Pinnacle has become the first bookmaker to offer betting on the hottest new action sport - Drone Racing. Odds are available for the winner of the 2016 World Drone Racing Championships, but how can bettors handicap this fledgling sport? We’ve analysed the competition and the pilots taking part to help give insight. Start your tiny engines.
Maintaining its reputation as a leading innovator in the online betting world, Pinnacle now offers odds on the outright winner of the Quad category in the World Drone Racing Championships taking place on October 20-22 at the Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii.
Drone Racing has gained thousands of fans in the past 12 months alone. In addition to this surge in popularity, the Drone Racing League (DRL) recently signed a deal with ESPN and European broadcasters Sky Sports to televise a ten-episode season of races.
This growth has already been compared to the rapid rise of eSports and many expect Drone Racing to really take-off and become “the next big thing” in sports entertainment, so it seemed a only natural for Pinnacle – ever eager to innovate – to pioneer betting on this exciting new sport.
What is Drone Racing?
Whilst most of us have some knowledge of what a drone is, you could be forgiven for being unaware of the development of competitive racing that is now taking place all over the world. That could all be about to change.
The first-person-view (FPV) racing format has seen an exponential increase in terms of its fan base in the last year. The multirotor or fixed-wing devices can reach speeds of up to 80mph whilst flying around an intricate obstacle course and passing through gates or checkpoints.
The skilled pilots navigate the course from a stationary position while using an FPV headset that puts them in a virtual cockpit, enabling them to see the course through the eyes of the drone. The similarities with video-gaming are obvious, except that the action is real.
The World Drone Racing Championships
The most anticipated Drone event of the year is the 2016 World Drone Racing Championships. One hundred and ninety pilots from 37 different countries will compete at the three-day event, with a total prize fund of over $100,000 up for grabs. With so much excitement building, this event is the perfect fit for a first betting market.
Hawaii’s famous Kualoa Ranch (a film location for Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Hunger Games and many more) offers three different courses for the four categories of competition; Quad (a drone with four propellers), Wing (a drone with fixed wings), Giant Wing (a different size category for fixed-wing drones) and Freestyle (a routine judged on style and tricks as opposed to fastest times).
The advancement in video technology means the audience, and now bettors, can immerse themselves in Drone Racing action from a first person perspective.
In Drone Racing, pilots will be looking to complete the designated number of laps in the quickest time, but will also have to think about the number of pit stops (used to change batteries) and the risk of DNF (Did Not Finish) penalties for collisions and missed gates, flags or obstacles. The similarities with F1 are obvious, and may provide a start point for effective handicapping.
In contrast, Freestyle pilots will have an allotted time to perform a routine and score points. Manoeuvres are rated in terms of difficulty and the audience can expect to see anything from vertical corkscrews and inverted flight to a variety of tumbles, flips and rolls.
Who to look out for
At the World Drone Racing Championships pilots can compete as a team - posting cumulative times in races - or as individuals and battle it out against one another.Luke Bannister (aka Banni UK)
Banni UK won the World Drone Prix in Dubai last year, pocketing $250,000 in the process, all at the tender age of fifteen. Renowned as one of the most talented FPV racing pilots on the circuit, he is currently the favourite in Pinnacle’s World Drone Racing Championships betting – he opened at 2.080 and has already been shortened to 1.952*.
After finishing first in his last three major Drone Racing events, the British pilot who represents team Tornado X-Blades will certainly take some beating.Zachary Thayer (aka A_Nub)
An experienced drone pilot, A_Nub has been in imperious form this year. Having won the Phoenix Cup and US Drone Nationals, the American is expected to challenge for both the Quad and Freestyle category titles.
Currently priced at 3.460*, A_Nub is sure to give Banni UK a run for his money. Russain Vladimir Meshcheriakov (5.200*) and Dino “GhettoDino” Joghi (5.200*) from the Netherlands will also be in with a chance if they get their tactics right for the big race.
The future of betting
FPV racing is a not only a thrilling experience for the pilots. The advancement in video technology means the audience, and now bettors, can immerse themselves in the action from a first person perspective as well. Drone Racing might be the future of sport but thanks to Pinnacle, it could also be the future of betting.Bet on the World Drone Racing Championship at Pinnacle, the first bookmaker to offer odds on Drone Racing.
*Odds are subject to change