Gambling on NASCAR: Dover Speedway offers onsite betting

DOVER — Kyle Busch or Kevin Harvick to win at 3 to 1, perhaps?

How about wagering $10 on Kasey Kahne? If he takes the checkered flag you rake in $5,000 in probably the best Monster Mile visit ever.

If not, what’s 10 bucks anyway, right? It was worth a shot, wasn’t it?

Today, NASCAR fans have an opportunity that’s unique to Dover International Speedway — wagering on the race in front of them and watching the results roll in, literally.

A Delaware Sports Lottery terminal near the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza will be open to take bets on the Gander Outdoors 400, NFL games and a multitude of other offerings.

Delaware Lottery Director Vernon Kirk described it as “Another first for Delaware and the Delaware Lottery.”

Speedway officials have been planning for this day since right after the First State launched sports betting in early June.

“We were quick to be thinking how we can leverage this on race weekend,” said Gary Camp, DIS Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications.

A couple studies the odds.

“A key part of it was letting fans know how easy it is to place a wager, extend the hours they are available and explain how they can cash in a winning ticket, from at the speedway to mailing it in by following instructions on the back of the ticket to redeeming it in at a participating sports book.”

While avid race fans will enjoy the experience regardless, speedway officials hope that the less passionate may find a new reason to pay closer attention.

“It may add to the enjoyment of the folks who aren’t possibly as interested or don’t go into the weeds of specific data,” Mr. Camp said. “They might not have a favorite driver but could find one if a successful wager comes in.”

And it’s unique to Dover’s speedway right now.

“It’s something that no other track has been able yet to do — provide opportunity to get out of your car, stroll through the Fan Zone, place a wager on, say, Jimmie Johnson and (go to your seat to see how it turns out),” Mr. Camp said.

“There’s nothing like that anywhere else. Vegas is Vegas, but the wagering isn’t taken inside the track like it is here.”

Bets will be taken today from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and were scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

According to Mr. Kirk, about $5,000 on average has been wagered during NASCAR race weekends, amounting to about $53,300 of the overall $37.06 million bet on all non-parlay sports cards since June 5. That’s a minuscule .14 percent of the action, but more is expected now.

“The Lottery will have a fully staffed booth near the Monster Monument selling all lottery products, including college and pro football parlay cards,” Mr. Kirk said. “Dover Downs will have one full-service sportsbetting terminal right next to us selling all sports, including all NASCAR wagers.”

Many wagers available

This week, Delaware Lottery’s risk manager for sports betting William Hill put odds on so-called proposition bets such as top five finishers, head to head matchups, first and second stage finishers, lap leaders, lead changes, average speed and more.

Odds are always subject to change based on how the risk manager evaluates money coming in.

“It just adds an element of interest to keep people tuned in to what’s going on,” Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn said, according to the Associated Press.

According to the AP, Ryan Blaney, who won last week’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, said he wouldn’t tell his friends to bet on him to win today’s playoff race. At 20-1 to win at Dover, that’s probably good advice.

“If I lose them money, I’m going to feel bad,” he said. “I’ll be watching the window that weekend. I’ll have to ask if people are constantly betting throughout the race. If you have people who really like to gamble and want to get into a new form of it, maybe they’ll come out and give it a shot. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s a cool little deal that they’re allowing in that state.”

Said Mr. McGlynn in an AP story, “We don’t anticipate a huge movement from a revenue standpoint for the gaming company.

“What we’re hoping for is, just the ability to broaden the field of wagering on sports to include NASCAR will somehow increase the interest in it.”

Mr. McGlynn said sports betting won’t save NASCAR but it could be part of the cure for a sport impacted by sagging ratings, dwindling attendance and longtime sponsors pulling out of the series.

“It doesn’t replace having a Tiger Woods for the sport,” he added.

The AP reported that NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan raised eyebrows in NASCAR when he placed a bet on himself in Las Vegas to win the 2004 Daytona 500. Gaughan didn’t get in any trouble, but the potential for thorny situations could arise without a gambling policy.

Signs are posted in baseball clubhouses and most sports locker rooms warning of the severe consequences of betting on sports. NASCAR teams could make their own gambling policies, especially as more states plan to legalize sports betting. Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s most aggressive gambling states, which appears weeks away from becoming the sixth state with sports betting

“I’m not sure I’m ready to bet on a NASCAR race,” team owner Roger Penske said in an AP story.

Mr. McGlynn said NASCAR has been “pretty quiet. I don’t necessarily know how to read that.”

Also, he said, “There’s been no guidelines related to auto racing. Right now, there are no rules that I’m aware of about what competitors can and can’t do. I think it would be smart for the competitors not to engage in it. But I’ve not had any dialogue with NASCAR along those lines.”

NASCAR declined comment to the AP this week and referred to a statement from earlier this year that said it will, “continue to monitor what the (Supreme Court) ruling will mean for individual states and our sport.”

NASCAR at some point will likely partner with a task force to monitor integrity within the sport and perhaps write guidelines for the rulebook, the AP said.

Mr. McGlynn said he’s not sure he’ll bet, but if he does, he’s going with 2012 Dover winner Brad Keselowski.

“If you win, remember where you got that tip,” he said.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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