North Carolina recently approved online sports betting after creating partnerships between sportsbooks and in-state professional sports teams and venues. This approach differs from most states, leading some to question potential advantages and disadvantages. Additional debate surrounds the state’s decision to allow wagering on in-state college athletics, including proposition bets. As launch nears, priorities include drawing customers away from illegal offshore sites.

Unique Approach for North Carolina Sports Betting Market Access

Rather than grant direct market access, North Carolina requires online sportsbook operators to partner with local professional sports entities. The partnerships connect eight sportsbooks with teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Hornets, and NASCAR as well as venues such as Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Caesars Sportsbook NC landed market access through its existing partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and their casinos. The other seven sportsbooks partnered specifically for the new North Carolina sports betting opportunity.

This approach differs from most states, leading some industry experts to weigh potential advantages and disadvantages. According to Sara Tait, Partner at Ice Miller’s Government Affairs and Regulatory Law Group, legislative motivations often connect to the existing gaming landscape within each state. For states lacking casino industries, leveraging homegrown sports assets offers an alternative for market access.

In the end, Tait emphasizes that “effective regulations, competitive wagering offerings and ensuring patrons understand the benefits of a safe, regulated book are all critical.” Time will tell whether the partnerships approach succeeds in engaging North Carolina sports bettors.

Debate Over College and Prop Betting

Another point of contention involves allowing North Carolina sports betting on in-state college athletics, including proposition bets on individual athletes.

Many states restrict college sports wagering, with some banning bets on local teams and others prohibiting certain prop bets. Critics argue this level of betting raises integrity issues and increases potential harassment of student-athletes.

Conversely, North Carolina allows wagering on all college contests, including props on NC players. Supporters claim regulated North Carolina sports betting offers protection compared to illegal offshore books. Still, prevention of athlete harassment remains a priority as launch nears.

Drawing Customers From Offshore Sites a Priority

A major goal of regulated North Carolina sports betting includes shifting customers away from illegal offshore operators. Offshore sites promise larger betting menus but provide no oversight or consumer protections.

According to industry consultant Tait, “A regulated market must be able to compete with and provide patrons with reasons to move away from offshore or illegal bookies. Effective regulations, competitive wagering offerings and ensuring patrons understand the benefits of a safe, regulated book are all critical. Enforcement actions to shut down illegal gambling operations also need to be a priority.”

With offshore sites likely to continue promoting their platforms through local media, regulated books must emphasize security and responsible gaming. Generous North Carolina sportsbook promos could also entice customers. For example, the recent BetMGM North Carolina bonus code unlocking $200 in free bets will interest bargain-hunting bettors.

Ultimately, the new North Carolina sports betting apps must focus on trust and value to thrive in the newly-regulated market. Tait stresses that “unfortunately, you still see media and others link to or promote offshore sites, which is disappointing.” Minimizing this illegal offshore promotion will prove vital to long-term success.

✅ Fact Checked on February 24, 2024 by Ken Weaver