NASCAR, Daytona 500 In Pole Position For Georgia Sports Betting Future


NASCAR, Daytona 500 In Pole Position For Georgia Sports Betting Future

NASCAR enthusiasts’ excitement levels have been redlining all week, as the Daytona 500 takes place on Sunday. The Great American Race officially kicks off the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series. Just as Daytona International Speedway will be abuzz with tens of thousands of race fans, sportsbooks will be humming with fans placing wagers on the race. 

The State of Georgia will be absent in either of those electric atmospheres, as legal Georgia sports betting has not been ratified. There are two bills on the docket during the 2023 General Assembly — Senate Bill 57 and House Bill 380 — which will use the Georgia Lottery as a conduit for legalized sports betting in the state without requiring a voter-backed ballot initiative.

The legal maneuver to tether sports betting legislation to the Georgia Lottery aims to cut through the state constitution’s binds regarding gambling and should accelerate the timeline for Georgians to place legal wagers on sports. 

SB 57 & HB 380 offer a glide path to sports betting

Each bill contains specific carve-outs for sports facilities and operations in the state to receive Type 1 betting licenses, and with the recently renovated Atlanta Motor Speedway set to host the Ambetter Health 400 on March 19, it’s not too early to envision what future races will look like with legal sports betting in the fold. 

While it won’t be possible during the Daytona 500, Georgians may have the opportunity to wager on NASCAR races while in attendance at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the future.

NASCAR had the pole position on sports betting, becoming the first league to partner with the American Gaming Association in September 2020. What soon followed was robust betting visibility, with sportsbooks DraftKings and BetMGM sponsoring drivers Bubba Wallace and Richard Childress, respectively. 

NASCAR even set up a sports betting station at Dover Motor Speedway

Sports betting at Atlanta Motor Speedway?

To conclude, NASCAR has been ahead of the sports betting curve, and should Georgia enact one of the two bills currently in front of the legislature, you can bet sportsbooks will be in the mix once the Cup Series rolls into town. With a multi-year partnership in place with betting powerhouse BetMGM, NASCAR has the foundation in place to continue building out its unique corner in the sports betting arena.

Will that include wagering stations at Atlanta Motor Speedway? Perhaps down the line — but likely not with any immediate timeline. Should Georgia lawmakers get gambling legislation across the finish line, patience on the rollout would appear imperative. As a state historically averse to gambling, an ‘open-the-floodgates’ approach would not be prudent operationally. They could move forward, but it would involve a word antithetical to stock car racing: slowly.

Given the wording of each bill and the difficulty Georgia lawmakers have had passing sports betting legislation, the likeliest initial option would be a visible online sportsbook presence at NASCAR events.

Georgia’s been moving at a glacial pace with sports betting, but there’s some thaw with the two bills that have been filed in the House and Senate. Each would remove the hurdle of amending the constitution, which would mean — if passed — Georgians could soon be placing legal wagers on sports. It’s up to either legislative body to hit the checkered flag.