Bet365 eyes North Carolina market access with Charlotte Hornets deal
Operator inks long-term partnership with NBA side ahead of expected 2024 sports betting launch
Bet365 has agreed a long-term deal with Hornets Sports & Entertainment (HSE) to become the new official mobile sports betting partner of NBA side the Charlotte Hornets.
The partnership includes significant branding and signage at the Spectrum Center, the Hornets’ home arena, as well as on hornets.com, Hornets’ social media platforms, the Hornets App and the team’s TV and radio game broadcasts.
“Everyone at bet365 is thrilled to partner with the Hornets as we launch our iconic sports betting brand in North Carolina,” a spokesperson for bet365 said.
“The Hornets’ rich and dynamic history is deep rooted in the Queen City community, and we’re abuzz to become part of their exciting future,” they added.
Some in-arena signage, including the placement of the bet365 logo on the courtside baseline, will be activated beginning with the NBA In-Season Tournament game against the Milwaukee Bucks, with additional assets to be deployed over the coming months.
The partnership comes as part of preparations to launch online sports betting in North Carolina, where a sportsbook licensing process is currently ongoing, with the market expected to launch in 2024.
“Since the day Governor [Roy] Cooper signed sports wagering into law at Spectrum Center in June, we sought a partner that would help us provide our fans with new, additional opportunities to engage with their favorite sports teams” HSE chief revenue officer Jacob Gallagher said in a press release regarding the partnership.
“We are confident that bet365 is a great fit with our organization and can help us do that,” he added.
Under North Carolina’s approved sports betting laws, which were changed in September as part of the state’s budget proposals, any operator looking to expand into the state must have a so-called “written designation agreement” with entities including professional sports teams, any motorsports facility, and any facility which hosts professional golf tournaments.
These agreements must be in place before any license application can be filed, however, no information was provided in the budget document on the makeup of the agreements themselves.
Professional sports teams include those in football, baseball, soccer, basketball, ice hockey, and women’s soccer.
North Carolina-licensed operators will be taxed at a rate of 18%, with initial state estimates suggesting more than $22m in tax revenue will be generated during the first year of operation, rising to over $100m by fiscal year 2027/28.