North Carolina Sports Betting Apps to Launch in Time for March Madness

March Madness will take on new meaning for residents of the Tar Heel State this year as officials with the state lottery commission announced that North Carolina online sports betting will go live on Monday, March 11, 2024, at 12 p.m. ET.

The official launch date was unanimously approved by the commission on Jan. 24 and brings to an end months of speculation on when one of the most anticipated markets would finally join the mobile sports wagering landscape. While North Carolina had until June of this year to get approved online sportsbooks up and running, Gov. Roy Cooper had repeatedly stated he wanted online wagering to be available to North Carolina residents in time for the start of the NCAA basketball tournament on March 19.

While the commission announced last November that a North Carolina sports betting launch would not occur in time for Super Bowl 58, enough progress has been made in the application and rules-making process that will allow them to hit the Governor’s deadline.

“The plan approved today means that North Carolinians will be able to place bets on their favorite teams in many of this year’s college basketball conference tournaments, including men’s tournaments in the ACC, Conference USA, the MEAC, and the AAC, as well as throughout the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments,” Ripley Rand, chair of the commission, said in a press release. “Bets on sporting events have been made for as long as those events have taken place, but this time they will be legal, they will be done securely and fairly, and they will be made under rules designed to encourage responsible gaming.”

Residents of North Carolina are allowed to bet on college sports without restrictions, which is why going live in time for March Madness was paramount. Last year, a survey from the American Gaming Association found that a quarter of all American adults — 68 million — planned to wager $15.5 billion on the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.

North Carolina has two of the most storied programs in the history of men’s NCAA basketball: the Duke Blue Devils, which have won five NCAA championship titles, and the North Carolina Tar Heels, winners of six NCAA championships.

Seven Sportsbooks Applied for NC Sports Betting Licenses 

So far, nine operators have applied for an online sports wagering license in North Carolina, including seven mobile sportsbooks. The seven sportsbooks that have submitted applications are: 

If approved, each would be cleared to go live on March 11 since they got their applications in ahead of the commission’s initial Dec. 27, 2023 deadline. 

Two more operators, the state tribes Catawba Two Kings Casino and Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise Cherokee, submitted applications after December. Caesars has North Carolina online access through its partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Sterl Carpenter, Deputy Executive Director, Gaming Compliance & Sports Betting, said during the meeting the commission is currently reviewing the nine applications and strongly encouraged applicants to submit their proposed internal controls for review by Jan. 26. Carpenter added that in-person betting “will follow on a case by case basis” and that the authorization does not include any ADW or pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing at this time. 

“The commission and its staff have made great progress in efficiently adopting rules for sports betting, building a system to accept and review technical certifications, and assisting applicants with their applications,” Cari Boyce, chair of the commission’s Sports Betting Committee, said in a release. “This establishes the framework for a responsible gaming program in North Carolina. Now it is up to the applicants to finish the job in order to go live on March 11.”

NC Pre-Registration Begins on March 1

Sportsbooks that are awarded a license by the commission will be able to begin offering NC sportsbook promos, signing up new users, and accepting account deposits on March 1. Residents must be age 21 or older to place a wager with a licensed operator.

Pre-launch offers are an excellent way for new users to try out the apps with little to no financial commitment while claiming bonus bets, site credits, and other perks.

NC Sports Betting Partnerships Announced

State regulation requires each sportsbook seeking to operate in North Carolina to partner with a local professional franchise, league, or venue in the state. Each of the seven sportsbooks has announced their respective pairings, with the latest coming from Underdog Sports declaring its partnership with McConnell Golf on Jan. 23. 

The list of North Carolina sports betting partnerships is as follows:

  • Bet365 (Charlotte Hornets)
  • BetMGM (Charlotte Motor Speedway)
  • DraftKings (NASCAR)
  • Fanatics (Carolina Hurricanes)
  • FanDuel (PGA Tour)
  • ESPN BET (Quail Hollow Club and Wells Fargo Championship)
  • Underdog Sports (McConnell Golf)
About the Author
Alicia Hughes

Alicia Hughes

Senior Writer
Alicia Hughes is a senior writer and award-winning horse racing journalist at Gaming Today. She previously served as a digital content editor for TVG and racing editor for The Blood-Horse following 12 years at the Lexington Herald-Leader. A graduate of Pace University in New York and a diehard New Jersey Devils fan, Hughes is a past president of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association.

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