North Carolina Announces March 11 Mobile Betting Launch

January 25, 2024
Mobile sports betting in North Carolina is set to launch before the start of the March Madness college basketball tournament on March 11, the state’s gaming regulator announced Wednesday.

Mobile sports betting in North Carolina is set to launch before the start of the March Madness college basketball tournament on March 11, the state’s gaming regulator announced Wednesday (January 24).

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission confirmed that operators who obtain a license and receive a certificate of compliance may begin taking bets at 12pm on March 11.

However, licensed companies can begin registering new player accounts and accepting deposits on March 1.

The launch date will allow the state to begin wagering ahead of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, a key date given the state’s heavy collegiate basketball interest and Charlotte’s Spectrum Center hosting a section of first and second-round tournament games.

Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said earlier this month he hoped the state would launch betting in time for the tournament. 

Ripley Rand, the chair of the commission, said: “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 the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments."

“Bets on sporting events have been made for as long as those events have taken place, but this time they will be legal, they will be done securely and fairly, and they will be made under rules designed to encourage responsible gaming.”

Although the state’s sports-betting law, enacted last June, does permit in-person wagering at professional sports venues, the commission said the launch-day bets will be strictly made online and that new in-person sites will follow “on a case-by-case basis as interested operators meet standard requirements.”

In-person wagering is already permitted at tribal casinos in the state.

The commission has yet to issue a license but received nine applications from mobile sportsbook operators before a deadline of December 27.

Prospective mobile operators must have a written designation agreement with either a professional sports facility or a tribal casino to gain market access and be eligible to receive a license. 

As things stand, FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, bet365, Fanatics, Penn Entertainment and most recently Underdog have all announced market-access partnerships for North Carolina.

Caesars is also expected to operate via an agreement with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, on whose behalf it already manages retail sportsbook operations.

“To be sure there is still much to do, and we will always be working to improve our processes as they mature,” said Sterl Carpenter, deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting for the commission.

“But with this proposed authorisation, we are telling the public that we are ready for sports wagering. Now it is up to our operator applicants to show us that they can meet the requirements set by our general assembly and by this commission.” 

The commission urged applicants to submit proposed internal controls for review by the commission by Friday (January 26) to help ensure they would be eligible to go live on the March 11 launch date.

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