ESPN BET gains North Carolina market access with Quail Hollow Club deal

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ESPN BET will be entering the North Carolina sports betting market when it opens in the first half of 2024 after agreeing a deal with the Quail Hollow Club

Subject to regulatory approval, the new PENN Entertainment sportsbook app will enter its 18th state as it seeks to be a top player in the US sports betting space. 

Under the provisions of the long-term agreement, ESPN BET will become the exclusive official betting operator of the Wells Fargo Championship, a PGA TOUR event that takes place at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte

This means the operator will benefit from marketing integrations on-site at the event, where it will have the chance to engage with golf fans throughout the tournament. 

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

“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.” 

ESPN BET has made a lot of noise since launching last month, topping the app download charts and gaining over one million downloads in the process. 

North Carolina is likely to be the first state that it will launch in at the same time as the other big names in the industry such as FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM

“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,” said Johnny Harris, President at Quail Hollow Club. 

“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.”

Currently, bet365 is the only other operator to have brokered a deal for North Carolina market access after entering an agreement with the Charlotte Hornets. 

The North Carolina wagering law requires all operators to enter a written designated agreement with a sports team, league or venue before they can be licensed. 

As it stands, the state’s Lottery Commission has approved the process for applications for sports betting operators, suppliers and affiliates ahead of the licensing period.

Operators can submit their applications which must be done by Dec. 27. 

However, in the sports betting committee’s meeting, it was agreed that the market will not launch in time for the Super Bowl in February, citing the vast amount of licensing and vetting work that needs to be undertaken. 

It is more likely the market will open much closer to the June deadline.