Many rumors are just that but at times, rumors cease to be rumors and morph into facts. The latter circumstance has played out in terms of BetMGM’s and DraftKings’ partners for legal online sports betting in North Carolina.
Pending regulatory approval, BetMGM will work with the Charlotte Motor Speedway while DraftKings intends to collaborate with NASCAR to offer legal sports betting across North Carolina. While rumors had been circulating about those effects prior, the official announcements helped to settle the landscape further.
BetMGM, DraftKings getting ready for the green flag
Although BetMGM and DraftKings were two of seven hopeful operators to submit their license applications before a Dec. 27 deadline in North Carolina, the matter of their requisite in-state partners remained a rumor at best. Sports Business Journal‘s Bill King had reported that BetMGM and DraftKings would work with NASCAR in the state.
However, that report went unconfirmed by any of those parties until Friday. Simultaneous press releases made it all official on Friday. Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) disclosed its relationship with BetMGM while DraftKings announced its deal with NASCAR.
North Carolina law requires online sports betting licensees to partner with a sports entertainment organization or horse racing track in the state. CMS’ release doesn’t mention any specific BetMGM tie-ins that fans should expect.
In such agreements, common features include signage at the track, activations during competitions, and integrations into digital media. That could all still happen as BetMGM’s and CMS’ relationship unfolds.
For DraftKings, the deal with NASCAR includes becoming the official daily fantasy provider of NASCAR in both Canada and the United States.
With these relationships now official, two more partners for sportsbook licensees are off the board in North Carolina for sure. However, several such opportunities remain for interested parties.
The field narrows for sportsbooks interested in North Carolina
At the starting line of this process, there were 11 potential partners for online sportsbook licensees in North Carolina. That number is now down by more than half, currently standing at five. The remaining five are among the most prominent entities in the state, though.
- Carolina Panthers
- Charlotte FC
- North Carolina Courage
- North Wilkesboro Speedway
- Sedgefield Country Club
At the same time, similar announcements from any of those five eligible parties may not be imminent. At this point, every potential sportsbook licensee to apply for a license has its partner.
While 17 parties requested license application forms, so far, there have just been seven hopeful operators to complete those applications.
- ESPN Bet
- Underdog Sports
Caesars Sportsbook will have access to North Carolina via its partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Therefore, the list of potential operators to partner with the remaining eligible parties in North Carolina is also growing thin.
Furthermore, time is waning as well. While gaming regulators in North Carolina have not set an official target date for when they would like to get the first online sportsbook licensees active, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has shared that he hopes they will do so in time for March Madness 2024.
To make that deadline, new license applications and partnerships would have to be put into place very soon. At this time, that’s a settled matter for all the existing applicants, including BetMGM and DraftKings.