Gov. Cooper Sends Second Reminder To Regulators To Launch Sports Betting By March Madness

On Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper doubled down on his push to get regulators to launch online sports betting before March Madness.

Cooper told reporters after Tuesday’s Council of State meeting, “The idea is to try to get it in place before March Madness. There’s a lot going on at the Lottery Commission to make sure that that process goes the right way.”

March Madness officially kicks off on March 19 with the First Four matchups. The first full round of games begins on March 21. Should North Carolina online sports betting operators do their due diligence in time, a March 18 launch date could become the target.

Seven operators on track for a March Madness deadline

The NC Lottery Commission, regulator of the sports betting industry, set a recommended deadline of Dec. 27, 2023, for operators to submit their applications if they wished to go live at the earliest launch date.

Seven commercial operators met that deadline.

While regulators review the lengthy applications, Sterl Carpenter, deputy director of sports betting for the NCLC, has put the ball back in the operators’ court by giving them another recommended deadline of Jan. 26 to submit their internal controls documentation.

Submitting that documentation will move operators on to the last step of receiving a “Certificate of Compliance,” a final approval for all the necessary procedures that need to be in place for an operator to go live.

NC sports betting launch date could be unveiled tomorrow

The full NC Lottery Commission meets on Wednesday to review the action items from last week’s Sports Betting Committee meeting, and Carpenter indicated that a launch date could be given during that meeting.

After regulators indicated that a 2024 Super Bowl launch would not happen, most interested parties had already turned their attention to March Madness, and regulators surely had it on their minds too.

Beyond being the next biggest betting event after the Super Bowl, March 18, 2024, also represents the three-year anniversary of the date that the state opened its first retail sportsbooks.

Tomorrow, we may see if Cooper’s second appeal to a March Madness launch has made an impression. We expect that it will. After all, if your boss handed you a major project with a deadline but stated (twice) publicly that he’d really like it completed before the deadline, would you get it done? We would.

About the Author

Tyler Andrews

Tyler is the Managing Editor for, covering sports, sports law, and gambling for the Tar Heel State. He has also covered similar topics for PlayTexas, PlayGeorgia, PlayCA, PlayFlorida, PlayOhio, and PlayMA. Tyler’s current focus is North Carolina’s pathway to gaming legalization.