weather icon Clear

Caesars breaks Formula One betting record on Las Vegas Grand Prix

The vast majority of money wagered on the Las Vegas Grand Prix is expected to pour into sportsbooks Friday and Saturday, when the Formula One race is scheduled for 10 p.m. on the Strip.

But Caesars Sportsbook already has reported a record betting handle, or amount of money wagered, for a Formula One race.

“We knew going into it, just because of where the race is located and its proximity to betting windows, that is was going to be a record handle for Caesars for a Formula One race,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “Although we’ve already eclipsed the record handle, auto racing is a niche sport. It’s just not heavily bet.

“The clientele that loves Formula One, they have a lot of money. It will be interesting to see how much money they’re putting down on a lot of the markets we’re offering.”

The annual NASCAR races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway generate more betting action locally than the Daytona 500, aka the Super Bowl of NASCAR. But Pullen expects the Las Vegas Grand Prix to set a record handle for any auto race.

“This is probably the most anticipated Formula One race in a long time, having the world’s best drivers and the world’s fastest cars traveling down the Strip at 200 miles per hour,” he said. “It will be a sight to see.”

BetMGM, Station Casinos and the Westgate SuperBook also are expecting record handles for the race.

“Race weekend in Las Vegas has the potential to shatter every company record for the sport,” BetMGM chief revenue officer Matt Prevost said. “Popularity for automotive sports in the U.S. continues to grow, and the activity we’re already seeing around this event is remarkable.”

Books have expanded their betting menus on the race, with a wide range of props on practice and qualifying in addition to the race itself.

“We’ve treated it like other major sporting events in Vegas,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “We put up five pages of props. We’ve never done that before.

“Any time an event is here, there seems to be a huge uptake in handle, and we’re capitalizing on it.”

Pullen said he expects the total handle to approach the amount of money wagered on some NFL games, while Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said the action on the race at his book is comparable to some college football games.

“Do I think that this is going to be our biggest Formula One handle ever? Yes, I do,” Kornegay said. “But the bar was somewhat low. Formula One has its loyal following week in and week out, and it gets some attention from bettors. But this race, because it’s being held here, it makes sense that we are going to see record numbers.

“We have expanded our betting menu and tried to be creative as much as we could to entertain all the race fans.”

Max Verstappen, who has won 17 of the 20 Formula One races this season while clinching his third straight world championship, is the -225 favorite at Caesars and BetMGM to win again. Lando Norris is the 8-1 second choice, and Charles Leclerc the 12-1 third pick. Lewis Hamilton is 20-1 at the SuperBook.

Norris is the +225 favorite to win a prop on the highest finisher besides Verstappen, and Caesars also offers a prop on Verstappen (-225) vs. the field (+175).

Hamilton leads the ticket count at BetMGM, and Norris is second.

“We’re seeing a lot of action,” MGM Resorts director of trading Lamarr Mitchell said. “Hamilton is the most popular driver right now. People are not betting Verstappen.

“We’re getting a lot of interest from small bettors, but once the big bettors arrive in town, we anticipate bigger bets.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.