North Carolina doesn’t anticipate launching mobile sports betting until next year but that hasn’t stopped sportsbooks like ESPN BET from putting its ducks in a row by adhering to state law and partnering with a professional sports team or venue.
Getting Ready to Launch
PENN Entertainment’s ESPN BET sports betting has launched in 17 markets and wants to add the Tar Heel State to its growing list as soon as North Carolina gives the go-ahead.
In order to do so, all sports betting platforms must be teamed with a pro sports franchise or sports venue and ESPN BET chose the storied Quail Hollow Club, home of the Wells Fargo Championship in May and the 2025 U.S. Open.
“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,” Benjie Levy, head of PENN Interactive, said in a joint press release. “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.”
Joining the Party
Johnny Harris, president of Quail Hollow Club, said in the release, “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.”
UK gaming operator, bet365, recently partnered with the Charlotte Hornets in anticipation of the state’s launch and it won’t be long before industry giants like DraftKings and FanDuel are teaming with their own in-state partners.
No NC Betting on the Super Bowl in ‘24
The sports betting law in North Carolina mandates that the mobile launch must be live by mid-June but the most optimistic indicators are that it will launch by the time March Madness rolls around. That means those in North Carolina who want to bet on the Super Bowl in February will have to go elsewhere.
Sterl Carpenter, the lottery’s deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting, is hoping to receive sports betting license applications on December 27th with a 60-day timeline for those submissions to be vetted by the lottery.
“The commission and its staff have a year from the passage of the sports betting law to get betting up and running,” Carpenter said. “Because of the variables involved in the process, it is too early to set a start date for sports betting in North Carolina at this time.”
Carpenter added, “The commission and staff are committed to getting sports wagering up and running as soon as possible, but some key steps are dependent on the sports betting industry.”
There are still several steps to take for all the pieces of the puzzle to come together and Ripley Rand, chairman of the North Carolina lottery, said last month, “We hope to be able to announce a date in the near future about when sports betting will go live in North Carolina.”