Eight sportsbooks set sights on North Carolina, including Underdog

Eight dogs
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On Friday the North Carolina State Lottery Commission announced which operators have submitted applications for licenses to set up shop in the Tar Heel State.

The most surprising name on the list is certainly Underdog, which has, to date, not launched as a sportsbook operator in any state. However, speaking with SBC Americas last year, Underdog CEO Jeremy Levine did say the company was working on expanding into the space and had its eye on a specific state in 2024.

Joining Underdog on the list of operator applicants are:

  • bet365
  • BetMGM
  • DraftKings
  • ESPN Bet
  • Fanatics Sportsbook
  • FanDuel

Caesars Sportsbook is notably absent from that list, but it is not because they are not interested in the state. Caesars co-operates two tribal casinos in North Carolina along with The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The company applied for a provider license, which would enable them to offer sports betting through that tribal casino deal.

Of those listed, three operators have officially partnered with the necessary sports group to enter the state. Bet365 was first to announce its partnership with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. FanDuel and ESPN Bet have partnered up with golf entities the PGA Tour and Quail Ridge respectively. Fanatics confirmed it will be partnering with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes but has not officially announced the partnership yet.

That leaves Underdog, BetMGM and DraftKings to find partners from remaining options like the Carolina Panthers, North Carolina Courage, FC Charlotte, or one of the two NASCAR tracks in the state. North Carolina is home to NASCAR, so it stands to reason that the auto racing group would have strong appeal for partners.

While these operators have applied, it does not mean they are guaranteed access to the state, even with a partner. It is now on the lottery to vet and approve applicants. The Dec. 27 deadline for operators to submit applications was simply to ensure applicants were approved in time for the earliest go-live date. There is still room for more applicants as well, as the state approved a framework that allows for up to 12 licenses.