DraftKings, Genius Sports Seen as North Carolina Sports Betting Winners

Posted on: June 8, 2023, 04:16h. 

Last updated on: June 9, 2023, 11:21h.

To the delight of the sports wagering industry and some in the investment community, North Carolina’s General Assembly passed mobile sports betting legislation on Wednesday. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) will sign the bill into law, and it’s expected online sports betting will be live in the state in advance of the next Super Bowl.

North Carolina sports betting mobile tribal casino
The North Carolina state flag. An analyst sees DraftKings and Genius Sports as winners after the state approved mobile sports betting. (Image: Shutterstock)

The list of potential winners includes the usual suspects, namely FanDuel and DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG). In a Wednesday note to clients, JMP Securities analyst Jordan Bender highlighted the two online sportsbook giants as possible beneficiaries of legalization in the Tar Heel state.

The existing daily fantasy sports (DFS) market in North Carolina puts FanDuel and DraftKings in a favorable position to cross-sell the database, a nearly identical demographic, into the sports betting app,” noted the analyst. “Together, the two companies garner approximately 75% of the sports betting revenue in the US.”

By market share, FanDuel is the top online sportsbook operator in the US. Flutter Entertainment (OTC: PDYPY) owns 95% of the company, while the other 5% is controlled by Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD).

Southern Surprises

Entering 2023, it was expected that state-level legislative action on sports betting could be sluggish, a scenario that was amplified by the failure of related legislation in Georgia, and more recently, Texas.

However, some surprises emerged in the South, starting with Kentucky approving sports betting, and North Carolina following suit. While North Carolina isn’t an outright surprise — lawmakers there have toyed with the issue for some time — it’s still a coup for operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

By population, North Carolina is the 10th-largest state in the country, and is home to teams from three of the four major North American sports leagues, with Major League Baseball (MLB) being the exception. The state is also home to a slew of FCS college football teams and Division I basketball teams, including Duke and the University of North Carolina.

College hoops is arguably the most beloved sport in the state. That’s making the expected January 2024 launch date of mobile sports betting vital to the industry and the state’s revenue collection efforts.

As JMP’s Bender notes, DraftKings and FanDuel could enjoy another advantage in the state: there are no commercial casinos there. On a related point, Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR) could be a North Carolina sports wagering winner because it manages two tribal casinos under the Harrah’s brand there.

Don’t Forget Genius Sports

Sports betting data provider Genius Sports (NYSE: GENI) was also highlighted by Bender as a potential North Carolina sports betting winner.

We recently recommended Genius Sports as our top pick to own in the sports betting space,” added the analyst. “The incremental revenue comes at no cost/investment to the company, with its business model based on the volume of wagering.”

One way of looking at the above is that the more folks wager, the more revenue Genius can generate from its sportsbook clients.