Las Vegas Grand Prix Betting Breaks Records at MGM, Caesars
The recent high octane spectacle of the Las Vegas Grand Prix was, as expected, a record-breaking weekend for Nevada retail sportsbooks, say operators.
The long-awaited race weekend got off to a slow start, with various problems and public criticisms undermining the excitement ahead of the main event.
“The highest handle for a race we usually have all year is the Daytona 500, and the F1 race tripled that,” said Caesars Entertainment Assistant Director of Trading Adam Pullen.
This level of betting intensity was mirrored by BetMGM, which declared the Las Vegas Grand Prix as their most-bet F1 event in history, taking in three times the number of bets compared to any previous race.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix bought a level of excitement to Sin City not seen outside of important football betting days.
“It was a football Sunday-esque crowd. It was kind of cool,” said Chuck Esposito of Red Rock Resorts.
“The event really was a win-win for us. Formula One, for the most part, isn’t a heavily bet sport. But it goes hand in hand with anything else that takes place here.”
Esposito’s observations highlight the broader appeal of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, transcending the traditional Formula One fan base.
Thousands of well-heeled international visitors who otherwise may not have to come to Las Vegas packed into town for the race. So much so, in fact, that the city’s prerace preparations included putting on more private jet parking.
A striking example of the high stakes involved was a $200,000 bet placed at BetMGM on heavy prerace favorite Max Verstappen.
The bettor won $100,000 back at the sportsbook’s -200 odds on the wager, showing just how favored the Dutchman was.
With Verstappen already crowned Driver’s Champion for the season well before race weekend, the concern was some bettors might avoid wagering at all as the almost nailed-on winner’s odds were so low.
However, that has turned out to not be the case.
“We took a ton of bets in play during the race. From a betting perspective, it definitely lived up to the hype. It was a record handle for any race, and the action was brisk,” said Pullen.
Verstappen Came Through
The event’s unexpected turns, including Charles Leclerc’s shifting odds with a tight finish, played into the hands of the sportsbooks.
Pullen also noted that because Verstappen’s odds were so low, the biggest losses would have been on long shot wins, as more casual bettors avoided the favorite’s low returns.
“We said early in the week we were going to need Verstappen, and he came through for us,” he said.
“The largest bets were on him. But he was still the best-case scenario for the race. People want more value for their money. They’re not going to be gung-ho to be on Verstappen laying 2-1 odds.”
Although the sportsbooks’ top man did come through in the end, the action-packed manner of Verstappen’s 18th win out of 21 races has been widely touted as a major success for spectators, the sport, and for Las Vegas.