BetRivers Not Targeting A North Carolina Online Sports Betting Launch

Rush Street Interactive (parent company of BetRivers) gave its third-quarter earnings call on Thursday, highlighting its year-over-year revenue growth but making no mention of a plan to launch in North Carolina.

RSI has a presence in over a dozen states already and a growing iGaming customer base. However, RSI left North Carolina out of its list of states “targeted for market expansion.”

As regulators prepare to launch North Carolina online sports betting next year, major operators will be gearing up to enter the state. At the moment, BetRivers remains on the sideline.

RSI and other operators reveal third-quarter insights

During the past week, publicly traded gambling companies revealed third-quarter earnings and filed reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, giving investors insight into their financial health and future.

Some operators mentioned their expansion plans into regional markets. While RSI’s quarterly update did not mention North Carolina specifically, it did provide insight into the operator’s outlook on iGaming in the U.S.

Several NC lawmakers including Republican Rep. Jason Saine tout the lucrative online casinos market and are keen to legalize in-app gambling in the state. Online gambling revenue is expected to reach $19.13 billion in 2023, outpacing revenue for online sports betting by nearly $12 billion.

Saine’s arguments for the legalization of iGaming include predictions that the market could yield $300 million annually for North Carolina. In Michigan, a state with about the same population as the Tar Heel state, online casinos generated $817 million in taxes during the first quarter of 2023.

In its earnings reports, RSI described itself as a leading digital operator that ranks in the “in the Top 4 and Top 5 operators in iCasino and online sports betting, respectively” in the U.S. The company is “unique, a digital-first operator with an iCasino customer-centric approach” according to co-founder and CEO Richard Schwartz.

Along with BetRivers, RSI also owns the PlaySugarHouse and RushBet brands. It operates in fifteen states including Virginia. It has online casino gambling licenses in every state where the activity is legal except for Delaware. The exception for Delaware exists because RSI has an operating agreement with the Delaware State Lottery to be the organization’s sole iGaming and sports betting partner.

RSI outlined its plans for expanding its iGaming reach in a presentation to investors. The company emphasized proactive strategies to capture more market share and cutting-edge technological advancements in its apps and casino games. The company also emphasized retaining regular customers with its user-centric loyalty program.

All of this is immaterial to North Carolinians, at least for the time being. If North Carolina were to legalize online casinos, a conservative timeline wouldn’t place a launch until 2025-2026.

North Carolina not in the Rush Street Interactive frame

RSI’s presentation included a table listing states and regions with “market access opportunities.” These represent states with pending or possible launches of online sports betting and/or iCasino gaming in the next year or two.

In the iCasino column, Southern states listed included Virginia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Online casinos are already legal in West Virginia. North Carolina was not listed in the online sports betting or retail sports betting section of the market access opportunity table.

Source: RSI

North Carolina represents a unique market as operators who want to offer sports betting cannot apply as standalone entities. Only sports betting licenses where the operator has previously secured a written designation agreement with a pro sports entity will be approved by the North Carolina Lottery Commission.

This could be a potential barrier to entry for some operators if they can’t secure an agreement with a sports-related entity or venue. However, if Saine and his colleagues are successful in getting a bill off the ground in future legislative sessions, RSI could enter NC at a later date via the iGaming 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.