The highly anticipated launch of legal online sports betting in North Carolina took major strides this past week as top operators moved to solidify market access partnerships ahead of the state’s target spring debut.

DraftKings, the sports betting giant consistently ranked among the top online platforms nationally, reached an agreement with NASCAR that will pave its entry into North Carolina. The deal allows DraftKings to leverage NASCAR’s licensed entities in the state as required under North Carolina’s sports gambling rules.

With teams and infrastructure already anchored in Charlotte plus two annual Cup Series races, NASCAR maintains strong North Carolinian ties that suit DraftKings’ market-access needs. In turn, DraftKings gains sponsorship inventory to amplify its brand across NASCAR’s national slate of 36 races during the 2023 season.

Beyond events exposure, DraftKings appears positioned to unleash a suite of NASCAR-themed promotions and odds boosts as they target North Carolina sports bettors. Expect creative integrations involving North Carolina sports betting and DraftKings’ industry-leading mobile app functionality once the regulatory green light flashes.

“We’re excited to work with DraftKings to provide NASCAR fans in North Carolina an elevated race day experience through pre-match and in-play betting opportunities,” said Joe Solosky, NASCAR Managing Director of Sports Betting.

The key regulatory body overseeing North Carolina’s sports betting rollout, the North Carolina Lottery Commission, moved closer to revealing launch plans at its much-anticipated meeting this Wednesday. Industry chatter suggests the Commission will circle March Madness as a potential commencement target.

While that March timeline remains speculative for now, it certainly makes sense given the influx of sports fans and betting interest tied to the NCAA Tournament. Just the possibility of legal wagering launching in North Carolina as Duke and UNC embark on March Madness runs tantalizes college basketball diehards.

Powered by that type of local following for signature North Carolina sports teams and events, analysts peg North Carolina as perhaps the most coveted untapped betting market left in America. One research firm projects over $850 million per year in gross gaming revenue as the market matures over time.

DraftKings will jockey for a sizable share of that bounty. But an intensifying arms race is afoot as a stampede of other big-name online operators like FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesar Sportsbook plot their North Carolina blueprints as well.

FanDuel’s recent partnership with the Carolina Panthers has the company well-positioned for the impending state launch too. Speculation over which operators will snare limited tribal licenses also runs high. Meanwhile, the Charlotte Motor Speedway secured its market accessfate over the weekend – linking up with BetMGM Sportsbook.

As tribes and operators continued the licensing dance behind closed doors, North Carolina sports fans keep a watchful eye on the regulatory proceedings. Come March, they hope to have Caesars Sportsbook North Carolina registration deals, BetMGM North Carolina bonus code offers and a host of North Carolina sports betting apps at their fingertips.

Until state regulators pull the trigger, then, some waiting persists along with lingering questions on tax rates. Yet the collective confidence throughout the sports betting world says North Carolina remains well on track to unveil mobile and retail wagering markets before the legislated June 2024 deadline passes.

That long-awaited day draws ever closer when Tar Heels backers can bet on college sports legally and easily on their iPhones. Huge demand and massive revenue projections underscore the state’s potentially gargantuan sports gambling footprint.

Now, with power players like DraftKings and FanDuel clearly signaling North Carolina as a crown jewel market nationally, all attention shifts to state lottery officials’ next communications. Their decisions in the coming weeks will set the all-important launch and regulatory table for North Carolina sportsbooks to compete over millions of passionate local fans.

Stay tuned for the next mile markers on North Carolina’s sports betting track as a seismic new entertainment option barrels closer towards its consumer debut. Questions over taxes and licenses remain unsettled, but the groundwork for DraftKings and others promises North Carolina bettors will have abundant options shortly to exercise their emerging sports gambling interests legally.

✅ Fact Checked on January 27, 2024 by Ken Weaver