The inaugural Formula 1 race in Las Vegas made history not only as a groundbreaking event for the sport but also as the catalyst for an unprecedented amount of sports betting activity. Data from top online sportsbook DraftKings revealed that the Grand Prix weekend saw an extraordinary surge in the number of bets and the amount of money being put on the line, surpassing even the famous 2021 Grand Prix de Belgique at Spa-Francorchamps.
The magnitude of the gambling frenzy was so significant that it outpaced the betting activity seen during the Daytona 500, catching the attention of not only DraftKings but also other major operators such as Caesars SportsBook and BetMGM. BetMGM, in particular, reported a substantial increase in betting, fueled by a $200,000 bet on eventual race winner Max Verstappen, which resulted in a remarkable $100,000 payout.
The success of the Las Vegas Grand Prix has cemented Formula 1’s position as a major player in the world of sports betting, especially in the United States. Despite being perceived as a second-tier sport compared to popular American sports like football, basketball, and baseball, F1 has experienced a surge in popularity among local gamblers. Data from DraftKings revealed that nine of the top ten F1 races for betting activity in the current season occurred in the last two years, signaling a growing interest in the sport.
Looking ahead, the 2023 F1 season, which includes races in Austin, Miami, and Las Vegas, is expected to further bolster this trend, with the latter two cities serving as gambling hubs. Chuck Esposito, the sportsbook director at Red Rock resort, expressed his belief that the vibrancy surrounding sports betting in F1 will continue to grow over time, highlighting the increasing enthusiasm for the sport both as a spectator and as a betting opportunity.
It is worth noting that despite not having a license to accept wagers locally or remotely, DraftKings and its competitor FanDuel were able to drive a massive rush of betting activities during the Las Vegas Grand Prix, primarily attracting international clients from Nevada and beyond. This international interest demonstrates the growing intersection of sports and entertainment in today’s world, underscoring the global appeal of Formula 1 as both a sporting event and a betting spectacle.