Market to launch sometime next year

Penn's ESPN Bet secures North Carolina market access through Quail Hollow Club deal

Reading time 1:45 min

PENN Entertainment has announced a partnership with Quail Hollow Club and the Wells Fargo Championship as it gears up for the anticipated launch of regulated online sports wagering in North Carolina, expected sometime in 2024.

Under this long-term agreement, PENN Sports Interactive, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PENN, secures market access in North Carolina for its online sports wagering platform ESPN BET, pending regulatory approvals.

ESPN BET is set to become the exclusive official betting operator of the Wells Fargo Championship, a PGA TOUR Signature Event held at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. This designation grants ESPN BET diverse marketing integrations and the opportunity to actively engage golf enthusiasts on-site during the tournament.

Benjie Levy, Head of Penn Interactive, said: “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.

"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.”

Johnny Harris, President of Quail Hollow Club, added: “We welcome the upcoming launch of regulated online sports wagering in North Carolina and are extremely pleased to partner with a leading gaming and entertainment operator in PENN Entertainment."

"PENN’s compelling online sports betting brand ESPN BET, cutting-edge technology and extensive operational expertise make them an ideal long-term partner for this industry.”

In North Carolina, sports betting operators are mandated to secure partnerships with specific entities like sports franchises, arenas, NASCAR tracks, or PGA Tour courses to be eligible for sports betting licenses. ESPN BET's partnership with Quail Hollow Club aligns with these regulations

Despite the excitement surrounding the sports betting market's launch, the state is likely to miss the mark for the Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. The North Carolina Lottery Commission Chairman, Ripley Rand, confirmed this month that online sports betting platforms won't be operational by then.

The Lottery Commission recently opened sports betting license applications, setting a submission deadline of Wednesday, Dec. 27. Applicants missing this cutoff will be ineligible for the launch. Following submissions, a 60-day period for background checks on applicants will commence, with a potential extension of an additional 30 days if needed.

ESPN BET now becomes the second operator to gain market access in North Carolina, after the Charlotte Hornets and bet365 agreed to the state’s first sports betting deal last month. The exclusive partnership named bet365 as the “Official Mobile Sports Betting Partner" of the NBA franchise.

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