North Carolina Finally Announces March 11 Online Sports Betting Launch

USA Legal Betting


  • Only retail sports wagering is live in North Carolina
  • Five of eight new potential retail gambling locations have agreed to partnership deals
  • the launch date comes just before several conference basketball tournaments and March Madness

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission revealed Wednesday the state’s online sports betting market will launch on March 11, eight days before March Madness tips off. 

The announcement ended a lengthy period of build-up and anticipation as the state prepares to unify its retail gambling market with a new online branch. North Carolina retail sports betting was legalized in July 2019 and launched in March 2021 at select locations, but online sportsbooks have been prohibited from conducting business. 

Users must be 21 or older to place bets once the market opens for business. Legal sportsbooks can begin the process of registering customer accounts on March 1.

A long-awaited announcement 

The launch date became official after the commission successfully voted on the idea on Wednesday.

With the launch of the market now just about a month and a half away, North Carolina officials said they have not granted licenses or struck agreements with any commercial sportsbooks.

The launch comes at an important time of year. Not only will March Madness be an immediate attraction, but so too will the men’s and women’s ACC Tournament, featuring four North Carolina schools (Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, and NC State). 

“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 out the men's and women's NCAA tournaments,” said commission chair Ripley Rand.

The bill that later became law and legalized online sports betting in North Carolina stipulated the market launch before June 15 at the latest. Previous announcements targeted January 8 (the first day in the legal launch period) and February 11 (the day of Super Bowl LVIII) as launch dates, though the commission ultimately settled on March 11.

Gov. Roy Cooper played a major role in helping get the bill past the finish line. He showed unwavering support for legal sports betting in years past and signed the bill into law with no issues, ending a multi-year push last June.

What the market will look like 

North Carolina can expect to gain tax funding and extra economic stimulus once online sports betting launches.

Up to 12 licensed operators will pay a $1 million annual flat fee and an 18%  tax on gross gaming revenue. Early estimates suggest the state could gain $100 million in tax funding during the first five years of online sports betting. 

“The Governor believes that North Carolina taxpayers should benefit from sports wagering which is already occurring, and this legislation provides a way for that to happen within the bounds of the law," said Jordan Monaghan, a spokesperson for Gov. Cooper, in a statement.

Five of eight facilities eligible to host an in-person sportsbook have already signed partnership agreements with betting companies. 

  • The Charlotte Hornets’ Spectrum Center joined forces with Bet365. 
  • Quail Hollow Club, a country club in Charlotte, will team up with ESPN Bet.
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway and BetMGM will build a facility at the racetrack.
  • Sedgefield Country Club took a swing with fantasy platform Underdog Sports.
  • The Carolina Hurricanes’ PNC Arena will work with Fanatics Sportsbook.

Seven operators applied for mobile sports betting licenses as of a couple of weeks ago. Sportsbooks will be able to accept bets for the first time at noon Eastern on March 11.

Any additional retail sports betting locations must be approved individually.

Virginia, North Carolina’s northern neighbor (with no professional sports teams and roughly two million fewer people) reported a record $638.8 million in sports betting handle for November, the sixth-highest national handle for the month. It also made more than $63.8 million from sports betting tax funding during the first 11 months of the year.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.