Betting on drone races sounds like something from a science fiction novel, but it is now a reality thanks to Paddy Power Betfair.
The bookmaker has recently announced a partnership with the Drone Racing League (DRL) which will allow punters to bet on the Allianz World Championship.
The drone circuit takes place on Tuesday, June 13 at Alexandra Palace in London and Paddy Power Betfair – the two leading international bookmakers merged in 2016 – will open up betting markets for the final race.
The event is the UK’s first professional drone race and is part of London Tech Week, which runs from June 12-16. It will see six of the world’s top first-person view pilots battle it out, where the winner will receive a six-figure salary and the coveted title of “World’s Greatest Drone Pilot”.
Spectators will be able to bet on both the individual heat winners for seven different heats and the Allianz World Championship overall winner. Punters can place their bets online via the Paddy Power Betfair app or desktop site.
DRL CEO and founder, Nicholas Horbaczewski, said drone racing had all the hallmarks of a great wagering sport, with a short bet to result time.
“It combines the raw thrill of short track racing with the complexity and strategy of motorsports,” he said.
“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.
“We’re so excited to be able to bring this experience to drone racing with Paddy Power Betfair, a global leader in betting.”
Drone racing has an estimated fan base of 75 million people and has been labelled the ‘world’s fastest growing sport’. The DRL’s partner channels including ESPN, Sky Sports,Disney XD ProSiebenSat.1, and OSN have broadcast the 2017 season – which consists of six races – in more than 75 countries around the world.
Each DRL race features drone pilots flying custom designed racing drones at speeds above 150 km/p. Before London, the elimination-style races took place in Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta, Boston, and Munich.
While betting on drone races is a fairly new phenomenon, Pinnacle was the first bookmaker to offer betting markets last year.
Head of marketing for Paddy Power Betfair, Stephen Mault, said the partnership will give them a feel of the market and see how it “will play out for us in the future given the rise in popularity of the sport of drone racing.”
“Innovation and technology are the lifeblood of everything we do at Betfair and we are committed to constantly finding ways of enhancing and improving the experience of our customers,” he added.
Betfair is not new to the likes of drones either with the bookmaker recently dropping a payment of £5000 in cash in the England city of Hull. Fitted with a GPS tracker the drone landed and then the bookmaker released clues about its location on its social media channels.
The competition was an attempt to cheer up fans of the Premier League Hull club soon to be relegated.
It was an interesting promotion and may have given the bookmaker the idea to join forces with a drone league in the first place.
If you are in the area during the DRL Allianz World Championship you can catch the action live by purchasing tickets via the Alexandra Palace website and have a punt via the new betting market.