Two of the most prominent brands in sports are teaming up in North Carolina in advance of the pending launch of online sports betting in the state. DraftKings and NASCAR are partnering to enable the former to operate its popular sportsbook in North Carolina when the market opens later this year.
In addition, BetMGM Sportsbook partnered with Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Catawba tribe filed for an online license in a flurry of Friday activity.
By law, a sports betting operator like DraftKings can gain access to the NC market via “written designation agreement” with a professional sports league. NASCAR has a special relationship with North Carolina: many of its top racing teams are based in the state; the NASCAR Hall of Fame is located in Charlotte; and two annual NASCAR events are held in North Carolina (the Coca-Cola 600, and Bank of America ROVAL 400).
“We look forward to the next chapter in [the DraftKings and NASCAR] journey together and offering our leading mobile sportsbook to fans in the state of North Carolina,” said DraftKings North America President Matt Kalish, in a press release.
The North Carolina online sports betting market is expected to launch in March, which could become official this week.
DraftKings will be an NC market leader, like everywhere
Nationally, DraftKings is one of the two top sportsbooks, and is typically either No. 1 or No. 2 in most states with legal sports betting, jostling for the lead position with rival FanDuel. DraftKings will target North Carolina as a key market and offer lucrative betting promos for new customers as will FanDuel in North Carolina.
In 2023, FanDuel and NASCAR penned a deal to collaborate on using their trademarks and promote betting experiences. That arrangement led some to believe the two would partner on a sports betting license in North Carolina. But DraftKings has done so instead.
NASCAR and DraftKings are not strangers. NASCAR has designated DraftKings as its exclusive daily fantasy sports partner in the United States and Canada. DraftKings is also an Authorized Gaming Operator of NASCAR.
“DraftKings has a proven track record of enhancing the fan experience across sports,” NASCAR Managing Director for Sports Betting Joe Solosky said, in the release. “We are thrilled to continue working with DraftKings to deliver NASCAR fans more engagement opportunities and bring its leading mobile sportsbook to North Carolina.”
What the DraftKings, NASCAR partnership means
As part of the NC sports betting market partnership, DraftKings Sportsbook will have the opportunity for sponsorship benefits at NASCAR events across the US. Through its NASCAR Cup Series, the circuit sponsors 36 races during a grueling 10-month season.
Once DraftKings launches in North Carolina, it will mark the 27th state where the company is available. Founded in Boston in 2012, DraftKings has rapidly grown from a fantasy sports betting provider into a giant name in sports betting and gaming. The company also offers online casino gaming in several states where it is legal. However, don’t expect any DraftKings Casino in North Carolina anytime soon.
The North Carolina State Lottery Commission and its Sports Betting Committee regulate the sports betting industry. As many as 13 sportsbooks can operate in the state, including two allowed from tribal nation partnerships. The remainder will come via commercial partnerships.
By North Carolina law, regulators must launch online sports betting between Jan. 8 and June 14, 2024.
The lottery commission meets on Wednesday. Indications are a March launch date could be announced then.