Fanatics Sportsbook and Carolina Hurricanes Team for North Carolina Sports Betting

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Fanatics Sportsbook, the sports betting arm of national U.S. sports merchandise retailer Fanatics, has agreed to a deal with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes for access to the upcoming North Carolina sports betting market.

This deal is in line with state regulations that mandate sportsbooks must collaborate with local professional sports teams or venues.

However, Fanatics will still have to apply for and be granted a license before it can open in the state.

This partnership paves the way for Fanatics to operate mobile and retail sports betting in North Carolina, including a planned ‘book at Raleigh’s PNC Arena, home of the Hurricanes.

Details of the Deal

Fanatics’ deal with the Hurricanes is also a promotional one. It will make them the sole sports betting partner of the NHL team, meaning they will be advertised at the PNC Arena and on the Hurricanes’ media channels.

Under the deal, Fanatics will eventually open a retail sportsbook at the PNC Arena. However, the stadium is currently undergoing a $300 million renovation, so those plans are on hold for the moment.

In the meantime, the Hurricanes have an alternative venue lined up. The team recently purchased Backyard Bistro, a restaurant near their Arena, which they intend to turn into a temporary Fanatics Sportsbook until the stadium upgrade project is complete. That’s expected to be sometime in late 2024 or early 2025.

Competitive Landscape Takes Shape

Fanatics joins the ranks of Bet365, ESPN Bet, and FanDuel, all of whom have secured “written designation agreements” with local sports entities in North Carolina.

These agreements are crucial steps in the licensing process overseen by the North Carolina Lottery Commission (NCLC). While these partnerships are a prerequisite for application eligibility, the NCLC’s approval is also needed for formal licensure.

The first operator to sign a deal was British bookmaker Bet365, which partnered with the Charlotte Hornets. Then ESPN Bet joined up with Quail Hollow Golf Club and FanDuel signed a deal with the PGA Tour.

The remaining potential partners in the state include the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte FC, NASCAR, and several others.

Rumors suggest that DraftKings may partner with NASCAR, while BetMGM and Betway are speculated to have inked deals with Charlotte Motor Speedway and North Wilkesboro Speedway, respectively.

The NFL’s Carolina Panthers are probably the most lucrative franchise remaining on that list.

The state has set deadlines for sportsbooks to formally apply for licenses, with a review and issuance process expected to conclude by February 20. While the market launch won’t come in time for Super Bowl XLVII1 on February 11, there’s anticipation that sports betting might be available by March 19, just in time for the NCAA March Madness Tournament.

Fanatics’ Ambitious Expansion

Meanwhile, this news is the latest of a host of expansion announcements Fanatics Sportsbook has made in 2023. Since launching for Ohio sports betting early in the year, Fanatics has rapidly expanded across legal U.S. markets.

The sports merchandise-turned-gambling-operator most recently opened for sports betting in Colorado and Connecticut. That comes after launching in seven other states earlier this year, following its takeover of PointsBet.

This latest deal signals Fanatics’ intention to join the upcoming North Carolina market, and it is also set to launch Vermont sports betting when that market opens in January 2024.

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