Dover races to get out front
Dover International Speedway’s fall NASCAR weekend this year could become the first event by a major American sports league to offer at-venue gambling on events held there.
The Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, which is on the same grounds — and has common leadership — as the track, wants to add NASCAR to its sportsbook in the coming months if Delaware legalizes such wagering. Delaware Gov. John Carney said last week that full-scale sports gaming could be available at Delaware’s casinos before the end of June.
Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs, said that while there’s still much to be sorted out, he’s hopeful the company can pull off something it’s been trying to do for a decade and get NASCAR on the book before the October race weekend. “Given no opposition, we could certainly do it; it’s not logistically impossible at all,” he said.
Currently, Dover only offers three-game parlays on NFL games.
McGlynn said the track wants to make sure that NASCAR is open to the plan. So far, NASCAR has only issued a statement indicating it would review its options but had not yet taken a position.
“Without representing anything on behalf of NASCAR, my feeling is they would be open to it,” McGlynn said, adding, “The sport and really every sport is looking for a younger, energized audience and I can’t think of a better tool in the box to employ than something like this.”
NASCAR already hosts race weekends in Las Vegas, where casinos on The Strip offer betting on the sport. While there are no casinos on site at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, fans can bet using mobile devices.
Whether betting on NASCAR could spread to other tracks was unclear. Kansas Speedway, which is owned by International Speedway Corp., has a Hollywood Casino location on its grounds, which is co-owned by ISC, but the casino doesn’t offer sports betting.
“It does have the possibility or potential to really help draw additional interest to the sport,” McGlynn said. “When you have a betting interest involved, it has the potential to really increase both the experience on site and also once it gets mobile at home it’ll help rejuvenate TV ratings a little bit. I see it from the sports industry’s standpoint as an overall positive for sure.”