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Legal online sports betting is coming soon to North Carolina, likely in March 2024.
State officials aim to see the first North Carolina sports betting sites launch in time for March Madness. Still, the timeline depends on how quickly they adopt additional regulations and issue licenses to qualified operators.
Until then, fans can visit any of North Carolina’s three retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos to bet on sports in person. The first North Carolina sportsbooks opened in 2021 thanks to separate legislation, but professional sports venues are set to open additional in-person wagering locations under the latest law.
Read on to learn all about the North Carolina sports betting market. We will explain where gamblers and fans can bet on sports today and what changes are coming next now that North Carolina has legalized mobile betting apps and additional retail sportsbooks.
State of North Carolina Sports Betting Overview
Officials haven’t yet pinpointed an anticipated launch date. Still, Governor Cooper and the NC Lottery Commission have expressed a desire to see the first North Carolina betting sites go live in time for fans to bet on March Madness.
The NC Lottery Commission is now processing license applications from operators and finalizing additional regulations, so a March Madness launch seems reasonable.
At the latest, online sports betting will begin in June 2024. North Carolina’s sports betting law requires the Commission to have everything up and running “as soon as practicable” and no later than 12 months after the date the bill became law (June 2023).
Key things to know about the North Carolina online sports betting market:
State of North Carolina Sports Betting Timeline
Jan. 5, 2024 — NC sports betting regulators met to set rules for operators to follow before launch. A start date was not announced, but the NC Lottery Commission meets again on Jan. 10.
Jan. 2, 2024 — Seven online sportsbooks applied for NC licenses before the December 27 deadline. The sportsbooks were Bet365, BetMGM, DraftKings, ESPN Bet, Fanatics, FanDuel, and Underdog Sports.
Dec. 29, 2023 — NC Governor Roy Cooper says the goal for the state is to launch North Carolina sports betting in time for NCAA basketball’s March Madness tournament.
Dec. 19, 2023 — Fanatics will join the NC online sports betting industry through a new deal with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.
Dec. 13, 2023 — NC regulators finalized sports betting rules in the state. This was a much-anticipated step for the state as it inches toward legal online sports betting.
Dec. 12, 2023 — FanDuel partnered with the PGA in North Carolina ahead of the legalization of online sports betting in the state. Seven sports organizations in the state still need a sportsbook partner.
Dec. 8, 2023 — NC sports betting regulators approved a second set of sports betting rules and are reportedly inching toward finalizing the rules.
2023: After a long back-and-forth between the House and Senate, sports betting bill HB 347 passes, and Gov. Roy Cooper signed it into law on June 14, 2023.
The North Carolina State Lottery Commission approved a second set of sports betting rules in December as the industry continued to inch toward a launch date.
2022: An online sports betting bill, SB 688, begins making its way through committee hearings in February. The Senate bill creates the possibility of 10 to 12 online sportsbooks. It passes the Senate convincingly but runs into strong opposition over its language and provisions in the House. After some debate and foot-dragging in the lower chamber, the bill failed to become law, and North Carolinians must wait at least another year for mobile sports wagering.
The Catawba Two Kings Casino opens a sportsbook in September. The casino sits on the North Carolina-South Carolina border about 40 minutes west of Charlotte.
2021: Legal sports betting begins at two casinos in the state, while a Senate bill aims to legalize online sports betting in the state. The bill is eligible to pick back up in the House when the 2022 session begins.
2019: It takes nearly five months from introduction to signature, but SB 154 passes fairly easily through the Legislature. The Senate supports the bill 43-7, and the House passes it on to Gov. Roy Cooper on a 90-27 vote.