The Twitterverse’s Story Of North Carolina’s Sports Betting Launch

North Carolina online sports betting launched today at noon, and the Twitter action tells an interesting story of pomp and circumstance, curious bets and the magnitude of wagers in the state.

North Carolinians have waited nine months since online sports betting was signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper. The day has finally arrived, eight operators have launched their apps, and the internet feedback paints a broadly positive picture of the first day of NC online sports betting.

Multiple inaugural sports bets in North Carolina

Typically, the governor will inaugurate the launch of sports betting with a ceremonial first bet. However, Caesars Sportsbook NC put the kibosh on that scenario in North Carolina when, due to its tribal partnership, it accepted the first online sports bet ten days before the market went live.

Caesars benefitted from rules created under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that permitted the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to launch sports betting earlier than the seven commercial sportsbooks going live in North Carolina.

Despite missing out on making the first online sports bet, Gov. Roy Cooper and his team put together a pretty impressive short film commemorating his ceremonial first bet: the Carolina Hurricanes to win the Stanley Cup. The ‘Canes will continue their campaign tomorrow at home against the New York Rangers.


Down the road in Charlotte, Carolina Panthers legend, Greg Olsen, made another ceremonial first bet. This one on behalf of DraftKings Sportsbook NC, which launched in North Carolina through a partnership with NASCAR. Olsen put $100 on Bubba Wallace to win the Cup Series Championship where his odds currently sit at 40-1.

Curious bet promos seen on NC launch day

Strange bets, strange odds and curious promos are all to be expected during a sports betting launch. Hopefully, strange promo offers work in the bettor’s favor, which is what you’d expect from a “promo offer.”

FanDuel Sportsbook NC may have teed up the most beach-ball-sized, batting-practice-speed softball of a promo with its NC New State Special Boost: 1+ points scored in the Charlotte Hornets/Detroit Pistons game tonight. This easy offer is limited by the terms, but it’s still a nice way to start your day with a win and @NotChefJayAre looks to have capitalized early.


The same can’t be said for ESPN Bet’s “Break the Road Streak” promo for the same Hornets/Pistons game. Here’s an app screenshot of how this offering among North Carolina sportsbook promos appeared to bettors.

ESPN Bet app NC launch promo screen shot

On the ESPN Bet Sportsbook NC app, this promo offered +135 odds on the Hornets winning the game. On its own, those aren’t bad odds. But if you look just below the offer, you can see the regular moneyline offering on the same game, set at +150. This is almost certainly a mistake and also a good reminder to be careful and read all the details.

Twitter user @Michael_Cobb68 had this to say about the snafu:

“Hey North Carolina, welcome to the world of predatory pricing where ESPNbet wants to offer you a special option to take hornets +135, which for a $100 bet is $15 worse than available *right below their promo*. Wheeeeee”

NC geodata shows a jam-packed sports betting launch

Rep. Jason Saine, chief sponsor of the state’s online sports betting law, posted an impressive map of just how many people are logging into online accounts in North Carolina.

His map of geolocation pindrops shows where customers have logged into apps in North Carolina today. Red pins represent voided bets.

We won’t have concrete geolocated bet data for a few more days. However, a cursory glance at this map makes it clear that North Carolinians from the Outer Banks to the Blue Ridge Mountains all have an appetite for online sports betting.

Just imagine this map when March Madness betting tips off next week.

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.