Greg Olsen Gets DraftKings Underway in NC With First Bet at NASCAR Hall of Fame

The launch of online sports betting in North Carolina arrived on Monday, with various activities taking place across the state to commemorate the launch. At the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown Charlotte, former Panthers TE Greg Olsen used DraftKings to place one of the first bets in the state’s history at 12:09 p.m. ET.

In a fitting move given the location, Olsen placed a futures bet on Bubba Wallace at +4000 to win this year’s NASCAR Cup Series. Olsen, a spokesperson for DraftKings whose pre-launch ads for NC betting have been ubiquitous on social media in recent weeks, made the historic wager on stage alongside other officials.

This includes DraftKings Chief Commercial Officer Jeremy Elbaum, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Steve O’Donnell, and North Carolina State Rep. Zack Hawkins. In addition to Hawkins, Monday’s event also drew NC State Rep. Carla Cunningham and Charlotte City Council Rep. Tariq Bokhari.

Hawkins welcomed the legalization of sports betting, which he said will protect consumers by bringing anyone previously betting in unsafe ways “out of the dark, into the light, and making sure that all bets they took were secure.” Hawkins also welcomed the revenue from sports betting that will support youth sports programs in the state and said that 13 universities in the state will receive $1 million apiece for sports travel.

Greg Olsen at the DraftKings NC Launch event
From left to right: Greg Olsen, Zack Hawkins, Steve O’Donnell, Jeremy Elbaum

Related Pages: North Carolina Sports Betting | Signing Up for Multiple NC Sportsbooks | Top Sports Betting Apps

The timing of Monday’s official launch, just one day before the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off in Washington, DC – and with Selection Sunday less than a week away – promises to generate plenty of action for DraftKings and the seven other operators that have already received licenses from the North Carolina State Lottery Commission. 

But it’s not just NCAA Basketball Tournament odds that make this a good time for DraftKings’ launch in NC, Elbaum pointed out. In an interview with Gaming Today, he declined to share DK’s revenue projection for the state, but emphasized that the timing of the launch of sports betting in the state “couldn’t be better.”

“There’s also some great NASCAR races coming up on top of it, so it’s super, super great timing,” he added. “We talk about North Carolina and why it was so important, it’s because North Carolina is a state that has a full, year-long calendar: March Madness, NASCAR, it’s not just a football-focused state. Obviously football is huge here, the NFL is huge, but being able to have a calendar that goes year-long is real big for us.”

Elbaum expects the partnership between DraftKings and NASCAR to pay dividends, particularly in the Tar Heel State (the 10th-biggest in the country by population) now that sports betting is legal. 

He added, “We’re going to be bringing all of our fans to a lot of the races. We’re going to increase the engagement, and we’re going to continue to propel a best-in-class product for NASCAR specifically, different types of bets and things like that, that maybe other competitors aren’t going to be able to do.”


About the Author
Tyler Everett

Tyler Everett

Tyler Everett has been a sports writer since joining the student newspaper at his alma mater, NC State, back in 2008. He has covered sports, sports betting, and the business of sports for several newspapers and websites, including the Denver Broncos, Charlotte Observer, High Press Soccer, and Sports Business Journal.

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