I’m not jaded. I know Santa’s not coming down the chimney to bring us a North Carolina sports betting Christmas miracle with a January launch. Still, I’m a believer, and so I made an NC sports betting Christmas wish list.
To be clear, I’m not asking for the sports betting equivalent of a Lexus in the driveway. Just a few things to bring peace and joy and good tidings in the coming year to all legal bettors in the Tar Heel State.
After spending so much time watching the foibles of the US sports betting market, I’ve got my eyes set on five gifts that will make the North Carolina online sports betting launch the most festive event of the year.
#1 More sports streaming through betting apps
Some operators have already integrated software into their apps that streams NFL games with betting overlays.
I want more: more apps offering this technology, more sports to bet on and more slick betting overlays with up-to-the-minute data.
Whether that comes through Genius Sports or ESPN’s new “Bet Mode,” I want Santa to get his elves on this new tech stat. I can’t take another year of paying for nine subscriptions to streaming services and regional sports networks just to watch my local teams.
#2 No app crashes
While we’re talking tech turkey, how about the simple gift of app functionality on launch day.
I remember when New York launched their online market in 2022. On day one, the early excitement of claiming sports betting promos from DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars turned to pain when bettors couldn’t log in, deposit money, access promos or get paid out.
Been trying to sign in all day! Y’all messed up my day of betting! Let me know if this gonna happen tomorrow so I can just go to the casino in person and bet. I was really looking forward to match promos and $300 this sucks! pic.twitter.com/shghttob0I
— Thankful (@everythingposs) January 9, 2022
Listen to that tweet. Can you hear the frustration of a kid opening up that sweet RC car, not getting any batteries for the remote and knowing they were hosed because all the stores were closed?
Let’s not have any of that. That scars people.
#3 No stonewalling bettors
More and more, sportsbooks are cancelling bets for no other reason than bettors are winning.
There’s no rule saying they can’t do this, but it looks disingenuous when those same sportsbooks celebrate people winning big using their products.
Here’s hoping NC regulators pay attention to this practice and don’t let sportsbooks excesssively throttle back bettors who’ve had success.
Circa Sportsbook, which touts itself as the book that will take on all bets and bettors, hasn’t announced any intent to launch in NC, but its presence could give NC sharp bettors a little solace in knowing they’ve always got a place to play.
Because, let’s face it, it’s hard to spread cheer when you’re telling people they can’t play your game.
#4 Helpful customer service
We all want the North Carolina launch to go smoothly, but there will definitely be some bumps.
I sincerely wish that all operators have done enough to provide effective customer service to bettors needing customer support.
Whether it’s an app crashing or a deposit not coming through, I wish that the people answering our calls and emails do it with Christmas cheer (even if it’s happening in Spring).
May they remember that many of these people have never used an online sportsbook and may find the app interfaces and all the offerings intimidating.
Here’s to customer service departments doing their best to meet customers where they are, responding in a timely manner and following up when needed. [clinks glasses]
#5 Gov. Cooper placing state’s first bet on UNC to win NCAA Championship
But this is a wish list, and wouldn’t it be fun to see Cooper stir up some good-natured competition by taking his alma mater, the UNC Tar Heels, in the NCAA tournament? Can you imagine him posting a tweet waving around his winning betslip after the Tar Heels cut the nets down? It’d be a moment of sheer joy.
Not to mention, if he lays that bet down, we’ll be live by March Madness, and NC bettors will get to partake in the most exciting two weeks in US sports.
Alright, Santa, we’ve been real good this year in North Carolina. We hung our stockings, fed the dogs and we’re cooking up the whole hog. How about a little helping of online sports betting on the side?