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BETTING

North Carolina Inches Closer to Sports Betting Launch

North Carolina Tar Heels v Duke Blue Devils
The North Carolina Tar Heels celebrate after winning against the Duke Blue Devils. Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP

The North Carolina Lottery Commission has been meeting frequently and has recently adopted several rules regarding sports betting regulations while also fielding requests for applications from sports betting providers.

Making Headway

A total of 14 mobile betting companies have requested applications for the upcoming launch in North Carolina. The major issue that has yet to be clarified is the specific date of the launch, only that it will occur at some point in the first half of 2024.

According to previous reports, North Carolinians will not be able to bet on the Super Bowl in their home state but placing a bet on March Madness events is conceivable. The law mandates that the launch go live before July 1, 2024.

Applications are due by December 27th so it doesn’t give the operators much time to get their proverbial ducks in a row. The Committee is expected to take 60 days to review each application and render a decision.

Rule Adaptations

Some of the added and amended rules include collaborating with marketing affiliates to promote their brand. The stipulation is that the affiliates are prohibited from getting paid based on the wagers placed by the bettors they refer, either directly or indirectly.

“The sports betting committee’s staff recommended striking the marketing affiliate paragraph after several public comments were made from parties involved with advertisers and regulators in other legal sports betting states,” the report read. “There was “looseness” in the language, creating uncertainty in the rule.”

Operators are also restricted from gearing their advertisements to those under the age of 21 but are now allowed to display their brand in sports stadiums or secure naming rights to sports venues or racetracks.

The words, “risk-free” are expressly prohibited if the bettors will incur any risk whatsoever. This has been a recent trend throughout the industry; therefore, it is not surprising to see this crop up in the updated set of regulations.

Sports Betting Partnerships

Mobile sports betting providers must partner with an in-state professional sports franchise or venue and we have already seen the migration of several, among them are bet365 teaming with the Charlotte Hornets, FanDuel partnering with the PGA Tour, as well as ESPN BET recently inking an agreement with Quail Hollow Club.

Speaking of ESPN BET, its parent company, Penn Entertainment, has quickly rebranded its Barstool Sportsbook to the more well-known ESPN name.

Benjie Levy, Head of Penn Interactive, said after inking a partnership with the iconic Quail Hollow Club, home of the 2025 PGA Championship, “We are thrilled to partner with Quail Hollow Club and the Wells Fargo Championship as we prepare to bring our new online sports betting brand, ESPN BET, to North Carolina.

“Along with market access, we’re excited to sponsor the popular Wells Fargo Championship and look forward to working together with our new partners to create unique fan activations.”

Johnny Harris, President of Quail Hollow Club, was equally enthused with the partnership, saying, “We welcome the upcoming launch of regulated online sports wagering in North Carolina and are extremely pleased to partner with a leading gaming and entertainment operator in PENN Entertainment.

“PENN’s compelling online sports betting brand ESPN BET, cutting-edge technology, and extensive operational expertise make them an ideal long-term partner for this industry.”

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