North Carolina’s NASCAR Betting Market Could Be Tipico’s For The Taking

Tipico Sportsbook has not announced its intention to pursue a sports betting license in North Carolina. However, Matthew Stallknecht, senior business development executive at the German sportsbook, which has made major inroads with NASCAR bettors in the US, sees auto race betting as a market still up for grabs.

Stallknecht spoke with NCSharp about auto race betting in the US and Tipico’s approach to capturing market share in the states where it operates.

“This is a great opportunity for smaller sportsbooks like Tipico because if we can grab market share in one of these more niche verticals, that is a huge differentiation opportunity for us,” Stallknecht said.

How does Tipico plan to crack the code of these niche sports betting markets, as Stallknecht calls them? It comes down to offering a “deeper and more viable product” that gives players more options, better bonuses and the understanding that their interests are paramount.

With the launch of North Carolina online sports betting at least five months away and all 12 operator licenses still on the table, the heavy influence of NASCAR culture in the Tar Heel State could be a good fit for a book like Tipico.

NASCAR betting is booming, relatively speaking

For an industry that does not yet control 1% of the handle of the overall sports betting market, NASCAR is growing as fast as any other sport in the country.

Speaking to Gaming Today in June, Joe Solosky, sports betting director at NASCAR, said, “from 2021 to 2022, handle went up 50%, pretty much exactly. And this year, we’re up 53% over last year. I don’t think any other league has grown [that much] in the last three years.”

Those increases still leave NASCAR, by Solosky’s estimation, with only an estimated 0.5% of the total market in the US.

That’s not the whole picture, however. This year’s Daytona 500 experienced a 73% jump in betting action over last year’s race, NASCAR TV viewership increased by 4% this year and live events had an 11% increase in new fans.

All of these signs point to an audience itching to engage with the sport, and Stallknecht believes that audience is waiting for the book that’s willing to “take the chance on auto racing.”

Tipico wouldn’t neglect NASCAR bettors

Carving out a niche in the US sports betting market comes down to delivery for Stallknecht. This is where he thinks Tipico can speak to NASCAR sports betting fans.

“More boosts, more player-friendly odds, a broader slate of markets – all of these things add up in the eyes of auto racing bettors who I believe feel neglected by the big books,” Stallknecht said.

This kind of product depth for a betting market that occupies less than 1% of all US betting requires deep pockets or specialization. For Tipico, which is leaning toward the latter, that has translated into NASCAR sports betting promo offers like the “Ride With Zane” promo.

Ride With Zane gave NASCAR Craftsman Truck racing fans a chance to put their name or the name of someone important in their life on the side of Zane Smith’s No. 38 Ford F-150 during a race.

The offer stated: “Maybe you want to honor mom or dad, or another member of the family, a veteran, one of your old teachers … the sky’s the limit! This offer runs through June, but the maximum amount of naming spaces is 300 and the last day for sign-ups is June 23, so act fast – as fast as Zane does on the track!”

Stallknecht views these types of offers as ways to “communicate our desire to show NASCAR fans that we see them, we hear them, and we want to be their sportsbook of choice.”

Not many sportsbooks offer NASCAR-focused promos. In some states, BetMGM offers a grand prize of a free trip to Daytona International Speedway, but there’s not much else on the table to entice auto racing bettors at the major sportsbooks. And certainly nothing like a deep-cut promo offer from the Craftsman Truck series.

“This is a betting cohort that is growing quickly here in the States,” Stallknecht said. “This cohort has also been historically neglected in a lot of ways by larger sportsbooks. Ride With Zane is thus our first step in reaching out to this audience, getting a relationship established, and ideally becoming the book of choice for NASCAR fans long-term.”

As a result of Tipico’s Ride With Zane campaign, the brand saw “more handle on NASCAR in July than we have in any month in our short history here in the U.S.”

Live betting on NASCAR could change the game

A tour of most US online sportsbooks includes very little in the way of NASCAR betting markets beyond basic futures bets for the next race on the schedule. That could be changing.

Solosky, in a July interview with NCSharp, noted that picking an “outright winner,” “top five” or “top 10” dominate the NASCAR betting markets, but “there’s a lot of testing on new markets.”

Solosky said bracket-style bets and head-to-head bets – a fantasy sports crossover market – have gained ground in the past year, and more experimentation in bet types will progress as long as they “make sense in terms of relevancy of when fans are seeing them.”

Stallknecht sees live betting as a new market, or, rather, a range of markets that’s an “untapped area of potential for NASCAR.”

“There is so much activity and action happening every lap of a NASCAR race, from pit stops, to passing in different parts of the field, stage racing, drivers gunning to cut fastest laps,” Stallknecht said. “These are all props that could be and should be offered live once the tech catches up to allow books to offer these sorts of lap-by-lap, event-based propositions more consistently.”

NASCAR, which has a partnership with Genius Sports to provide the technology for live betting data for bet types like those identified by Stallknecht, has been toying with them in the last year, receiving feedback from sportsbooks along the way.

By the time sports betting launches in North Carolina in 2024, more NASCAR betting markets will be on the table for North Carolina sports bettors.

Whether those are live betting options, bracket-style challenges or even some horse betting-inspired trifecta and exacta boxes, the growing NASCAR betting market will be confronted with quite possibly the country’s most auto racing-obsessed fanbase.

At the moment, Tipico has not waded into the North Carolina sports betting waters. With Stallknecht indicating that no one has “won” the auto racing niche in the US, however, the German sportsbook may be willing to make a big push to claim that victory.


Image: Rick Scuteri / AP photo

About the Author

Tyler Andrews

Tyler is the Managing Editor for, covering sports, sports law, and gambling for the Tar Heel State. He has also covered similar topics for PlayTexas, PlayGeorgia, PlayCA, PlayFlorida, PlayOhio, and PlayMA. Tyler’s current focus is North Carolina’s pathway to gaming legalization.