Two NC Podcasters Share Their Early Thoughts On Betting Apps In North Carolina

In our coverage of local responses to the launch of North Carolina online sports betting, we reached out to Sam and Brad Eberwein, the hosts of the Bull City Bets podcast.

The Eberwein brothers are NC natives, huge NC sports fans, and now hosts of a podcast tracking their efforts to become NC betting sharps.

Brad and Sam Eberwein headshot. Hosts of Bull City Bets
Brad (left) and Sam (right)

NCSharp interviewed them about their early impressions of NC sportsbook apps.

Choosing apps and the sign-up process

Eight online sportsbooks went live in North Carolina on March 11. All had pre-launch and launch offers for NC bettors 21 and over.

The Eberweins have been waiting intently for launch day, and you can listen to them discuss it with NCSharp here. Knowing that they’d been planning for launch as meticulously as anyone, we wanted to find out why they chose their desired apps.

NCSharp: I know both of you have been preparing for this with the podcast. I’m sure you also did your research when the operators opened up for pre-registration. Which apps did you download and why?

Sam: We downloaded three apps each to try and split them up amongst ourselves. We based our decisions on each operator’s sports betting partnership and the sports/teams we support. I downloaded FanDuel, ESPN Bet and Caesars.

Brad: I downloaded DraftKings, BetMGM, and Fanatics, for its partnership with the Hurricanes. Go Canes!

NCSharp: Okay. So, each of you has a mix of big and small operators. What was the first thing you did after logging on, and did you read Responsible Gaming content?

Brad: I spent a lot of time reading the RG content because I want to make smart decisions about when and how I gamble. I didn’t set any limits because I wanted to maximize the bonus bets.

I did, however, limit myself to depositing with only prepaid cards as a way to control how much money I put towards these apps.

Sam: I read RG content during the pre-launch period but skimmed it again. I didn’t set any deposit limits or wagering limits yet as I am focusing on using the bonus bets to build a bankroll that can sustain me long term.

After my first log in on the apps, I took the time to explore the interfaces. I ended up not signing up with Caesars because I didn’t like the way I had to navigate through the app (for example NHL bets for shots on goal and hits weren’t clearly labeled with what the bets were). I also took time to review the promos–profit boosts, bonus bets, and deposit matches–to see where I could get the most value from what bets each app is offering.

Navigating app interfaces and placing bets

One of the most important elements of a sportsbook app’s ability to retain customers is the user interface, and we asked Sam and Brad how their chosen apps stacked up.

NCSharp: When it came to finding your way around, did you find that all apps provided similar ease of use, or were there some that provided a smoother experience?

Brad: DraftKings Sportsbook NC offered the easiest experience for me. I like the app’s layout and how clear it is to navigate. I did like the user interface with BetMGM as well. However, it didn’t have as many betting options.

Sam: I’m big on FanDuel Sportsbook NC after experiencing it in comparison to ESPN Bet and others. FanDuel allows me to use custom amounts on its bonus bets, whereas other apps force me to make a $25 bonus bet wager. This is great for exploring options and trying multiple sports with small amounts to find out what I like. FanDuel’s betslip is also clearly laid out so I knew what spots I’m on.

NCSharp: It sounds like the heavyweights have dialed in their user interfaces. But where did you run into snags?

Sam: With ESPN Bet, I didn’t like how they laid out player props and other bets. When navigating to a game or a league, the app presented a lot of options with odds but didn’t clearly state what the bet was. I had to scroll to figure out that I could collapse the list of options to show me the odds. It definitely did not seem “player friendly.” There were also some clear instances of promos with odds that didn’t match the odds of the bets in the actual league navigation menu. Offering the same bet with different odds is not a good look, and I probably won’t be using ESPN Bet long term.

Brad: I had too many challenges with Fanatics trying to make a deposit that resulted in me needing to contact customer service (they didn’t get back to me yet, so I wouldn’t recommend them). Also, using the prepaid cards made it difficult to deposit with BetMGM and Fanatics. DraftKings made it the easiest to use prepaid cards, so I liked their flexibility to allow me to implement an RG tool easily.

Sam: I also didn’t like how ESPN Bet forced me into using a $25 bonus bet and didn’t offer a cash-out option in between action. I placed a four-leg parlay on college basketball this week and would’ve cashed out after three of the legs hit. I was left sweating the fourth leg because they wouldn’t let me cash out. It ended up working out for me though because the final leg hit.

NB: NCSharp has reached out to ESPN Bet for comment and we’ll update when we hear back.

Who’s rising to the top?

After two weeks of legal online sports betting, it’s still too early to tell who’s risen to the top. However, we wanted to know how the Eberweins were leaning.

NCSharp: I know you guys are just getting started, but when the bonuses run out, which apps will you keep? And, if you’d recommend an app based on your early impressions, which would it be and why?

Sam and Brad: We are probably with the public on this one, but FanDuel and DraftKings are the two apps we liked the most. It’s clear from the navigation, betting options, and deposit/withdrawal process that these apps are clearly dominant in the space.

About the Author

Tyler Andrews

Tyler is the Managing Editor for NCSharp.com, covering sports, sports law, and gambling for the Tar Heel State. He has also covered similar topics for PlayTexas, PlayGeorgia, PlayCA, PlayFlorida, PlayOhio, and PlayMA. Tyler’s current focus is North Carolina’s pathway to gaming legalization.