Martin Truex Jr. took the checkered flag at Richmond on Saturday night, and for some fans, that was a profitable event.
Virginia is wrapping up its first year of legalized betting, and the Federated Auto Parts 400 was one of the events on which fans could bet while attending.
The race also marked the public debut of the WynnBet lounge. WynnBet, the sports betting arm of the Las Vegas casino, signed a deal to become an official partner of Virginia’s two NASCAR tracks, Richmond and Martinsville.
Bobby Amerine, senior vice president of strategic partnerships for WynnBet, said it’s a natural connection.
“NASCAR fans are very loyal and very dedicated,” Amerine said. “And so we’re excited to tap into that base of enthusiasm. I think NASCAR is naturally well-positioned for betting opportunities.”
He noted the varieties of ways that fans can bet on a race, including winners, top-10 finishes, driver head-to-head matchups and standings by manufacturer.
“We worked with NASCAR to develop WynnBet-branded lounges at each of those tracks that we can use for hospitality and VIP experiences for patrons of WynnBet and NASCAR fans generally who want to engage with us on location,” Amerine said.
The suites are designed to resemble the Wynn casinos, with high-end furnishings and food.
Under Virginia law, the lounge can’t take cash bets, but company representatives were there to help patrons bet on their mobile devices, as well as TV screens showing current odds and win probabilities.
Joe Solosky, NASCAR’s managing director of sports betting, said the circuit won’t look to force betting on consumers, but noted the potential to bring in new fans.
“Maybe they’re really big into sports betting, but haven’t been huge into NASCAR,” he said. “But they’ll attend the race because they have the sports betting experience. And we feel that our sport is so experiential that once you attend a race, you’ll become a fan.”
Truex’s win wasn’t a surprise — he was the favorite, with 4-to-1 odds, but that was only the beginning for fans and NASCAR as they enter the newly legalized world of sports betting.