCAR a chance to appear attractive to millennials, a generating that has become their target audience, whether they like it or not. Online wagering would specifically be helpful in connecting with this audience as it introduces financial investment as well as the thrills of the game to the users. A renewed target demographic could also change sponsorship for team and tracks. With conventional corporate sponsorship diminishing and low TV ratings, this is NASCAR’s chance at redemption.