DraftKings and NASCAR announced Friday that they have agreed to terms on a written designation agreement, paving the way for the digital sports entertainment and gaming company to operate in the state of North Carolina, pending licensure and regulatory approvals.

DraftKings also has been named the exclusive daily fantasy sports partner of NASCAR in the United States and Canada. The provider will now become an Authorized Gaming operator of NASCAR and will receive additional sponsorship benefits within the NASCAR ecosystem nationally.

Matt Kalish, President of DraftKings North America “DraftKings and NASCAR have collaborated closely with each other over the years, sharing a like-minded commitment to enhancing the fan experience,” said Matt Kalish, President of DraftKings North America. “We look forward to the next chapter in our journey together and offering our leading mobile sportsbook to fans in the state of North Carolina.”

For his part, Joe Solosky, NASCAR Managing Director of Sports Betting, commented: “DraftKings has a proven track record of enhancing the fan experience across sports. We are thrilled to continue working with DraftKings to deliver NASCAR fans more engagement opportunities and bring its leading mobile sportsbook to North Carolina.”

Joe Solosky, NASCAR Managing Director of Sports Betting Once live, North Carolina would mark the 27th state in which DraftKings Sportsbook operates, following the company’s announced plans to enter Vermont on January 11.

Online sports gambling has been gaining popularity since 2018 when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed individual states to legalize and regulate sports betting. Currently, 35 states allow some form of legal sports betting, with 21 offering full online wagering, and four with more restricted mobile betting.

NASCAR has been moving towards online gambling in recent years. In 2020 they put a policy in place that prohibited drivers, owners, crew members, and officials from betting on NASCAR races and barred them from revealing any inside information for “their own gain, or for the gain of others.”

In 2021 NASCAR became the first sports league to partner with the American Gaming Association. Richard Childress Racing became the first team to jump on board signing with BetMGM as a sponsor in 2021. Before the start of the 2023 season, NASCAR joined with gaming partners BetMGM, WynnBET, and Penn Entertainment in a deal that has NASCAR providing data to the sportsbooks who in turn use it to set betting odds.

North Carolina passed a bill last year that authorized up to 12 legal online sportsbooks, as well as eight in-person sportsbooks at professional sports venues in the state. The law was later amended to require that each operator have a license agreement with a professional sports organization within the state. Each of those licenses carries a $1 million fee for five years as well as an 18% tax with revenues supporting many of North Carolina’s publicly funded colleges and supporting a major event fund that the state hopes to use to recruit national sports and entertainment events for additional tourism, job creation and economic impacts.

Under the new law, there are currently 11 organizations qualified to partner with the legal online sportsbooks. NASCAR was listed alongside the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers among others. Also listed were Charlotte Motor Speedway and North Wilkesboro Speedway, both owned by Speedway Motorsports.

This past week both of NASCAR’s eligible entities announced online sportsbook partnerships. Friday, Speedway Motorsports announced a market access agreement with BetMGM and Charlotte Motor Speedway that will allow BetMGM to bring its online sports betting platform to the state.

However, the formal date for sports betting to launch in North Carolina hasn’t been finalized. State officials overseeing sports betting met this past week to discuss policies and rules that will take effect once the all-clear is given. The date for that all-clear though wasn’t announced.

The period for legalization and the all-clear starts Monday, January 8, though state officials said it will not in reality launch that early. A target date of March 17 was discussed which is the day the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Tournament will begin but when the actual date will be released is still up in the air.

According to reports, legal sports betting in North Carolina could generate $610.7 million in revenue for the state. It should be noted that NASCAR doesn’t share in any of the revenue generated from its gaming partners, instead, they benefit from the marketing provided by those partners whose reach extends far beyond the sport.