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Las Vegas Grand Prix shatters betting records at sportsbooks

Updated November 20, 2023 - 7:12 pm

The betting action on the Las Vegas Grand Prix was almost as fast and furious as the Formula One race itself.

Caesars Sportsbook shattered its record betting handle, or amount of money wagered, on any auto race, and BetMGM, Station Casinos and the Westgate SuperBook reported record handles for an F1 race.

“It was three times Daytona’s numbers,” Caesars vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said, referencing the Daytona 500, aka the Super Bowl of NASCAR. “It was well over seven figures.”

The largest reported wager was from a BetMGM bettor who put down $200,000 to win $100,000 on Max Verstappen at -200 to win Saturday night’s race on the Strip. The gambler cashed the ticket when the Dutch driver came from behind to deliver his 18th win in 21 F1 races this season.

“The Las Vegas Grand Prix was the most bet F1 event in BetMGM’s history,” BetMGM trading manager Seamus Magee said. “The sportsbook took three times the number of bets on the race than any previous contest.”

Verstappen opened as a -350 favorite at BetMGM to win the race and closed at -185. Charles Leclerc opened at 22-1 and closed at +175 after his odds dropped dramatically when he won the pole.

Leclerc placed second, as books avoided large payouts on long shots and won on the race.

“We did well to it overall, especially with Verstappen and Leclerc finishing 1-2,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “We saw a lot more action on drivers with longer odds just because of the value in 200-1 and 300-1 odds.

“It clearly produced the largest Formula One handle we’ve ever seen. It was a product of being here and all the hype surrounding it.”

Esposito said the Red Rock sportsbook was packed with people who turned out to watch the race from 10 p.m. Saturday to early Sunday.

“It was a football Sunday-esque crowd. It was kind of cool. The event really was a win-win for us,” he said. “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.

“Whether it’s a big prize fight or UFC fight or the Aces, Raiders, Knights, Rebels or NASCAR, they produce huge handles, and this was no different.”

The SuperBook also won on the race.

“We were a small winner. Nobody really wanted to play the favorite or lay the price on the favorite,” SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “Once the race started, we really needed Max to win, and he did, once again.”

The biggest bets at Caesars were on Verstappen, but the vast majority of wagers were on the long shots.

“We said early in the week we were going to need Verstappen, and he came through for us,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen 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.”

Caesars also took a large live wager on Leclerc during the race.

“We took a ton of bets in play during the race,” Pullen said. “From a betting perspective, it definitely lived up to the hype. It was a record handle for any race, and the action was brisk.”

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

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