The online NC sports betting access dominoes are starting to fall, with a launch date for the market still to be determined.
ESPN Bet parent Penn Entertainment announced Tuesday it partnered with Quail Hollow Club and the Wells Fargo Championship for online NC sports betting access. The operator application period in North Carolina opened last week and is expected to close December 27.
North Carolina regulators said last week a launch would not occur in time for Super Bowl betting, and the start date will likely be known around the time the application period closes. By law, NC sports betting must start by June 14, 2024.
ESPN Bet NC sports betting deal
Legislators unexpectedly changed North Carolina sports betting law in September to require a partnership with a professional sports organization in the state.
In its deal with Quail Hollow, ESPN Bet becomes the exclusive betting operator of the Wells Fargo Championship, a PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow. According to a release, the partnership sets up ESPN Bet with various marketing integrations.
“We are thrilled to partner with Quail Hollow Club and the Wells Fargo Championship as we prepare to bring our new online sports betting brand, ESPN BET, to North Carolina,” Penn Interactive Head Benjie Levy said in a release. “Along with market access, we’re excited to sponsor the popular Wells Fargo Championship and look forward to working together with our new partners to create unique fan activations.”
ESPN Bet works quickly for NC sports betting
Penn launched ESPN Bet in 17 states last month after shutting down its Barstool Sportsbook platform.
In August, Penn announced it would pay ESPN $1.5 billion over 10 years in the sports betting partnership.
First ESPN Bet event for Quail Hollow
The marketing integrations for ESPN Bet include “the opportunity to activate and engage golf fans on-site during the tournament.”
The Wells Fargo Championship will be held May 6-12, 2024. Outside of Charlotte, Quail Hollow also hosts PGA Champions Tour tournaments.
The course will also host the PGA Championship for the second time in 2025.
Other partnerships in North Carolina
There are at least seven other organizations that qualify for an NC sports betting partnership:
- Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL
- Carolina Panthers of the NFL
- Charlotte FC of the MLS
- Charlotte Motor Speedway, which hosts NASCAR
- NC Courage of the NWSL
- North Wilkesboro Speedway, which hosts NASCAR
- Sedgefield Country Club, which hosts the PGA Tour
There is already in-person sports betting in the state at three tribal casinos.