Formula One Embraces Sports Betting, Ends Sponsorship Ban

Race car crossing the finish line

Formula One has finally ended its ban on gambling sponsors, which was in place for more than 40 years.

Since Formula One got a new owner, its attitude toward gambling and sports betting has changed. Liberty Media is the owner of Formula One now, having taken over in June 2017 from a group of owners including former boss Bernie Ecclestone.

Chase Carey, now the Formula One chairman, is putting his mark on the organization. He has signed a $100m (£782,570) sponsorship deal with Interregional Sports Group, a sports betting group. They are ready to totally embrace sports betting.

Carey said of the move: “It’s clear that fans enjoy it. I think it makes it more interesting, more exciting.”

He has faced many gambling-related questions lately. In response, he says: “Obviously, we have responsibilities that go with it. We want to make sure it’s done in a healthy way with proper integrity tools around it. People can obviously bet on the sport today, so it is not new, but I think we can provide new and interesting ways.”

What is this partnership like?

This is an innovative sponsorship that will also be a data rights partnership.

Formula One and the Interregional Sports Group (ISG) will work together to create a betting offering for the sports. They aim to develop more ways for fans to get involved in the sport.

Sportradar, a well-known leader in global sports data management, will also be working on this project. During every race of the season, the three parties will work together to provide instant data for their new offering. It will allow for all sorts of innovative live betting markets, something which has not been achievable in the past.

ISG also now have the rights for sub-licensing the betting partnership rights with the brands they choose from across the globe. This will allow for on-screen graphics branding, virtual and physical branding trackside, and digital interrogation across the various social platforms at Formula One.

Sportradar will mainly provide its fraud detection system, something they provide for many other sports organizations, such as NBA, FIFA, and World Rugby. This will help fight any potential corruption or race fixing that may occur.

This is certainly an interesting concept, and other sports organizations will be watching closely to see how effective it is.

Other sports embracing sports betting

It seems as if 2018 is the year of sports betting. Across the world, there has been an opening up of sports betting laws. Government authorities are easing sports betting regulations and sports organizations are easing their stance on gambling sponsorships.

This trend has been particularly noticeable in the United States since May 2018, when the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting. Several states now have operating sportsbooks and many more will follow.

Many of the major sports organizations in the United States such as the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, and the NCAA fought tooth and nail to keep sports betting from being legalized, but most of them are now embracing this new sector.

NBA’s sports betting efforts

The NBA has welcomed sports betting more than the other organizations so far. The league has named MGM Resorts as its official gaming partner and has also entered into a partnership with the French National Lottery.

The NBA and MLB were pushing for the introduction of an integrity fee, which would be a percentage of each sports bet placed on one of their organization’s games or events. Despite intensive lobbying efforts, no state has yet adopted such a fee. Leagues are also looking at ways in which they can start charging sports betting operators for the use of official league data.

The NFL decided to allow teams to accept gambling sponsors for the first time. Several teams have already embraced this move.

The Dallas Cowboys were the first team to do so, partnering with the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Oklahoma. The Baltimore Ravens are partnering with the Horseshoe Biltmore. The NHL is taking a similar approach, with the New Jersey Devils one of the first teams in the league to embrace gambling sponsorship.

As the sports betting sector becomes more popular globally, the infiltration of these offerings into official league protocols will become even greater.

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