Written By: Kayla Sherrell
NASCAR track promoters across the United States are waiting in anticipation to see how the impact of the new regulations and legalization of sports betting will be reflected in the iconic American sport. Everyone involved in the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – from promoters, drivers, and crew to the millions of loyal fans – are hopeful that legal sports wagering will provide a much-needed boost to NASCAR’s dwindling fan base. Legal gambling will give spectators a new reason to come to the tracks, and hopefully breath new life into one of America’s favorite past times.
Legalization of Sports Gambling
In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on May 14th which sanctioned states to choose whether or not to permit sports wagering of any kind in their territories, the sports betting scene was drastically altered. The Supreme Court definitively catalyzed this change in scenery by overturning a law that had previously barred the majority of states from permitting the legal wagering on sports.
Many states – including Delaware, Mississippi, and West Virginia – have leapt on the opportunity to endorse full-scale sports betting. This is giving rise to a nationwide competitive industry for sports wagering, and NASCAR wants to make sure it gets in on the action.
NASCAR Maneuvers Toward New Gambling Laws
NASCAR and other sports organizations are reacting to the change in law by putting their own touch-and-go regulations into place, anticipating that sports betting will soon become a very popular recreation. Steve Phelps, the recently-appointed President of NASCAR, announced that the series will be implementing new guidelines concerning sports betting in the rulebook in 2019. He indicated that some rules will be put in place for sponsorship, and may include policies such as barring driver and other team members from betting on NASCAR races.
Despite these restrictions, NASCAR has made some early maneuvers towards embracing sports betting. This includes a prototype program at the Dover International Speedway, which recently opened up an on-site betting kiosk. Dover International Speedway has now become the first and only track to allow sports gambling to take place on its property – and, for the first time, NASCAR fans could legally place bets on the races at a trackside kiosk.
What Does Legal Gambling Mean for NASCAR?
So far, things are looking up for NASCAR due to the legalization of sports betting. The opening of the Dover International Speedway kiosk was reported as a success, with a crowed of fans and gamblers lining up at the kiosk hours before the race.
NASCAR doesn’t just offer spectators the opportunity to bet on their favorite driver to win. To add a new element of excitement, NASCAR’s pilot program allows wagering on who’s going to win, who will win the first or separate segments, or one-on-one bets such as betting between drivers. And to nobody’s surprise, people loved it. Gamblers took advantage of NASCAR’s strategic gambling model and placed bets on more than just the expected winners of the overall race.
The legalization of sports wagering has the potential of retaining fleeting NASCAR fans and attracting new spectators that enjoy gambling. Sports betting will bring new comers to the track, whether they are fans or sponsors, and give them a reason to invest in the sport. But, most importantly, it offers up the opportunity for NASCAR to breathe new life into a classic American sport.