While most prospective North Carolina sports betting operators seek to launch as soon as possible, at least one potential licensee plans to take its time.
The Catawba Two Kings Casino submitted its application for an online sports betting operator license after Dec. 27, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission’s recommended filing date for operators wanting to take bets on the as-yet-unknown launch date.
However, a Catawba Nation spokesperson told BetCarolina.com Tuesday that the South Carolina-based tribal nation still has work to do before launching online sports betting in North Carolina, provided the commission approves its license.
“Currently, we are in the process of vetting and choosing a partner for mobile sports betting,” Catawba Nation Director of Communications Tylee Tracer-Anderson said. “We hope to have one chosen within the next few months and are looking forward to launching our new gaming venture.”
North Carolina’s sports betting law, passed last June, granted the state’s tribal gaming operators access to statewide online sports betting. Unlike aspiring commercial operators, tribal operators do not need to enter into a written designation agreement with an in-state major professional sports team, certain racetracks or golf courses, NASCAR or the PGA Tour to obtain an online license.
Catawba Already Operates Retail Sportsbook
Two Kings is one of three tribal casinos operating in the state (The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operates the others). The South Carolina-based sovereign nation opened it in July 2021 in Kings Mountain with Delaware North, a New York-based gaming operator, consulting the tribe on the project. As a tribal casino, it currently offers retail sports betting at its temporary venue, located about 30 miles west of Charlotte.
“The onsite sportsbook at Catawba Two Kings Casino continues to operate under federal authority and the Catawba Nation’s compact with the State of North Carolina,” Glen White, Delaware North’s director of corporate communications, told BetCarolina.com in a statement. “The sportsbook has been successful and very popular with regional residents and visitors to Kings Mountain from the Charlotte region and beyond.”
International Game Technology, a business-to-business supplier of gaming operators, provides the platform for the Two Kings brick-and-mortar sportsbook. Both IGT and Delaware North offer online sports betting platforms. However, neither company has applied to the North Carolina Lottery for a service provider license as of last week.
North Carolina Sports Betting Reset
The North Carolina Lottery has yet to award a license to any of the nine applicants for a sports betting operator license. Lottery staffers are reviewing the forms submitted by the aspiring operators, and state officials have asked those applicants to put together additional documents needed to issue a certificate of compliance that will allow approved operators to take bets on the first day of North Carolina sports betting.
Besides the Catawba Nation, other operator license applicants include bet365, BetMGM, DraftKings, EBCI, ESPN BET, Fanatics, FanDuel and Underdog. There will be no shortage of North Carolina sports betting apps after launch. EBCI will partner with Caesars, which operates its two tribal casinos and has already applied for a service provider license.
The remaining applicants must have a written designation agreement with an eligible entry before the lottery can approve its operator license. Several have already announced their partnerships, which will take effect provided the lottery awards them a license.
Bet365 has announced its partnership with the Charlotte Hornets. BetMGM signed an agreement with Charlotte Motor Speedway. DraftKings is working with NASCAR. ESPN BET’s partner will be Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte. Fanatics and the Carolina Panthers revealed their partnership last month, and FanDuel will partner with the PGA Tour.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has stated repeatedly the goal is to launch statewide online sports betting in time for the NCAA men's basketball tournament. When that happens, BetCarolina.com will have the best NC sportsbook promos available.