On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the North Carolina Lottery Commission (NCLC) unanimously approved a sports betting launch date of Mar. 11. The launch date comes just eight days before the tip-off of the NCAA March Madness tournament on Mar. 19 and one day before the tip-off of the ACC tournament on Mar. 12.
North Carolinians will be able to beginning creating accounts with online sportsbook platforms when the state’s preregistration period opens on Mar. 1. While users will not be able place a bet until the official launch of sports betting ten days later, the pre-registration period ensures that a individuals will be ready to go on the launch date. Pre-registration also often comes with an additional sign-up bonus as well.
North Carolinians To Wager on March Madness
March Madness is the second-most bet on event of the year, behind the Super Bowl. The American Gaming Association estimated that roughly a quarter of all American adults wagered on the event last year, totaling an estimated $15.5 billion in bets. North Carolina stands to grow that number in 2024 as the ninth largest U.S. state by population that serves as the home of two of college basketball’s most beloved teams — the UNC Tarheels and the Duke Blue Devils.
Given the state’s basketball profile, the amount of wagering on this year’s tournament is expected to rise to record highs.
Sportsbooks Coming to North Carolina
Currently, nine applicants are vying for sports betting licensure in the state, seven of which have partnered with a sports organization or entity to gain licensing. The following confirmed partnerships are:
- Bet365 – Charlotte Hornets
- BetMGM – Charlotte Motor Speedway
- DraftKings – NASCAR
- Fanatics – Carolina Hurricanes
- FanDuel – PGA Tour
- ESPN Bet – Quail Hollow Country Club
- Underdog Sports – McConnell Golf
A partnership does not constitute a license in the state, and the NCLC has until Feb. 20 to review and issue all licenses. However, it is expected that all of the above will be approved.
Notably, the Carolina Panthers, arguably the most lucrative sports partner for an operator in the state, has not announced a partnership.
Other Two Sportsbooks Coming to North Carolina
Recently, the NCLC announced that the Catawba Nation and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians also applied for a mobile sports betting license. However, they are exempt from having to partner with a sports organization.
Both tribes already offer in-person sports betting at their two casinos, with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operating Caesars Sportsbook at two of their casinos. It is expected that they will partner with Caesars for their online license.
These two tribes did apply after the Dec. 27 deadline, so there is no guarantee that their sportsbook offerings will be available on the March 11 launch date.