NASCAR takes sports betting international with IMG Arena deal

NASCAR awarded an international sportsbook operator livestreaming rights for the first time in its history.

NASCAR expanded its presence in the sports betting industry Wednesday, inking a deal with London-based IMG Arena that allows international sportsbook operators to livestream races for the first time.

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In addition to livestreaming rights, IMG Arena gains a license to use NASCAR imagery in a sports betting game that recreates some of racing’s most famous tracks, including the Daytona International Speedway. IMG Arena operates similar virtual products in other sports, such as tennis and horse racing.

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“IMG Arena is the leading partner for global sports and entertainment media. We are excited to work together to provide a global audience the ability to engage with our sport virtually and in real-time,” said Scott Warfield, NASCAR’s managing director of gaming. “The international sports gaming landscape is mature and vibrant, and this partnership allows us to offer compelling products that further enhance our international footprint.”

IMG Arena operates more than 460 sportsbooks around the world. The gambling operator’s offerings include 24/7 livestreams as well as its array of virtual games.

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The deal comes months after NASCAR named casino chain Penn National Gaming its first licensed U.S. sports betting operator. Penn National gained nonexclusive rights to host NASCAR betting at its 18 sportsbooks and forthcoming betting app.

NASCAR became one of the first U.S. sports leagues to resume last Sunday, holding its first race in two months. The stock car circuit and other sports were forced to shut down in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Held at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, the Real Heroes 400 drew an average audience of 6.3 million viewers on Fox. It was the most-watched NASCAR race since 2017, including the Daytona 500.

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