North Carolina Gaming Regulators Set Online Sports Betting Start

Posted on: January 24, 2024, 12:42h. 

Last updated on: January 25, 2024, 01:00h.

After months of waiting, sports bettors in North Carolina have been told when online sportsbooks will begin accepting bets over the internet.

North Carolina sports betting
Duke basketball players celebrate during a game in 2022. North Carolina sports betting will begin online just before the 2024 NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament. (Image: Go Duke)

During the North Carolina State Lottery Commission’s Wednesday meeting, the nine commissioners signed off on allowing online sportsbooks to commence operations on Monday, March 11 at noon EST. The lottery commission, which is tasked with reviewing sportsbook applications and regulating their operations, said eight books are likely to debut on that date.

The pending online sportsbooks include DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, ESPN Bet, Caesars Sportsbook, Fanatics Sportsbook, bet365, and Underdog Sports.

North Carolina lawmakers approved commercial sports betting at professional sports stadiums and venues, plus online, last year. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed the legislation into law in June. The statute also provides a framework for the state’s two tribes to pursue online sportsbook permits.

March 11 is the eve of the NCAA March Madness men’s college basketball tournament. The statute Cooper signed required online sportsbooks to commence operations before June 15, 2024. But Cooper urged the lottery commissioners to expedite their rulemaking processes and application reviews to get online books up and running in time for the men’s college basketball postseason.

Approved sportsbooks will be allowed to begin signing up players on March 1, though no bets are to be accepted until the 11th.

Sports Betting Ready to Balloon

Commercial sports betting in the Tar Heel State arrives three years after retail wagering began at the state’s three tribal casinos — Harrah’s Cherokee, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River, and Two Kings. After the state amended its Class III gaming compacts with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Catawba Indian Nation, tribal sportsbooks began taking bets in person in March 2021.

The debut of online sportsbooks, as well as the stadium and venue retail books, will significantly expand sports betting in North Carolina.

The Sports Betting Alliance, a trade group consisting of four of the forthcoming North Carolina sportsbook operators, including BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fanatics, issued a statement celebrating the state’s pending launch of sports gambling.

This is a big day for North Carolina sports fans,” said Scott Ward, vice president of the alliance. “Today is the culmination of years of hard work by North Carolina legislators, education and community stakeholders, and fans, and we extend our sincere gratitude to each for their tireless efforts.”

The state will reap the financial rewards of allowing sports betting, as each sportsbook license costs $1 million every five years. The state will also take 18% of each book’s gross revenue. Thirteen universities and colleges will receive $300K annually from the sports betting taxes.

Underdog Confirms Partner

Underdog Sports, the sports betting upstart that will have to overcome long odds to gain market share in North Carolina against the big players, has confirmed a venue partner to qualify its sportsbook application.

The company revealed this week that it’s partnered with McConnell Golf, which operates Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro. Since Sedgefield hosts an annual stop on the PGA Tour, the professional golf venue qualified for sports betting privileges.

North Carolina Sports Betting Partnerships

  • Bet365 — Spectrum Center/NBA Charlotte Hornets
  • BetMGM — Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Caesars — Harrah’s
  • DraftKings — NASCAR
  • ESPN Bet — Quail Hollow Club
  • Fanatics — PNC Arena/NHL Carolina Hurricanes
  • FanDuel — PGA Tour
  • Underdog Sports — Sedgefield Country Club