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NASCAR signs multi-year deal with Genius Sports

On May 3, NASCAR and Genius Sports publicized the duo's official gaming offering system, which will be their creation for gambling, in accordance to legal sportsbooks. This will then be sold to legal sportsbooks globally. Genius Sports is the source for over 150 sportsbooks worldwide, ranging in a wide variety of different sports and games. This system will show the latest odds for all the different competitors in each individual race. In auto racing, the odds can change by the second, and this is the Genius Sports' area of expertise. Ultimately, fans will be eligible to bet during live races, depending on the state.

From Sports Business Daily, post-race data will be available to consumers and gamblers in the next few months; the more extensive in-race information will not be accessible until late '19 or early '20. Anyways, NASCAR CEO Jim France desires to expand the national fanbase of the famous auto racing operating company, while encouraging safe and legal betting practices. Regarding the terms held within the contract itself, Genius Sports will automatically have access to NASCAR's data feed, which will provide the general public with inside information, concerning all 43 race cars and contestant drivers.

Lap times, both fastest and slowest, in qualifying rounds will be in effect after races. Not to mention, winners of each of the three stages will be analyzed by oddsmakers. This business move is similar to horse racing. Then, there is the 90-minute wait time to declare official winners for bettors to consider. This will anger more than a couple of handfuls of gamblers. Either way, it is still one of the most logical decisions made by NASCAR. Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke stated, "NASCAR fans are some of the most devoted in the world, and we look forward to helping them to create a deeper, more connected experience that is both safe and secure as the business of sports betting continues to evolve in the U.S." So, this move is definitely a step in the right direction, in terms of garnering more publicity for the auto racing sport.

On May 6, breaking news surfaced on NASCAR, regarding the company signing an official partnership deal with The Action Network. The Action Network is a sports betting website that shows odds for each individual game for every sport. As referenced from NASCAR's main website, NASCAR became the first sports league to pair together with The Action Network. This will help the site to attract more viewers and gamblers. On the subject of viewership and ratings, ESPN and FS1 analysts may even argue that the auto racing sport is not receiving as much attention these days. According to Forbes, Talladega generated a 2.85 national rating on Fox, with a total of 4.7 million viewers.

Apparently, this was an 18% decline in ratings and 20% drop in overall viewership. Though, these are only television ratings. Viewers could still be tuning in via Youtube or Facebook live streams. Additionally, Vernon Kirk, the director of Delaware's lottery program, noted that although legalized sports betting began on June 5, 2018, less than .1% of gamblers have betted money on auto racing. Of the $134,707,750 total of wagered money, only $129,250 was spent on auto racing. This may impact gamblers' decisions to wage money in one or all three of the major national touring series: NASCAR Xfinity Series, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

While professional football, basketball, hockey, and baseball have a larger following, make no mistake, this move will attract more gamblers to the sport. Perhaps one day, it will surpass golf or tennis. Needless to say, the drivers and team members are banned from betting on any race event. The penalties for any crewman, driver, or team owner betting on a race includes an indefinite suspension, a fine between $150,000-$200,000, and even potential termination. Having said that, any member associated with NASCAR can participate in fantasy games, but the bettors cannot acquire prize winnings over $250. Retrieved from NASCAR's gambling agreement, the terms state, "All NASCAR members have an obligation to protect the integrity of the sport. Gambling on NASCAR events by members can post a series threat to the integrity of NASCAR, its stakeholders, and the industry as a whole."

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