A second legal sports betting partner has struck a deal in North Carolina.
PENN Entertainment announced Tuesday that its latest sports betting platform, ESPN BET, has entered a long-term, multi-faceted agreement with Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.
The host course for the PGA TOUR’s annual Wells Fargo Championship is one of the eight sports venues allowed by a law passed this summer to partner with a sportsbook operator.
ESPN BET, which launched in 17 states on Nov. 14, gives another operator a foothold in the emerging online sports betting market of the Tar Heel State when wagering begins in 2024.
“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,” Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris said. “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.”
It was bet365 who became the first of 12 operating partners in North Carolina when the sportsbook inked a deal with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets last month.
In time for the tournament?
While the law states mobile and in-person wagering can begin Jan. 8, 2024, the North Carolina Lottery Commission has not designated a go-live date.
However, with the operator application process beginning last week and an avenue to issue licenses by early spring, North Carolina sports betting could be active in time for the Wells Fargo event, which is scheduled for May 6-12 at Quail Hollow.
State law forces sports wagering to be live by June 15.
The commission is still in the process of setting wagering rules, with a second set proposal up for approval on Wednesday.
ESPN BET is one of the more intriguing brands to get involved in the sports betting industry in recent years. The sports entertainment company has resonated with a large audience for decades, including with the basketball-centric fans of North Carolina.
That should help bring in new sports bettors that recognize the brand, as well as the sports betting competition.
PENN was previously associated with Barstool Sportsbook, but after striking a multi-year deal worth as much as $2 billion with ESPN, migration to a new provider was completed last month.