North Carolina sports betting is expanding.
Online sports betting can launch as early as Jan. 8, 2024, but state regulators will be hard pressed to get the industry up and running that early. Those interested in NC sports betting will probably need to wait until later into spring to place their first betts.
NCSharp projects that the Tar Heel state could place $7 billion in total bets in year one of legal online sports betting.
We will be tracking all the sports betting news you need to know in North Carolina as launch day approaches.
Latest online sports betting updates
- Sept. 25: NCSharp releases its preliminary projection for total bet spending on online sports betting in year one. We predict between $6-$7 billion in online sports betting handle for the Tar Heel state.
- Sept. 22: The North Carolina legislature passes a budget changing the sports betting law. Instead of allowing 12 online operators in the state, the budget requires applicants to secure a written agreement from a sports team, sports venue or sports governing body. This will likely lower the total number of operators.
- Sept. 20: NC Lottery Commission holds first meeting where sports betting is addressed. Specifically, hiring and rule-making processes. No discussion of a lauch date or when operators will be able to start applying.
- Sept. 19: Late Wednesday night, a budget bill draft was agreed upon a draft that would remove the cap on online operators from 12 to as many as can receive a “written designation agreement” from an NC pro sports team or pro sports venue.
- Sept. 18: As expected, GeoComply data suggests that sports betting is hot nationally with the start of the NFL season. It also touches on some data about South Carolinians getting antsy about missing out.
- Sept. 15: A cyberattack of Caesars Entertainment put Caesars Rewards customers at risk. Anyone who visited the Caesars sportsbooks at the two Harrah’s Cherokee resorts in the last three weeks should take precautions.
- Sept. 12: More regulation help is coming for the North Carolina Lottery Commission as a second attorney has been added to the licensing staff. Updates have also been made to the lottery’s launch page, which could signal launch clues. Previously, the North Carolina Lottery Commission hired 30-year gaming industry veteran Sterl Carpenter to lead its gaming compliance and sports betting division.
- Sept. 8: Democracy North Carolina released a report on who is donating nearly $500,000 to lobby gambling interests in favor of sports betting.
- Sept. 6: Like everyone else in the US, North Carolina NFL fans will see lots of sports betting ads this season, despite betting not being allowed here until at least the playoffs. Here are the NFL’s rules for ads.
- Sept. 1: NC Lottery Commission announces partnership with Gaming Laboratories International, which handles risk control and licensing procedures, to consult on its sports betting rollout.
- Aug. 8: Barstool sportsbook folds and ESPN announces partnership with PENN Entertainment, effectively subsuming the Barstool app and rebranding it ESPN Bet, which, in all likelihood, will be among the first to launch in North Carolina
- Aug. 2: An NCSharp survey found that 58% of North Carolinians see the revenue boost from legal sports betting as its main benefit.
- June 14: Gov. Cooper signed HB 347, legalizing online sports betting and horse race betting. The launch window runs from Jan. 8, 2024, to June 14, 2024.
Online sports betting launch details
Is sports betting legal in NC?
Yes. Retail and online sports betting are both legal in North Carolina. North Carolina has three retail sportsbooks at the state’s three tribal casinos. Online sports betting, while legal, has not launched yet.
When will online sports betting be legal in NC?
The earliest North Carolina online sports betting will launch is Jan. 8, 2024, but the North Carolina Lottery Commission has until June 14, 2024, to get the industry running.
Sports betting stories we’re following
With legal online sports betting only months away, we are following the industry closely. Here are a few key storylines we’re following in the lead up to North Carolina’s online sports betting launch:
How will NC Lottery fare as sports betting regulator?
A number of states have handed the job of sports betting regulator to the state lottery. In some cases, this has led to a bad sports betting product for the consumer. This happens for a variety of reasons, including the creation of a sports betting monopoly and the relative inexperience of lottery commissioners with sports betting. With 12 online sports betting licenses up for grabs, the NC Lottery Commission will take on a heavy load. Can it create a competitive sports betting market in a timely manner? With the introduction of Sterl Carpenter, who has nearly a decade of sports betting regulatory experience under his belt, they’re setting themselves up well. But with only a few months before the online sports betting launch window opens, a lot of work needs to be done.
Will North Carolina be the king of NASCAR betting?
