Loads of overhead on this market: Betting on drone races

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) – There’s a new one in the “Players bet on absolutely everything” category: A large sports betting facility accepts bets on drone races from the air.

DraftKings announced Friday that bets on the Drone Racing League championship will be accepted over the weekend where pilots race aerial drones.

Betting on the league’s drone races is legal in Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Regulatory approvals are pending in other states.

“The sky is now the limit for DRL fans to get skin in the game, and we are excited to be working with DraftKings to turn our high-speed competition into the ultimate sport to bet on,” said Rachel Jacobson, president of the Drone Racing League. “The opportunity for us to increase our engagement through all forms of gaming and gambling will only increase as mobile betting becomes more popular across the country.”

Sports betting and the league are holding “pre-flight shows” on Friday evening before the live events on Twitter, in which experienced sports bettors and top drone pilots inform fans about their participation.

Championship events begin on Saturday.

Jacobson said his races this year are all virtual and take place in a simulation that incorporates real-world drone physics. But there are also live drone races at venues like Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida; Alexandra Palace in London and a car museum in Munich.

DraftKings says there is a market for this. Free drone racing competitions were offered over the past year to measure interest in the activity. The response to a new sport introduced on the betting platform was 30% higher than usual. To date, more than 150,000 participants have taken part in these free competitions.

As with major sports like soccer, baseball and basketball, players can place bets both before and during the races.

According to DraftKings, consumer research has shown that drone racing fans are three times more likely to place a bet than fans of major sports leagues and 90% more likely to be interested in sports betting in general than the average sports fan.

The Drone League is a privately held New York company that was founded in 2015. It has held events in six countries.

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Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC.

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