SBC Rewind: 2023 already has us asking about what to expect in 2024

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In the final installment of SBC Rewind, SBC Americas rounds out our look back on 2023 with the stories that are still hot off the presses. In 2024, we’ll get a better idea of ESPN Bet’s long-term impact, but we are starting to see early returns. We are also revving up for an early 2024 launch of sports betting in North Carolina and operators are partnering up.

And, as the industry finally had a minute to slow down and reflect five years into the repeal of PASPA, many groups set their sights on responsible gambling and consumer protection to ensure the industry’s future remains sound.

ESPN Bet debuts in 3rd place in many markets

The end goal for ESPN Bet is 20% market share. The first returns aren’t quite that positive but it was a strong start for ESPN Bet’s November debut. In states like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, Penn’s extensive promotional spending helped push the app ahead of BetMGM and Caesars despite not even being live the entire month of November.

In other states, like Michigan and Maryland, ESPN Bet couldn’t pass BetMGM but did surpass Caesars. And, even in states like Indiana, where it couldn’t push higher than fifth place, the returns were already exceeding what Barstool Sportsbook has done.

ESPN Bet wasn’t alone in the limelight when it came to late-year launches though. The Seminole Tribe of Florida rolled out not just the online Hard Rock Bet but also retail sports betting and expanded gaming at Hard Rock Hollywood Casino.

Readying for North Carolina sports betting

The North Carolina Lottery cautioned that sports betting would not be ready for a Jan. 8 launch, but regulators continued to make steady progress towards approving final regulations and closing up the window for interested operators to apply.

In the meantime, while operators don’t have approval to launch in North Carolina just yet, they are partnering up with the state sports entities in order to ready for market entry.

ESPN Bet and FanDuel both turned to various PGA golf courses in the state for their access, while bet365 was the first to announce plans for the state in the form of a partnership with the Charlotte Hornets.

Readying the industry for the future

After a year of cheating scandals and issues at the college and professional level, both regulators and the industry took steps to ensure consumers were protected going into the future. On the regulatory front, Canada slapped a second serious fine related to VIP treatment, this time to PointsBet.

In response, both the Canadian Gaming Association and a new affiliate group, the Responsible Gambling Affiliate Association, announced plans to put together respective codes of conduct to ensure online gambling marketing is not predatory.

And another group focused on predatory gambling, the Public Health Advocacy Institute, filed a class action lawsuit against DraftKings in Massachusetts, claiming its bonus offer violated consumer protection laws.

The result of that case though, will have to wait until 2024.