Drone Racing League Wagers Bring Michigan’s First Sports Betting Oddity

Posted By Matt Schoch on April 1, 2021 - Last Updated on July 22, 2021

Colorado sports betting has been swept up by table tennis mania. New Jersey was the first state to add regulated Oscars betting in 2019. Could the Drone Racing League in Michigan be our state’s betting quirk?

Michigan has added its first offbeat competition to its sports wagering menu, as Drone Racing League markets have been approved by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

The American Cornhole League is listed on the MGCB catalog’s pending list. That designation means an operator has requested its inclusion and is undergoing MGCB review.

What is the Drone Racing League?

The Drone Racing League features pilots operating drones from the ground in timed heats and live racing.

The First Person View pilots race against each other wearing goggles programmed with views from cameras in the drones. Events are held in stadiums around the world or also with pilots flying virtually in the DRL SIM, a simulator.

The DRL was launched in 2015, and events are held on NBC, NBC Sports and streamed on Twitter.

The drones reach 90 mph, and DRL was launched in 2015.

The 2020 DRL season concluded earlier this year, and the 2021 schedule has not yet been announced. The season typically begins in the fall.

DraftKings already tied with DRL

DraftKings initially presented DRL wagering last November through a free-to-play pool that welcomed more than 230,000 entrants.

To increase interest and engagement, the DRL and DraftKings have also teamed up to host special pre-flight shows prior to the live competitions.

Wagering for the league is also offered in Colorado, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Drone racing not the only offbeat DraftKings partner

DraftKings is aiming to be an aggressive operator in its offerings.

“We do cornhole. We’re also looking at other things like pickleball. We’re always trying to expand the menu,” DraftKings head of race and sportsbook Johnny Avello told PlayMichigan. “There’s some other things on there like table tennis. We’re going to keep expanding that menu and finding more content.”

DraftKings signed an exclusive partnership with the American Cornhole League.

The operator is also partnered with Major League Eating, though that market has not yet been requested in Michigan.

“Drone racing is not something that everybody is familiar with, so it takes a little while to get used to it,” Avello said. “But at DraftKings, what you’ll notice on our website is we do a lot of different things.”

You can also wager on darts at DraftKings in Colorado.

Can drone racing match Colorado’s love for table tennis?

Michigan has had a huge start to online sports betting, with the February handle of more than $300 million in wagers breaking national records for the first full month.

In February, $6.8 million was wagered on table tennis in Colorado, making it the sixth-most wagered-on sport there. Betting picked up steam there, as Colorado launched online sports wagering during the height of the pandemic in May. The popularity has stuck.

Could Drone Racing League betting in Michigan catch on? Stay tuned.

Matt Schoch Avatar
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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