North Carolina Hopes to Launch Sports Betting Before March Madness

USA Legal Betting


  • North Carolina legalized online sports betting in June 2023.
  • Gov. Cooper hopes that sportsbook will be licensed and ready to operate by March Madness
  • 4 sportsbooks already signed partnership deals with North Carolina sports teams and venues.

North Carolina sports betting was officially legalized in June 2023 when Governor Roy Cooper signed HB 347 into law. The bill allows for up to 12 sports betting sites and 8 retail sportsbooks to operate in the state. While technically legal, bettors in North Carolina are still waiting for the sportsbooks to officially launch.

Although the launch won’t be ready before Super Bowl 58, Cooper told the Ovies and Giglio OG podcast that he’s making a push to have everything ready in time for the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, although he can’t guarantee it just yet. According to the bill, North Carolina sportsbooks must launch before June 2024.

Some Adjustments Need to Be Made 

Cooper said that while the legislation passed, The General Assembly made some adjustments, causing the North Carolina Lottery Commission to “go back and re-do some things” in order to make it work.

Joe Ovies, one of the hosts of the podcast, asked the Governor why he has to drive to Virginia every week to place his DraftKings and FanDuel bets if the law was already passed to legalize mobile sports betting in North Carolina. The Governor said that while he understands the frustration for North Carolinians, they want to ensure that the rules are right, that everybody's complying with the law, and that the State is getting the right amount of revenue. He continued, saying that it’s pretty complicated to make sure that they follow all of the laws the General Assembly put in place.

Cooper has been actively meeting with regulators in an effort to push them into getting things done the right way. He said that it will have a positive impact on the economy and bring new jobs to the citizens. Right now, they are working on securing licenses for the sportsbooks so everyone can get started.

Accepting Applications for Sportsbooks 

Sterl Carpenter, the Deputy Executive Director of Gaming Compliance and Sports Betting, said that the next step for legal sports betting is to review and approve license requests. There is a December 27th, 2023 deadline for sportsbooks to submit their application requests. So far, 14 operators have already submitted their documents, and Carpenter anticipates receiving many more.

Part of the cause of the delay is that each license application must be thoroughly reviewed and can contain more than 1000 pages of related documentation. Officially, there is a 60-day timeframe for approval once the review begins. According to Carpenter, they appreciate everyone’s patience during this process and that ultimately, the launch date will be decided based on the strength of the applications.

FanDuel, Fanatics, Bet365, and ESPN Bet Sign Partner Deal with North Carolina Sports  

One of the prerequisites required for a sportsbook to be licensed in the state is a written designation agreement with a professional sports team, sporting event, or venue. Once that is confirmed, the gambling commission can approve the sportsbook to act as an interactive sports wagering operator.

The first 4 sportsbooks to successfully come to an agreement with the local sports are FanDuel, Fanatics, and ESPN Bet.

  • FanDuel Sportsbook: Signed a partnership agreement with the PGA Tour.
  • Bet365 Sportsbook: Became the official mobile sportsbook for the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA.
  • ESPN Bet Sportsbook (through its parent company PENN Entertainment): An official partnership with the Quail Hollow Club, which hosts Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament.
  • Fanatics Sportsbook: The official sportsbook of the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL.

Legal Sports Betting in North Carolina 

Carolina was historically anti-gambling; it wasn’t until 2005 that they even allowed the lottery. However, that was the past, and the new online sports betting law is among the most liberal in the country. 

Anyone 21 years and older that is located in North Carolina will be able to bet on:

  • Professional sports
  • College Sports including in state school and games
  • eSports
  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Parimutuel wagers on horse races

Additionally, The Spectrum Center is one of the retail venues where sports betting is allowed. The stadium is owned by the city of Charlotte and is the home to the Charlotte Hornets. This allows fans to bet on games during live action at the stadium.

Shauli Zacks is a big sports fan from Detroit, MI. He grew up playing hockey, basketball, football, and baseball with dreams of being a sports radio host. While that dream didn’t work out, he has enjoyed a long career as a content writer specializing in the gambling industry. Shauli has played at and reviewed many different online casinos and sportsbooks. He used his understanding of sports and casino games to write tutorials on how to play casino games, betting tips, and strategies. Although he left Detroit a few years ago, Shauli still watches the Lions, Pistons, Tigers, Red Wings, and Wolverines whenever he can. When he isn’t playing basketball or watching sports on TV, he likes to hang out with his wife and 5 kids. His hobbies include running, swimming, watching TV, and skiing when he gets the chance.