NASCAR May Be Sports Gambling’s Next Frontier

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NASCAR May Be Sports Gambling’s Next FrontierIcon Sportswire - Getty Images

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  • This year, NASCAR’s authorized gaming partners are BetMGM, WynnBET and Penn Entertainment.

  • NASCAR doesn’t receive a percentage of all bets placed.

  • Instead, NASCAR benefits from marketing deals and deals with data suppliers as does the NFL, NBA, MBL, NBA where the league supplies data to the sportsbooks.

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in 2018 that made the legalization of sports gambling a states’ rights issue, NASCAR viewed the decision as a way to grow its fan base and it appears to be working.


Joe Solosky, NASCAR’s managing director of sports betting, said betting on NASCAR was growing “faster than in any other sport.”

• Betting on this year’s Daytona 500 increased 73% over last year.

• In 2022, authorized gaming operators saw a 51.5% increase in the total amount of money wagered in NASCAR from the previous year.

• Last year, NASCAR television viewership grew 4%.

• There was an 11% increase in new fans attending races.

Solosky believes betting has increased because more people are becoming educated about the sport. Even though the majority of the bets placed are on Cup events, some are now betting on Xfinity and Craftsman Truck races. Last month during Speedweeks, about 85% of the bets placed were on the Daytona 500. The Xfinity season opener received about 10% and the Truck Series 5%.

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NASCAR brought its hauler parade down Las Vegas Blvd. earlier this week.Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

Solosky believes NASCAR betting is growing faster than the other sports because it is a “very low volume bet sport.”

“Probably about 42% of all bets placed in the United States are placed on football,” Solosky explained. “For them to grow even 20% would be huge.

“We started at a relatively low volume. So, to have the increases that we’re having year over year, I guess it’s a little easier to do with a lower denominator. Prior to 2018, NASCAR was not something people really bet on illegally or offshore. We started more at ground zero in 2018 as opposed to the other leagues that people were already betting on.”

Prior to the 2018 Supreme Court ruling, NASCAR had always shied away from gambling. When the Teamsters asked Curtis Turner to unionize the drivers in exchange for more than $800,000 that Turner wanted to pay off Charlotte Motor Speedway’s creditors in 1961, the Federation of Professional Athletes intended to bring parimutuel betting to auto racing.

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NASCAR founder and head Bill France Sr. was adamantly opposed to both—the union and parimutuel betting. In a prepared statement released in 1961 and published in the book Forty Years of Stock Car Racing, The Superspeedway Boom 1959-1964 by Greg Fielden, France stated that “organized gambling would be bad for our sport – and would spill innocent blood on our race track—I’ll fight it to the end!”

France won that battle and legalized gambling in NASCAR remained basically a non-issue even before 1992 when the federal government passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That legislation prohibited states from legalizing gambling on professional and college sports.