Four The Love: Sportsbooks Late In Failed Online NC Sports Betting Bid

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NC sports betting

The bid to legalize online NC sports betting failed last month by the barest of margins.

However, the effort might have received a stronger push toward the line had sportsbooks not left it until too late to mobilize their customer base.

DraftKings emailed NC customers on June 26, urging them to contact lawmakers to support mobile sports betting legislation.

There was just one problem: lawmakers had already voted against the sports betting legislation four days earlier, killing the bill.

Too little, too late for NC sports betting

The DraftKings email read:

Have you heard? Lawmakers in North Carolina could bring mobile sports betting to the Tar Heel State! But it won’t happen unless they hear from fans like you NOW.

We’re just a couple of months away from another football season and North Carolina still doesn’t have mobile sports betting. Meanwhile, sports fans in states across the country, including in Virginia and Tennessee, have had access to full mobile sports betting for a while.

That means that North Carolina continues to leave millions of dollars on the table by not allowing mobile sports betting in the state. Instead, all of that money will go to illegal operators and other states with legal mobile betting.

It’s time to act! Tell your North Carolina lawmakers that you want mobile sports betting in North Carolina NOW!

DraftKings representatives did not respond to requests for comment from LSR.

Wide of the mark

At least DraftKings tried. Other major sportsbooks did not send out an activation email at all, multiple NC account holders said.

NC Senate Bill 688 failed by just one vote, 51-50.

“Any fan involvement could have swayed just enough votes to pass the bill,” said Dennis Justice, a sports betting industry observer and NC House candidate. “E-mails cost next to nothing. Unforgivable.”

North Carolina at least has retail betting through two tribal-owned Harrah’s casinos that feature a retail Caesars Sportsbook.

Rookie mistake in NC sports betting?

NC mobile sports betting might have failed this year regardless.

However, Justice noted industry lobbyists were simply not prepared for local political dynamics, especially the debate around in-state college betting.

“Not understanding how politics work in each state will hurt the cause,” Justice said.

Will sportsbooks learn from the past?

Indeed, it isn’t the first time US sportsbooks have missed an expansion opportunity through a lack of sufficient organization.

Back in January, FanDuel and DraftKings failed to secure the nearly 900,000 verified signatures needed to place a Florida sports betting question on the ballot.

The operators actually collected more than enough signatures, but did not give the state time to verify them.

California dreamin’

These failures are particularly relevant as the battle for California sports betting looms. 

Online sportsbooks face committed opposition with deep pockets and political sway.

Will the industry learn from its recent past or keep making the same mistakes?