North Carolina Sports Betting Misses Big Opportunity With Duke-North Carolina Final Four Matchup

It’s easily the best rivalry in college hoops, and one of the most famous rivalries of any sport in the US. And yet, the rivals have never faced each other in the NCAA Tournament – until now.

The Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels face off Saturday in what’s shaping up to be one of the most legendary Final Four games in history. 

Throw in the fact that it’s legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last season, and you’ve got a betting bonanza on your hands with two North Carolina teams at its center.

One small catch? Mobile sports betting isn’t legal yet in North Carolina. That means that of all the bets placed on the game Saturday night, hardly any will be placed in North Carolina. The only sports betting options are at two retail casinos.

North Carolina Sports Betting Misses Major Revenue Opportunity

The American Gaming Association estimates that $3.1 billion will be wagered on the NCAA Tournament this year. 

“There’s no doubt this year will generate the highest legal handle in March Madness history,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said.

And that’s saying a lot since March Madness has already proved a boon for states with legal online sports betting. 

Virginia and Tennessee are two states bordering North Carolina that have legalized mobile sports betting. Both saw a massive boost to their sports betting handles during March Madness last year.

In March 2021, Tennessee had a handle of $205.9 million, and Virginia had a handle of $304 million. Virginia saw an over fourfold increase in sports betting tax revenue compared to February 2021.

These trends don’t stop at March Madness, of course. 

In Tennessee, where the legal sports betting market is online-only, the total betting handle since November 2020 is $2.34 billion. That translated to $205 million in revenue and $35.5 million in tax dollars.

Virginia is a good study for North Carolina since it just finished one full year of legal online sports betting. From January 2021-January 2022, Virginia saw a total of $3.7 billion in wagers, for a revenue total of $325 million and a tax intake of $23.2 million.

North Carolina Sports Betting Update

North Carolina is close to getting a bill signed to legalize mobile sports betting but has been dragging its feet at the finish line. 

NC Governor Roy Cooper is ready to sign a bill into law. “It’s here whether we like it or not,” he said recently on an ACC-focused podcast with The News & Observer. “It’s time for us to step up and do it.”

A majority of North Carolina residents support legalizing sports betting as a tax revenue strategy.

At this point, though, it’s a waiting game to get passed on the House Floor. A waiting game that could be costing the state millions.

Make sure to stay informed about the latest legislative efforts and top North Carolina sports betting promos expected in the event of legalization by visiting our dedicated bonuses page.

About the Author

Hannah Vanbiber

Hannah Vanbiber is an LSU fan by birth, Cavaliers fan by marriage, and Mets fan by choice. She started her journalism career in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a reporter covering local sports, entertainment, and business in the East Tennessee area. She was the leading editor for the launch of a new sports magazine brand by Chattanooga’s CityScope Magazine. Hannah moved to New York City in 2013 and started writing freelance for several clients including newspapers, magazines, and corporate brands. She also joined the nonprofit world and spent eight years working in fundraising, most recently as the Director of Volunteers at New York City’s oldest homeless services organization. She is now a full-time freelance writer, editor, and reporter, covering women’s sports and sports betting in the New York metropolitan area. Hannah lives in Manhattan with her husband, Ben Wagner, whose loyalty to LeBron James knows no bounds.