Like every other sport in the US, NASCAR is frozen because of the coronavirus outbreak. But its fans are enjoying an outlet in the form of esports, and now bettors can get in on the action after the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) approved wagering on the iRacing.com Pro Invitational Series.
The eNASCAR iRacing.com Pro Invitational Series pits real drivers against each other on virtual versions of the stock car association’s tracks. For example, this week’s tilt will be at a digitized replica of Bristol Motor Speedway, NASCAR’s most famous short track.
The NGCB signing off on eNASCAR wagers is the latest sign the commission is embracing esports at a time when all traditional athletic competitions and leagues are shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Approval is granted for all licensed books to post and accept wagers on the winner, as well as matchups between drivers, of the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series,” according to an NGCB document obtained by Casino.org.
Nevada sportsbooks accepting eNASCAR bets must make gamblers aware of the rules associated with these competitions, and that the equipment used by drivers isn’t uniform or regulated. For example, defending Monster Energy NASCAR Champion Kyle Busch and two-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin compete in the iRacing league with tens of thousands worth of gear, while other driver setups are more modest.
For bettors outside of the Silver State, there’s a new way to get some action on eNASCAR, as Penn National Gaming is rolling out new fantasy and prop betting offerings on the eNASCAR iRacing.com Pro Invitational Series on its Finish Line mobile application.
The Finish Line app debuted at the start of the traditional NASCAR season, with Penn National becoming the stock car league’s official gaming partner.
The move to eNASCAR bets and props is an avenue to leverage the Barstool Sports brand, which Penn acquired a 36 percent stake in earlier this year.
“During this time of uncertainty, eNASCAR has provided sports fans around the world with an exciting form of sports entertainment that is helping restore some normalcy to the weekend,” said Scott Warfield, NASCAR managing director of gaming, in a statement. “Now, courtesy of our partners at Penn Interactive, fans can foster an even deeper connection with the new series and have even more incentive to tune into eNASCAR on FOX and FS1.”
The Finish Line eNASCAR offering goes into effect this weekend, is free and gives participants a chance to win “a $5,000 jackpot by accurately predicting the top two finishers and the highest finishers across six different groupings of four drivers,” according to the statement.
Penn is showing its commitment to esports, serving as the title sponsor for the virtual race at Dover International Speedway on May 3, the date through which NASCAR races are postponed.
Series officials said they hope to be running again on May 9 in Martinsville, Va.