Michigan Adds Oscars To Approved Betting List Just In Time For April 25 Show

Viewership for the Oscars isn't expected to be great due in large part to the effects of the pandemic, but betting could provide a lift.
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Gamblers in Michigan will be able to bet on the upcoming Academy Awards.

Wagers on the Oscars, set to air on April 25, were approved by the Michigan Gaming Control Board Friday. Michigan joins the likes of New Jersey and Indiana in letting online sportsbooks take action on the awards show that draws some of the most famous celebrities in the world.

Below are the awards that Michigan signed off on for its sportsbooks, which all can offer action if they choose. It’s likely some sportsbooks will opt not to bother with the low-handle event.

  • Best actor
  • Best actress
  • Best adapted screenplay
  • Best animated feature
  • Best animated short
  • Best cinematography
  • Best costume design
  • Best director
  • Best documentary feature
  • Best documentary short subject
  • Best film editing
  • Best international feature film
  • Best live action short
  • Best makeup & hairstyling
  • Best original score
  • Best original screenplay
  • Best original song
  • Best picture
  • Best production design
  • Best sound
  • Best supporting actor
  • Best supporting actress
  • Best visual effects

The approval contained no betting limits for the awards, so it appears operators have discretion on how much risk to take. The bets will more than likely be capped at a relatively small amount, possibly around $1,000 as has been used elsewhere for Oscars wagering.

The buzz around the Oscars this year could be more limited due to the impact COVID-19 has had on film industry production and the movie-going experience normally enjoyed by millions of Americans. The event is held in Los Angeles and reportedly will be Zoom-free.

Challenging time for awards shows

According to CNBC, ratings for the awards telecast have tanked in recent years.

For years the Oscars drew 35 million to 45 million viewers, reportedly not too far behind the NFL’s Super Bowl. In 2020, however, just 23.6 million viewers tuned in to the show, down 20%.

The Grammys and Golden Globes have also both seen their ratings fall dramatically.

Legal gambling could help stop the viewership bleeding, though most states don’t allow gambling on the shows due to regulatory caution. Insider information could be a concern.

Sports gambling is mostly a male activity, so sportsbooks are likely interested in the Oscars for its ability to bring in a more diverse clientele. In the long run, betting on awards shows should gain popularity, assuming the pandemic doesn’t have a long-lasting negative impact.

New Jersey was the first state to dabble with Oscars betting in 2019. With Michigan now throwing its hat into this ring, more states will likely take a look at it in 2022.

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