DraftKings Director on the Upcoming North Carolina Launch and Competitive Advantage

North Carolina’s legalized gaming launch sparks joy resembling a brand-new stadium, sports franchise, or casino opening—frenzied anticipation.

March 11 will mark a hallowed date for sportsbooks, patrons, and fans in the Tar Heel State. For good reason, they can’t wait, including Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations at DraftKings. We talk to him about the upcoming launch.

Launch Anticipation for Everyone in NC

Operators want to roll. North Carolina sports betting will be a major market of nearly 11 million people, the ninth-largest state in the Union. The nine looks even larger with California, Texas, and Florida, the three largest American states, not having legalized sports betting. Grabbing a Top 10 market is a mini-coup for the books.

State regulators can’t wait either. Here comes millions of dollars in tax revenue, pouring into government coffers like a slot machine spilling money. And it should be long-lasting.

North Carolina’s gaming and lottery commission wisely gave books a fighting chance. The NC tax rate is set at a reasonable 18%. Operators won’t be squeezed, and the financial spigot should run smoothly.

Bettors also can’t wait. Sporting a bevy of introductory offers, they peruse abundant options, starting with conference basketball tournaments and March Madness. Flush with bonus bets, promos, and specials from several books, and gamblers will come out of the chute on a fast break.

It’s financial Mardi Gras.

DraftKings Boss Assesses North Carolina

“This is a great state to bring on board,” Johnny Avello told Gaming Today.

“To me, it has never been seen as a smaller state. There is a pretty good population; the state has good commerce and many sports teams.

“First, you have so many great basketball schools in North Carolina,” he asserted. “It’s one thing to mention Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and NC State, all your majors, but there is an abundance of college basketball throughout the state.

“You name it: Appalachian State, East Carolina, West Carolina, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro, Charlotte, etc. This could be the country’s No. 1 college basketball state.”

Avello expects conference tournaments and March Madness to write tremendous business. They are popular and fit into a nice timeline niche with no major events opposing them.

The Tar Heel State also sports an excellent NHL franchise in the Carolina Hurricanes, who reached the Stanley Cup semifinals last season. They are winding toward a post-season run now. Fall will bring the Carolina Panthers and a wave of college football teams generating substantial action.

There are also several excellent betting magnets with NASCAR Xfinity and Cup Series races in North Carolina. Charlotte Motor Speedway is often referred to as the home of NASCAR.

The state’s history of car manufacturing and race shops plays into this dynamic.

Long-Term Market Competition

Once the initial shine of legalized wagering wears off, it’s back to a nuts-and-bolts battle for position by the books. They must be competitive enough to capture their daily market share.

Avello takes a long-term view of DraftKings Sportsbook’s future here.

“People have multiple choices, and they may indulge in them, which is fine,” he said.  “For us, at the end of the day, the question is how do we acquire and keep that customer?

“You have got to feel confident in your product, and we feel that we have the best one,” he added. “I look at the customer service, the content, everything we do as high quality.

“Start with the menu. I don’t think anybody has the menu we do, and we also have multiple bets within the game, team props, etc.  We usually get the line up first, and we have many choices other books don’t have.”

Gamblers Love Bonus Bets Promos

When sportsbooks were first legalized, bettors were given cash incentives. Books consider that too costly now and have replaced introductory offers with bonus bets.

The good news for gamblers is that NC sportsbook promos come from many books, not one or two. In the end, they get more.

One popular offering is to Bet $5 and get $200 in Bonus Bets from DraftKings.

Packaging these will always get the bettor some money. Some short-money picks can put money into the bank, and longshot plays can attempt to create a financial score.

“They also love the no-brainers,” Avello laughed. “Like, bet the Carolina Panthers in a game this fall, and if they score a point, you win your bet.”

Savvy bettors can seek value across all the top sports betting apps.

Most books have a special retention offer aligned with an event on a particular event. Nationwide bettors entertained a special on the Arnold Palmer Golf Invitational to boost any player by +300. That means +1100 became +1400 at DraftKings.

Bettors can also watch for profit and odds boosts, with a cap that alters depending on the user account. A 50% profit boost can turn a $10 win into $15, and an odds boost can provide a better rate of return than then a normal bet.

Gamblers can scour the books too, which is half the fun. FanDuel Sportsbook has been posting a bet DraftKings hasn’t been lately. It’s an Over-Under on the amount of goals scored in the NHL on a given night. That wager gives bettors action on every game without playing them all.

Keeping it Fun

To complete the registration process, checking the Responsible Gambling section on each website is an excellent idea. It’s a tool kit to help players set limits, see reminders, and avoid getting into a big hole.

This is an area in which books have made significant strides over recent years. Bettors are becoming more comfortable with safeguards designed to keep them in the game.

About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

Get connected with us on Social Media