Big Bill Would Not Like SCOTUS Decision

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, May 18 2018

Bill France Sr. was not a fan of gambling when it came to NASCAR. (Photo courtesy of ISC Archives/Getty Images)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. vehemently fought against legalized gambling in stock car racing, but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week could allow it and Kyle Busch believes it would be good for the sport.

“I think it’ll put more eyeballs on the sport,” Busch said Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway during preparations for this weekend’s Monster Energy All-Star race. “I think it’ll bring some interest to the sport. I’ve always kind of looked at horse racing as you … can go out there and bet on horse racing, but why can’t we bet on racing?” 

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act violated the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment because it illegally empowered the federal government to order certain states to take specific actions to disallow sports gambling. The ruling means each state is now free to pass statutes that would legalize sports gambling within its borders.

The last time legalized gambling had a major shot at stock car racing was in 1961. That’s when Curtis Turner attempted to unionize stock car drivers in exchange for the Teamsters giving him $850,000 so he could bail Charlotte Motor Speedway out of its impending bankruptcy. Had France not thwarted the unionization, parimutuel betting would have become a part of stock car racing. At the time, France noted that auto racing was one of the few sports that had never had a scandal and “we’ll fight this union to the hilt.”

Casinos in Las Vegas began posting odds on the NASCAR drivers about the same time Las Vegas Motor Speedway started hosting Cup races in 1998. With casinos now located in several states and many having state-run lotteries, gambling doesn’t necessarily carry the negative stigma it once did.

Kurt Busch, who grew up in Las Vegas with his younger brother Kyle, said because of his hometown he thought sports betting was legal all of the time.

“I am not much of a bettor,” Kurt Busch continued. “I grew up in that town knowing that they didn’t build those casinos and hotels with their own money. It was built from people gambling and trying to find the edge of whatever game they were playing.”

Kyle Busch noted that several jurisdictions across the United States have “gotten into more of the casino-type atmospheres.”

“I don’t remember casinos being around Illinois years and years ago, but there’s some more around Illinois and you got some on the river for Ohio there just outside of Kentucky and of course, Vegas,” Kyle Busch said. “Being from Las Vegas, that’s the mecca for gambling in the country and it’s pretty neat that you have this opportunity for fans to be able to bet on your sport.”

While the Busch brothers believe the Supreme Court ruling would benefit the sport, Las Vegas native Noah Gragson said he “didn’t have a big opinion on it.”

“I’m not all that educated on it,” Gragson said. “I think there are pros and cons to it. If it does happen, hopefully, it will be good for my fans who bet on me. If I’m doing good, hopefully, I can win some races and have them win some money.”  

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, May 18 2018


  • Tim Krantz says:

    Yeah, they should allow prostitution alongside. (I’m with Big Bill)

  • Bob says:

    I’ve sometimes thought that on occasion, some things that happen in NASCAR were predetermined. With outside bets riding on the outcome, I wonder how if future race results will sometimes appear even more curious?