Indy 500 Set To Bring More Betting, Positive Economic Impact To Indiana

Posted on May 24, 2024

As hundreds of thousands of motorsports enthusiasts converge on Indianapolis this weekend for the Indy 500, most bettors are putting their money on Kyle Larson to win the race per FanDuel.

For Indiana sports bettors, this is one of the highest-profile races of the calendar year. Thus, betting on the Indy 500 is one of the most popular races for sportsbooks.

Larson’s reaction to being among the favorites: “Yeah, that’s crazy.”

While his reaction to the betting odds is comical, it underscores the faith fans have in him for winning the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500. He will be driving for Team Arrow McLaren along with British driver Callum Ilott.

Scott McLaughlin and Josef Newgarden, members of Team Penske, are also among the top drivers by bet count and handle so far.

The betting handle leading up to the Indy 500 and The Double

Here are some of betting insights on the race from the FanDuel sportsbook:

  • Larson has 13% of bets and 16% of handle. Team Penske’s McLaughlin has 8% of bets and 12% of handle, while Newgarden is close behind with 7% of bets and 8% of handle.
  • Laughlin holds the coveted pole position. Drivers starting from the pole position have won the most in the race’s history.

The Indy 500, an NTT IndyCar Series, is part of “The Double” challenge. It is a difficult series that includes NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600, which takes place in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the same day.

The green flag for the Indy 500 drops at 12:45 p.m. ET, while the Coca-Cola 600 starts at 6 p.m. ET. When drivers finish the first race, they trek about 430 miles via air to the second event.

Larson will be the first driver since Kurt Busch in 2014 to attempt to finish both races. But while he is also among the favorites to win in North Carolina, other drivers have bettor odds.

NASCAR Drivers Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Chris Buescher and Martin Truex Jr are among the favorites to win the Coca-Cola 600.

Bettors using FanDuel Indiana can choose from some cross-race specials for The Double:

  • Kyle Larson to finish Top 3 in Indy 500  and Top 3 in Coca-Cola 600 (+600)
  • Kyle Larson to win both Indy 500 AND Coca-Cola 600 (+3500)

The economic impact on Indianapolis and the state

Even residents who are not interested in the Indy 500 will benefit from the race, at least indirectly, due to its massive economic impact on the city and the state. Hotels fill up, and local businesses benefit from the influx of customers.

A study conducted by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute revealed that the “economic contribution derived from operations, events, employee wages, and all visitor spending between June 2022 and May 2023 was more than $1 billion.

Other findings from the IU report:

  • The economic impact during the same period, excluding direct and spin-off spending associated with in-state visitors, was $972 million.
  • The economic impact for May 2023 events was $480 million, almost half of the annual impact.
  • Operations and events during May 2023 added 3,783 (full-time equivalent) jobs to the Indiana economy, with an average income of $41,038 per job.

In addition, food banks in the area received thousands of pounds of donated food after the race. Schools in the area that sell parking spaces to visitors enjoy a jump in revenue to support educational and athletic programs.

Revenue from sportsbooks should also boost state tax coffers. In May 2023, the state’s revenue from sports wagering increased by nearly 15%, to $414,637 from the previous month.

Photo by AP Photo / Michael Conroy
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Cheryl Coward

Cheryl Coward is a contributor for PlayIndiana with a background in sports journalism. She started her career as a news reporter in Washington, DC. She’s a die-hard women’s basketball fanatic and founded the website as a result of that passion.

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