NASCAR Approves Sports Betting, Casino Sponsorships for 2019

NASCAR Sports Betting Partnerships

The 2019 NASCAR season allows teams to sign partnerships with sportsbooks, casino companies, and other gambling groups.

The NASCAR auto racing league approved sports betting and gambling company sponsorships for the 2019 season. The decision comes roughly 4 weeks before the next NASCAR season launches with the Daytona 500.

The SportsBusiness Journal announced that the stock car racing association has informed drivers and racing teams they can accept sponsorships involved in gambling, including sports betting companies. NASCAR has not made an official announcement yet.

NASCAR is not as popular of a sports betting option as top American professional sports leagues like the NFL, Major League Baseball, and NBA.

In 2018, Nevada sportsbooks won $102.9 million from NBA basketball, $93.9 million from NFL football, and $46.6 million from MLB baseball. All other sports totaled $27.1 million in winnings.

NASCAR’s Role in Sports Betting

Those “other” sports including UFC mixed martial arts, pro boxing, MLS and EPL soccer, ATP and WTA tennis, and PGA golf. The total also included NASCAR and IndyCar auto racing, which suggests the total revenue for a sport like NASCAR might be 2% of what it is for NBA or NFL games.

Despite that fact, many NASCAR fans enjoy other US sports. Partnerships with sportsbooks are a good way for those businesses to advertise, because of the TV exposure the brand gets over a 36-week schedule.

South Point Hotel Sponsorship

NASCAR dabbled with sports betting connections last season. South Point Hotel and Casino became a sponsor for the playoff race last September. South Point Hotel is owned by Michael Gaughan, whose son, Brendan, drives in the Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR West Series. Southpoint previously has sponsored Brendan Gaughan’s car in those series.

In October, Dover International Speedway had sports betting kiosks set up at a NASCAR race. Prior to the race, the Delaware legislature approved sports betting. The kiosks were owned by Dover Downs, which is one of the three horse racing tracks and approved land-based sportsbooks in Delaware.

2019 NASCAR Sports Betting Rules

Steve Phelps, the president of NASCAR, said at the time, “I think for ’19, we’ll have some rules that we’ll put in place. For right now, there’ll be betting here. They have a kiosk here, you can bet inside.”

The Dover International Speedway was an experiment to see if sports betting went over well with a NASCAR audience. Phelps added, “We’ll study and see how that goes, but I think we’ll have some rules in place for sponsorship, for what betting looks like, and continue to see what happens in the landscape overall.”

The experiment seems to have worked. NASCAR’s president has approved sponsorships, so sportsbooks likely will have logos somewhere on the stock cars this season.

MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment Sponsorships

MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment would appear to be the leading candidates for sponsorships. MGM Resorts signed a partnership deal with Major League Baseball and a data sharing deal with the NBA.

Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment has partnership deals with seven NFL franchises and a sponsorship with the NFL league office. The two major Las Vegas casinos companies, which each run several land-based sportsbooks in Nevada, are aggressive advertisers in the gaming industry.

The impact on NASCAR audiences might be limited. Sports betting is allowed in only a handful of states — and most of those states do not have a NASCAR race track. Still, many NASCAR stops on the schedule are in states adjacent to sports betting facilities.

No Betting on NASCAR for Drivers

NASCAR appears to have only one rule that will restrict drivers, team members, and team owners. Back in the fall of 2018, Steve Phelps said the 2019 rules will ban drivers and team members from gambling on NASCAR events.

Phelps said drivers and team members could have wagered on races in 2018, but it appears that never happened. The NASCAR president said, “I imagine we’ll get there. The way the rulebook looks today, I think the teams and the drivers understand what it looks like today, and I think we’ll clarify for ’19 with more specific language in it.”

Drivers still can wager on other sports.