Show Me the Money: Sports Betting Could Change NASCAR

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier

You may have heard the news that came down the pipeline on Monday that New Jersey won a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court that could lead to many U.S. states legalizing sports gambling. The ruling could open up sports gambling all across the United States and very likely change the way many people look at sports altogether.

But what kind of effect will this have on NASCAR? Let’s examine some of the factors that should come into play with legalized sports betting making it’s way to NASCAR.

For starters, this could lead to a spike in television viewers.

According to a Nielsen Sports study made available in September 2016, those gambling on sports made up 25 per cent of the NFL’s television audience in 2015, and accounted for 47 per cent of all minutes viewed. Those betting on sports watch twice as much sports coverage as regular viewers as well. If it becomes easier to bet on sports then there should be a large uptick in viewers across the board. NASCAR has been in a ratings decline for years, but sports betting could bring more eyes to the screen hoping their bet pays off.

It’s not easy to be a sports gambler in 2018 as it stands.

Although there was nearly $5 billion bet on sports in Nevada last year, there was an estimated $100 billion bet through illegal channels such as bookies and offshore sports books. When it becomes legal in far more places across the country, it’s estimated to spike interest in sports all across the board. Your regular ‘Joe’ who likes to drop an occasional $20 bet on his favorite college team to cover the spread will now be able to do it and have full recourse through gaming regulators that’s not currently found in the underground markets.

NASCAR could really benefit from legalized sports gambling. Imagine being at a race with hundreds of different bets you could make on the event. Now, instead of just rooting on your favorite drivers, you have a vested interest in other events and happenings over the course of the race. There would be countless betting options to choose from. It could be very much like horse racing in that you could bet on the top finishers in many different bet types.

Perhaps stage betting would also be very popular where you could place bets for each stage of the event from your smartphone between stages. There likely would be over/under bets on the amount of cautions in a race, the number of lead changes, and even bets on how many cars will be involved in “the big one” at Talladega or Daytona. There are hundreds of bet types that could occur during each NASCAR event. If you had $20 riding on a trifecta in Stage 2 of a random race that paid out $1,500, your potential win could make you more invested in that stage itself and the race in general.

NASCAR as well as the charter teams could also benefit from sports gambling. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise, said the value of sports franchises doubled instantly with that Supreme Court ruling on Monday. That may be a little overstated but the fact remains that legalized sports gambling is a game changer for all sports across the United States. NASCAR has been looking for a spark for the past several years and this could really bring more viewers to the sport.

What do you think of sports gambling in NASCAR? Will it help bring in new viewers? Would you be willing to do a little recreational betting on NASCAR at the track during a race weekend?

**The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher, management or staff. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c) **