North Carolina is arguably the heart of NASCAR racing, with many top drivers and top teams operating out of the state. At the moment, betting on auto racing draws relatively few participants compared with major sports at the national level. While that isn’t likely to shift in a major way any time soon, the number of NASCAR fans in the Tar Heel State and the expansion of NASCAR betting markets give North Carolina a real chance at leading the country in auto racing sports betting. We’re interested in who the NASCAR sports betting ambassadors will be, what exciting new auto racing bet types could evolve and which dark horse sports books could champion the industry.
Regulating betting-related harassment of college athletes
North Carolina’s sports betting regulators can draw from the experiences of more than 30 states that legalized sports betting before them. Nowhere is that more important than in designing responsible gambling practices. Evolving sports betting markets have led to evolving challenges around problem gambling. One example of this is the shameful practice of gambling-related harrassment of athletes. This form of abuse is particularly dangerous in states where sports betting on collegiate sports is allowed. Such is the case in North Carolina. How will regulators protect student athletes from this form of abuse? What types of educational marketing campaigns will be created? And how will abusive behavior online and during games be handled?
Best online sports betting apps in North Carolina
The legislation signed by Gov. Cooper allows for 12 online sportsbooks. Plus, the state’s two tribes will also receive tribal online sports betting licenses that will not count against the 12 commercial licenses.
When expanded sports betting launches in NC, there are a few online sportsbooks we can expect to see operating in the state. The following are the most likely online sportsbooks in North Carolina post-legalization:
Given that retail Caesars Sportsbooks are already legal sports wagering options in North Carolina, it would seem especially likely that an online Caesars Sportsbook NC would be among the options.
What we like: A robust menu of daily odds boosts; users’ accounts can be linked to the Caesars Rewards program to earn free bets; free stays and free meals at Caesars properties.
App Rating: 4.6
What we like: Some of the best daily odds boosts; great sports betting app design; good number of free-to-play games billed as “pools” for real money.
App Rating: 4.8
Like DraftKings, FanDuel also serves North Carolina with its daily fantasy sports site. And like DK, FanDuel is among the most popular online sportsbooks in the US. Expect to see an online FanDuel Sportsbook North Carolina.
What we like: First sportsbook to offer same game parlays; SGP offering still among the best today; some of the most competitive odds across the landscape.
App Rating: 4.8
What we like: Fantastic bet insurance promotions; the MGM Rewards loyalty program offers deals on hotel stays, dining and casino gaming.
App Rating: 4.8
Bet365, a European-based sportsbook, has been pushing in the US, and it’s possible North Carolina is on its radar. The Bet365 Sportsbook operates in five states, including Virginia, so some NC residents may already recognize it.
What we like: Signature odds “super boosts” among the best in the US; large betting menu with solid live wagering options.
App Rating: 4.8
BetRivers operates an online sportsbook in Virginia and several other states. BetRivers has no NC connection, and its interest in the state might be in question after it chose not to operate in Massachusetts.
What we like: “Tips” that detail advanced stats on bets; BetRivers iRush Rewards club provides strong promotions and intriguing special bets.
App Rating: 4.4
Other potential NC online sports betting apps
While the above online sports betting apps are very likely to launch, a host of others will also apply for licenses. Here are a few more online apps North Carolina sports betting enthusiasts are likely to see:
- ESPN BET
- Hard Rock Bet
North Carolina sports betting partnerships
The 2023 budget bill alters the online sports betting law passed in June. Instead of allowing 12 untethered sports betting licenses for commercial operators, the budget bill now requires all applicants to secure a “written designation agreement” with a pro sports team, PGA course or NASCAR track.
These agreements would be the exclusive way for an operator to get market access to the state, and they would also give the operator the right to build a retail sportsbook with the associated team’s venue.
As these partnerships are finalized, we will track them here. Expect top brands like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars to be among the first to secure partnerships.
Comparing North Carolina sports betting to its neighbors
|How old to bet?||21||21||21|
|Live Apps/Available sports betting Licenses||0/12 commercial, 2 tribal||13/18||11/No limit|
|# of Retail Sportsbooks||3 tribal books; up to 8 future books at sports venues||1||No retail sports betting in TN|
|Tax Rate||18% retail and online||15% retail and online||1.85% of Total Handle|
|College Betting||Yes||Yes, but not for in-state teams||Yes|
|Credit Card Deposits||Yes||Yes||No|
Where to bet on sports in North Carolina
While waiting for the launch of online sports betting, North Carolinians can place bets at the state’s three tribal casinos:
- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort (Cherokee)
- Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel (Murphy)
- Catawba Two Kings Casino (Kings Mountain)
Both Cherokee properties have a Caesars Sportsbook where visitors can bet on various professional and college sports. Both are located off the casino floor and feature huge television screens, including a 90-foot one at Harrah’s Cherokee. Both books have betting windows and kiosks, bar-top games and nearby food options.
