When Will Sports Betting Be Legal in North Carolina?

Legal North Carolina sports betting apps are set to launch on March 11 after years of gaming being controlled exclusively by tribes.

Heavy hitters, including DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and BetMGM, are lining up to enter the market. Once approved, books can start pre-registering accounts for mobile betting on March 1, ahead of the timely full launch on March 11 — just in time for bettors to wager on the ACC Tournament and March Madness.

Legislative History

North Carolina initially legalized sports gambling in 2019, but that legislation only applied to tribal casinos. Fast forward four years, and in June, Gov. Roy Cooper officially signed off on expanding legal sports betting apps in the Tar Heel state. Under the new law, 11 sportsbook operators can obtain retail and mobile licenses in the state.

The NC State Lottery Commission is tasked with regulating sports betting in the state under the legislation. The NC Department of Revenue will collect an 18% tax on gross sports betting revenue and 1 percent of the total pari-mutuel wagers on horse racing.

Like many cases, the path to state sports betting legalization was not smooth in North Carolina. In 2022, Senate Bill 688 failed to pass the state house by just one vote.  The following session, Republican Jason Saine introduced House Bill 347 on March 14, which Cooper would ultimately end up signing into law.

In 2022, a report stated North Carolina state could receive nearly $350 million in tax revenue from sports betting in its first five years.

What Sportsbooks Will Be Available?

Sterl Carpenter, deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting, said on Feb. 19 that eight operator applicants are moving towards licensure by March 11. Operators publicly announcing they are coming to North Carolina include BetMGM, Caesars, FanDuel, bet365, DraftKings, Underdog Sports, Fanatics, and ESPN BET.

Under the law, sportsbook operators must partner with a professional team, tribe, sports venue, or leagues like NASCAR or the PGA Tour. Here are the following partnerships in North Carolina:

  • BetMGM – Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • bet365 – Charlotte Hornets
  • FanDuel – PGA Tour
  • Caesars Sportsbook – Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
  • DraftKings – NASCAR
  • Fanatics – Carolina Hurricanes
  • ESPN BET – Quail Hollow Club and Wells Fargo Championship
  • Underdog Sports – McConnell Golf

Pre-Launch vs. Official Launch: What’s the Difference?

Starting March 1, sportsbooks can start courting bettors looking to bet online with welcome offers and promos. However, users will not be able to place bets until March 11. To legally wager, you will need to be 21-years-old.

The process will be relatively simple: select an approved sportsbook, download its app, create an account, claim the welcome offer, make a deposit, and wait until March 11 to place your first bet.

Those looking to bet in person can visit a brick-and-mortar site on March 11 to place your first bet.

Can’t wait until March?

North Carolina sports betting is only allowed at the casinos on tribal lands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Catawba Indian Nation. The three currently active casinos:

  • Catawba Two Kings Casino
  • Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
  • Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel

What Will You Be Able To Bet On?

Many college and professional sports markets, including local colleges like the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils. And from the obscure, like cricket and rugby, to the industry standards, like the NFL and NBA. However, you will not be able to bet on injuries or penalties.

The only industry-standard exception is that betting on high school sports will not be allowed.


About the Author

Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert is a freelance writer at Gaming Today. He enjoys writing about the intersection of politics and sports gambling as well as the industry's larger cultural impacts.

Get connected with us on Social Media