Formula 1 is making a return to Las Vegas after a more than 40-year hiatus and gambling operators are looking to cash in.
Las Vegas is preparing to host one of the most anticipated weekends in sports in the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, which takes place between Nov. 16 and 19. The race, which was first announced in March 2022, is one of three American races on the F1 calendar this season.
F1 is taking over Las Vegas as interest in motorsports grows for sports fans and bettors.
"We are forecasting that this race weekend in Las Vegas is easily going to shatter every company record for the sport," BetMGM's chief revenue officer Matt Prevost said this week. "While popularity for automotive sports in the U.S. continues to grow, we believe the activity we are seeing so far around this Las Vegas race is going to take it to a whole new level."
The Grand Prix provides sportsbooks with a unique opportunity to capitalize on a niche market.
"The motorsport handle has been growing and growing over the last few years,” Caesars Entertainment assistant director of trading Adam Pullen told Covers. "It’s definitely something we’ve seen with F1, especially now with three races in the U.S. compared to a few years ago."
The current F1 season has already made previous U.S. stops in Austin, Texas for the United States Grand Prix, and Florida for the Miami Grand Prix. The 2023 campaign has already seen Red Bull driver Max Verstappen clinch his third FIA Formula One World Drivers Championship.
The outlook of the season has provided gambling operators with the responsibility to provide consumers with a variety of betting markets to engage both professional and casual bettors.
Caesars Sportsbooks, which has a U.S. market share of roughly 6%, is offering betting markets that include the fastest lap, the appearance of a safety car, and winning constructor. The retail and online operator is also offering markets related to winning margins and same-game parlays.
Operators across America, including Caesars, are hoping for a win by Verstappen who has emerged as a heavy favorite. The 26-year-old is a -225 favorite on Caesars to win the Las Vegas Grand Prix with the next closest driver — McLaren’s Lando Norris — a +750 underdog. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has the third-best odds to win the race at +1200, while fan-favorite Lewis Hamilton, who drives for Mercedes AMG Petronas, has the fourth-best odds at +1400.
The favorable odds for underdogs have led to a slew of casual bettors hoping for an upset win.
“Whenever you have an event with a prohibitive favorite, in this case Verstappen, the public is going to want to bet where they get more bang for their buck,” Pullen said. “There will be betting on Verstappen but the general public wants to take someone with a decent return.”
The weekend-long Grand Prix event will kick off on Thursday with a round of practice. The schedule also includes two other opportunities for teams and drivers to practice on Nov. 17.
Qualifying will take place on Saturday with the highly-anticipated Las Vegas race on Nov. 19.