North Carolina is getting ready for the exciting launch of legalized sports betting across the state, which is set to kick off on March 11. The North Carolina State Lottery Commission unanimously voted in favor of this initiative. Sports enthusiasts who are eager to place their bets can start registering a bit earlier, on March 1, giving licensed operators a head start just in time for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament that starts on March 19.

Sterl Carpenter, the Deputy Executive Director for Gaming Compliance and Sports Wagering, expressed the state’s enthusiasm towards embracing sports wagering. He stated, “By authorizing this proposal, we are letting the public know that we are fully prepared for sports betting. Now it’s up to our operator applicants to demonstrate their ability to meet the requirements set by our General Assembly and this commission.”

Regarding early registration and account setup, starting from March 1, sports bettors can begin setting up their accounts. However, operators must have already received their certificate of compliance by that date in order to accommodate new account holders.

Carpenter emphasized the significance of early registration and added, “On that day, new players can also make deposits into their accounts so they’re all set for the first day of wagering.”Before the authorized betting begins, players are given a registration and enrollment period to get acquainted with the approved sports betting platforms. During this time, they can explore different factors such as the user interface, favorable terms and responsible gaming features to determine which platform suits them best.

The timeline for launching North Carolina betting apps has been focused on incorporating them in time for March Madness. Although House Bill 347 initially set January 8 as the earliest possible launch date, lottery officials clarified in November that the apps would not be ready for the Super Bowl.

Governor Roy Cooper has emphasized the significance of targeting March Madness due to the immense popularity of college basketball in North Carolina. With teams like North Carolina and Duke consistently ranked among the top teams nationwide, March Madness attracts a large number of sports bettors from across the United States.

Seven operators, including bet365, BetMGM North Carolina, DraftKings, ESPN BET, Fanatics, FanDuel and Underdog Sports have submitted their applications by the recommended December 27 deadline. However, these applicants still require approval before officially becoming part of North Carolina’s sports betting landscape.
Caesars, a company that manages two casinos and sportsbooks in western North Carolina on behalf of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, has also applied for a license to provide services. Additionally, both the EBCI and the Catawba Nation, which operate tribal casinos in the state, have submitted applications to become licensed operators.

As per the lottery’s plan, North Carolina online sports betting apps will be the first to launch. Along with obtaining a license, operators must also obtain a certificate of compliance from the commission to ensure that they follow all the rules and regulations set by the state.

Retail sportsbooks located at arenas, stadiums, racetracks and golf courses will have an opportunity to open at a later date. The availability of brick and mortar sportsbooks in tribal casinos further expands options for sports enthusiasts and bettors in North Carolina.

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✅ Updated on February 5, 2024 by Frank Sutton