Last Tuesday, the Drone Racing League (DRL) announced a partnership with online gaming operator Betfair to offer sports betting on the final round of the Allianz World Championship. The event was held during London Tech Week and marks the UK’s first professional drone race.
“Drone racing is a sport made for betting,” stated DRL Founder Nicholas Horbaczewski. “It combines the raw thrill of short track racing with the complexity and strategy of motorsports. The Allianz World Championship race will be the first time a live audience will see the thrill of professional drone racing up close, and the inclusion of betting will make it that much more exciting for fans.”
The bet types available to spectators included the individual heat winners as well as the outright winner of the Allianz World Championship.
What Is Drone Racing?
If you are not familiar with drone racing, it is essentially a motorsport where individuals use a drone to complete an obstacle course in the shortest amount of time. Participants, who are referred to as pilots, wear a head-mounted display to provide a first-person view. The Allianz World Championship featured 8 FPV pilots, however, drone races can have varying numbers of participants. Hosts of the event describe the sport as combining “the thrill of pod-racing from Star Wars with the real world adrenaline-filled racing of Formula 1."
Drone Racing In N.J.
Darby Development operates Monmouth Park, and a key advisor to the company sees potential in the drone racing betting market. In an interview, Dennis Drazin mentioned how the addition of drone betting would complement the pari-mutuel wagering that the track already offers on horse races.
Legally, Drazin believes that the flying sport would mimic the same structure and rules as horse racing. Bets are placed together in a pool, with the pool becoming larger as more wagers are made. Instead of betting against the house, players bet against each other and the winnings are shared equally amongst winners.
When it comes to strategy, just as horse enthusiasts bet on the ponies based on the jockey and performance of the horse, drone bettors might consider the type of drone and the pilot when making wagers.
"I think you could see drone racing here next year," said Drazin.
The Rise Of Drone Racing
Though still a relatively new market, drone racing is rapidly increasing in popularity. A press release from the Drone Racing League revealed that the upcoming season is expected to be even bigger than the last.
"The 2017 Drone Racing League season will broadcast in more than 75 countries around the world, on partner channels including ESPN, Sky Sports, ProSiebenSat.1, Disney XD and OSN starting June. DRL’s ’16 season reached more than 75 million fans around the world, including more than 30 million broadcast viewers and more than 45 million views of its digital content."
This increased viewership could be attributed to the recent investments and partnerships that the DRL has procured. The league recently closed a Series B investment round that resulted in more than $20 million in funding. Some of the investors included Allianz, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Hearst Ventures, Courtside Ventures, and Liberty Media Corporation (Formula 1 owner).
"We're incredibly proud to announce new partners and investors aligning with DRL to solidify drone racing as the sport of the future," "Over the past 18 months, we've committed to building a technology company that can capture the imagination of new sports fans around the world. The support we have from some of the most respected brands and investors is helping us rapidly realize that vision," said Horbaczewski.
Sports betting in New Jersey may not be hosting live drone racing events just yet, but you can start watching the 2017 Drone Racing League season on June 20th.