How the ‘NC Sports Betting Bill’ helps Raleigh’s MLB Bid

In early June, 2023, North Carolina passed House Bill 347, legalizing online sports betting and retail sportsbooks (and names ‘MLB’ in the bill). This is more positive news if you’re rooting for Raleigh to land an MLB franchise.

Here is why…

Sports betting has become a key revenue stream for pro teams. The NFL saw a 40% increase across teams & sports gambling deals have quadrupled in the past 4 years. 25+ NFL teams have at least one Sports Betting sponsor. And now MLB is getting in on the action…

According to a Nielsen study, MLB stands to gain $1.1 billion per year once sports gambling is fully mature. MLB understands this and is actively promoting these relationships, according to economist Andrew Zimbalist (Forbes).

“If more people are betting, more people are watching, and that raises TV revenue.”….“If you’re going to further build a fan base, sports betting is going to do that.” says Zimbalist But there’s one caveat…

The one caveat is that sports gambling isn’t legal everywhere, & in some states, a bill legalizing it may never be passed. If you were MLB, and you were expanding or relocating, wouldn’t you want to prioritize locations where you KNEW you could extract the highest revenue?

You already are seeing MLB tap into this potential. BetMGM now has a sportsbook inside the Reds and Nats Parks, while Draft Kings just opened at Wrigley (Cubs). This trend will only continue & it’s likely MLB will prioritize any new location where this is legally possible.

Which brings us to NC’s ‘House Bill 347’. The bill not only legalizes digital sports betting, but it allows retail sports books at a number of different locations defined within the bill.

Here are the facilities that will be allowed to host retail sports books…

  • Bank of America Stadium
  • Spectrum Center
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Quail Hollow Country Club
  • North Wilkesboro Speedway
  • PNC Arena
  • WakeMed Soccer Park
  • Sedgefield Country Club

Oh and they left some wiggle room for the future that you & MLB may be interested in…

If you turn to page 2 of the bill, you can see that they outright listed an MLB stadium as a legal location for a retail sportsbook. But there isn’t an MLB stadium in the state at this moment.

So why even add it?

When MLB is ready to expand & when we make our pitch to get a team, there will be no questions, no votes, no legal battles for the incoming team to have a sportsbook on-site. It’s baked in. And while it won’t be THE deciding factor, it certainly helps Raleigh stand out.

Let’s look at the competitors and their state’s stances on retail sportsbooks & sports betting…

• Tennessee (Nashville): No retail, just online
• Oregon (Portland): Only Draft Kings online and only retail at Tribal casinos
• Utah (SLC): None
• Florida (Orlando): None

So, we’re sitting in MLB’s largest east coast dead zone with stadium-zoned land near DT. Our pop + media market is in-line & growing fast, & now our state offers MLB an avenue to max revenue with HB 347.

Right now, no MLB expansion competitor can say all of that.