NASCAR, IMG Arena Partner on Virtual Sports Betting Game, International Streaming Rights

Posted on: May 21, 2020, 08:35h. 

Last updated on: May 22, 2020, 10:02h.

NASCAR and sports betting service provider IMG Arena announced Wednesday that they were partnering to create a virtual sports betting game that would be available to operators worldwide.

NASCAR IMG Arena virtual racing
NASCAR drivers compete in an iRacing event on March 22, 2020 at a virtual Homestead Miami Speedway. (Image: Chris Graythen/Getty)

The virtual NASCAR game was created by Leap Gaming, and features re-creations of some of the most famous tracks on the circuit, including Daytona International Speedway and Watkins Glen International.

NASCAR Joins Stable of IMG Virtual Sports Games

IMG Arena already offers a selection of simulated sporting games that provide bettors with virtual action at any time. Offerings in the IMG portfolio include horse racing, soccer, tennis, and cycling. NASCAR will be the first auto racing brand to officially partner with the company.

Adding NASCAR to our client roster is a proud achievement,” IMG Arena executive vice president and managing director Freddie Longe said in a statement. “The partnership significantly bolsters our streaming and official virtual sports offering with a product that we expect to be popular in a number of different markets.”

Beyond the virtual racing, the partnership will also allow international sports betting operators the option of livestreaming NASCAR Cup Series races. This is the first time that NASCAR has been offered via stream to bookmakers outside of North America.

The deal comes as NASCAR returns to action in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. NASCAR held its first races since March over this past week, with two events at Darlington Raceway. Kevin Harvick won the Real Heroes 400 on Sunday, May 17, while Denny Hamlin took first place in the Toyota 500 on Wednesday.

For the time being, fans are not in attendance for NASCAR races. The series next stops at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday for the Coca-Cola 600.

Virtual Sports Gain Market Share During Pandemic

Virtual sports betting offers players the opportunity to wager on simulated sporting events at any time. These games can vary in complexity: while basic versions might just allow gamblers to bet on a match at particular odds and then see the result, others – like the IMG Arena NASCAR game – actually show simulated action on the screen.

Many such games offer the ability to make a number of prop bets on in-competition action or futures bets on the outcome of an entire league of games or matches. Behind the scenes, these games use random number generators to produce results at previously fixed odds that give the operator an edge, much like slot machines.

Virtual sports betting became a particularly attractive option for sportsbooks and online gambling operators during the coronavirus pandemic. Some oddsmakers went even further, using games like the Madden NFL video game series to stage simulated contests that bettors can – and do – put money down on.

“This is never going to replace real sports, but it’s something we can do for now, to give people their fix,” Ray Marino, trader for offshore sportsbook, told Sports Illustrated earlier this month. “It’s sick! We’re talking about the strengths of virtual teams right now! But this is the current landscape.”