Caesars Sportsbook Enters NC Focused On App Improvements To Gain Market Share

As the Caesars Sportsbook enters the market in North Carolina, it has a distinct advantage over the other seven sportsbooks going live in the state on March 11.

Customers at the two Harrah’s casinos owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians already have access to the Caesars Rewards loyalty program.

This gives Caesars several years’ worth of name recognition that other sportsbooks don’t have. However, with the fierce competition from the other seven online sportsbooks expected to enter the market next month, Caesars Sportsbook NC will lag in national market share and doesn’t plan to spend as much on promos as the market leaders.

Comparing North Carolina to Michigan

The Las Vegas-based casino and hotel company recently provided a snapshot of its sports betting performance over the past year and outlook for 2024, which includes the launch of online sports betting in North Carolina.

Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg responded to an analyst’s question about the company’s expectations for market share and customer acquisition given its pre-existing footprint in NC. Reeg compared the expected promotional spending in North Carolina to the company’s entry into Michigan.

“I’d look at what Michigan just reported,” he said. “I think our peers [had] three times to four times our promo to handle. I’d expect that to look similar in North Carolina.”

With the entrenched brand recognition at the two Harrah’s casinos, Reeg and Caesars may be banking on familiarity to carry them.

Digital assets drove growth

Caesars’ digital segment, which includes its sportsbook, spurred growth for the company in 2023, said Caesars Entertainment President and CEO Anthony Carano.

“Caesars Digital produced a breakout year, with 77% revenue growth and $38 million of full-year adjusted EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization],” Carano said.

The head of the company’s sports and online gaming arm, Eric Hession, followed up with detailed statistics.

“For the full year of 2023, our digital segment achieved 78% net revenue growth to $973 million, a new annual record, and $38 million of full-year adjusted EBITDA, also an annual record,” he said.

Caesars and others still playing catch-up to DraftKings and FanDuel

Even with the growth in the digital segment, Caesars has a long way to go to catch up to national market leaders. FanDuel Sportsbook NC and DraftKings Sportsbook NC control over 70% of the US market. Caesars and other sportsbooks are looking to close the gap by improving features in their apps. This includes adding more parlay options.

“On the sports betting side, during 2023, we continued to focus our product and technology improvements on the overall experience for our customers,” Hession said. “They responded favorably to improved same-game parlay, product enhancements, in-game wagering improvements and streaming technology. The percentage of customers making parlay wagers continues to improve, and the average legs per wager also continues to steadily increase, giving us confidence in our ability to improve hold throughout 2024.”

The CFO of the company, Bret Yunker, admitted that these improvements were essential, as Caesars entered 2023 lagging behind competitors in those areas.

“I would say that predominantly where we’ve invested has been on the feature side. So, when we entered the year, there were a number of products that our customers wanted that we either didn’t deliver very well or didn’t deliver in [full] in terms of the breadth of markets that our competitors did,” Yunker said.

“And so, throughout the year, we invested heavily in getting those products up to where the market is,” he continued. “In doing so, the stability of the app, some of the bugginess, there are a few features that need to be enhanced, and so that’s really where this year the predominant effort is going to be, on the sports betting side. So, it’s basically making the app very functional from the customer perspective.”

Time will tell if these upgrades to the Caesars Sportsbook will help the operator gain traction in the NC market.

About the Author

Cheryl Coward

Cheryl Coward started her career as a news reporter in Washington, DC. She's a die-hard women's basketball fan and founded the website as a result of that passion. She loves writing about sports on all levels and has previous experience covering sports betting regulations, operator marketing campaigns and women's sports gambling topics.