Rocky Mount Tops List of NC Cities Googling Sports Betting

Online sports betting in North Carolina will launch in 2024, and residents from Rocky Mount are doing the most sports betting searches, according to Google Trends data.

Google Trends is a search platform that shows the popularity of a search term filtered through a variety of factors.

NCSharp used the platform to determine which cities in North Carolina did the most Google searches for the term “sports betting” over the past 90 days.

The following five cities showed the most interest in North Carolina sports betting:

  1. Rocky Mount – 100
  2. Charlotte – 53
  3. Winston-Salem – 36
  4. Greensboro – 27
  5. Durham – 16

How to read the data: The numbers beside the cities represent the popularity of sports betting searches as a percentage of all Google searches. In this case, Rocky Mount had the highest percentage of sports betting searches when we took our data, giving it a scaled score of 100. (If you ever had a teacher “scale” a test score, they probably did something similar to this.). All other cities on the list are represented by a number that shows how popular sports betting searches were compared with Rocky Mount. For example, sports betting searches in Charlotte were 53% as popular as in Rocky Mount.

It might seem odd that a major metropolitan hub such as Charlotte isn’t in first place. That’s because the scale indicates the amount of “sports betting” searches in proportion to total Google searches. Population does not directly come into play, except in the case of very small townships and/or very low search volumes.

So, why did these five cities top the list? Read on.

Rocky Mount

With a population of 54,375, Rocky Mount is a medium-sized city located 45 miles northeast of the state capital, Raleigh.

Also known as the City of Medicine on account of having five hospitals, the city is a major center for youth traveling sports as it’s a midpoint between New York and Florida along I-95.

So why are so many people in Rocky Mount doing Google searches on North Carolina sports betting? One reason could be the city’s proximity to Virginia.

Rocky Mount sits 45 miles south of the Virginia border, where online sports betting launched in January 2021.

It stands to reason that Rocky Mount residents travel to Virginia to place online bets and are, therefore, keen to see it launch in their state.


The largest city in the state comes in second. Charlotte’s population is estimated at 917,500 this year, and many residents are showing a keen interest in sports betting.

Known for its banking industry and exciting attractions, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Queen City also boasts several professional sports teams. Among the big four leagues and MLS, there are three professional sports teams in Charlotte: the Carolina Panthers (NFL), the Charlotte Hornets (NBA) and Charlotte FC (MLS).

The city is also home to Quail Hollow Golf Club, host of the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship.

Since Charlotte sits near the border with South Carolina, where there aren’t any professional sports teams and most forms of gambling are illegal, SC fans of NC sports teams are undoubtedly just as eager to see sports betting launch.


Winston-Salem, called the Twin City for its dual heritage, has a population of around 252,274, making it the fifth-largest city in the Tar Heel State. It’s also not far from the Virginia border – about 45 miles south.

The city best known for its historic involvement in the tobacco industry is also home to six colleges and institutions, most notably Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University and the University of North Carolina School of Arts. The student population in the area represents one of the most sports-obsessed demographics in the state and a key sports betting demographic.

On a side note, Winston-Salem State University is the only HBCU in the city and is one of the 10 schools earmarked to receive $300,000 for its athletics program from sports betting tax revenue.


Next on the list is Greensboro, located about 30 miles east of Winston-Salem. With a population of 299,035, it’s the third-largest city in the state.

In the past, the city was known for its textile industry, mills and factories. Today, it’s known as “Tournament Town” for its wealth of athletic venues – courts, fields and stadiums.

The city is home to the University of North Carolina Greensboro, best known for its men’s basketball and soccer teams.

Its distance from the Virginia border is almost identical to its neighbor Winston-Salem.

And with a population only slightly larger, it would be fair to assume Greensboro has a similar number of bettors interested in commuting to Virginia to gamble and place bets.


At 16 points out of 100, Durham ranks fifth on the list. The city is part of the Triangle, known for its technology companies and scholarly institutions.

Although research has shown that people of all educational backgrounds dabble, white-collar workers make up 86.2% of the workforce of Durham, while blue-collar workers account for 3.79%.

While financially literate people are less likely to gamble, the student population in the region still accounts for a significant sports-focused demographic, and research has shown that this demographic is already deeply entrenched in gambling.

Its population of 283,506 makes it the fourth-largest city in the state and puts it on par with neighboring cities Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

However, with six months left before sports betting could feasibly start, it’s still early. Interest could easily pick up in the Bull City as the sports betting launch date approaches, bringing with it a plethora of competitive NC sports betting offers and sign-up bonuses from some of the country’s top sportsbooks.

About the Author

Rashid Mohamed

Rashid Mohamed is a freelance news reporter covering sports, sports betting, gambling laws, and casino business for Catena Media. He writes for a number of sites including NCSharp, PlayTexas, PlayCA, and PlayOhio.