The new sportsbook at Catawba Two Kings Casino that opened in September 2022 is 30 sports betting kiosks powered by International Gaming Technology. The area containing the kiosks is close to the slots and electronic table games on the main casino floor.
In-stadium sportsbooks in North Carolina
With the legalization of online sports betting, up to eight more retail sports betting locations could open at sports venues, golf courses and racetracks across the state. None until at least Jan. 8, 2024.
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North Carolina online sports betting’s pathway to legalization
Gov. Cooper signed legislation to legalize online sports betting in June, but getting online sports betting to the finish line has been a long time coming. Here is a brief list of the key moments in North Carolina’s sports betting history.
- May 14, 2018: The Supreme Court overturned the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act, taking away the national ban on sports betting and giving states the freedom to legalize it as they saw fit. North Carolina does not take early action on the new opportunity.
- July 26, 2019: In their first step towards legal online sports betting, the North Carolina legislature passes Senate Bill 154, legalizing retail sports betting and horse race wagering on tribal lands.
- March 18, 2021: Just in time for March Madness, Caesars retail sportsbooks at both Harrah’s Cherokee and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River open to the public. The buzz around online sports betting is increasing, and legislators have introduced mobile sports betting legislation.
- Aug. 19, 2021: Senate Bill 688, legalizing online sports betting, passes the Senate (26-19). The bill would authorize 10-12 online sportsbooks and provide for retail locations at various pro sports facilities.
- Nov. 4, 2021: The House Commerce Committee reports favorably on SB 688. Lawmakers then set the bill aside to revisit in 2022.
- June 6, 2022: SB 688 advances to the House floor but comes up one vote shy (51-50) of passing the House. This razor-thin defeat kills the advancement of online sports betting for the year.
- Sept. 7, 2022: The Catawba Two Kings Casino launches a third retail sportsbook in the state in its temporary casino in Kings Mountain just outside of Charlotte.
- March 13, 2023: Rep. Jason Saine renews the fight for online sports betting in North Carolina. He introduces House Bill 347, which would allow for up to 12 operators to establish mobile apps to conduct online sports betting in the state and makes room for retail sportsbooks at pro sports venues.
- March 30, 2023: In under two weeks, HB 347 clears the North Carolina House on a 64-45 vote and moves on to the Senate.
- May 30, 2023: HB 347 passes through its third senate committee, receiving amendments that alter the sports betting tax rate, launch date, taxation for promo offers, horse race wagering and revenue allotments for certain North Carolina universities.
- June 1, 2023: The Senate passes an amended version of HB 347 on a 37-11 vote.
- June 7, 2023: Less than a week after passing the Senate, the House concurs with Senate changes and gives final approval for legalizing online sports betting in North Carolina with a 69-44 vote.
- June 14, 2023: Gov. Roy Cooper signs HB 347 into law, legalizing online sports betting, and gives regulators a push to launch the new industry as soon as possible. The launch window is set to open on Jan. 8 and close on June 14, 2024.
North Carolina sports teams to bet on
North Carolina is the ninth-most populous state in the country, just ahead of Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia, three states where online sports betting is legal. It’s also a state where sports are especially popular, with multiple professional franchises and many colleges and universities with avid fan bases.
North Carolina professional sports teams
- Carolina Panthers
- Charlotte Hornets
The first Charlotte Hornets franchise debuted in the NBA in 1988. In 2002, the franchise relocated to New Orleans, but in 2004, a new one began in Charlotte as the Bobcats. In 2014, the team retook the Hornets name. The Hornets play their home games in the Spectrum Center in downtown Charlotte.
- Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL lay claim to the only professional sports title in North Carolina history, having won the Stanley Cup in 2006. The team became the Hurricanes in 1997, when the former Hartford Whalers relocated to Raleigh. The Hurricanes play home games at PNC Arena.
North Carolina college sports teams
- North Carolina Tar Heels
The University of North Carolina is one of college basketball’s best-known teams. The Tar Heels have won six NCAA titles, the third-most in history. UNC has also made 21 Final Fours, the most of any team during March Madness.
- Duke Blue Devils
Duke University also enjoys national prominence thanks to having won five NCAA men’s basketball titles, all under the leadership of head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
- North Carolina State Wolfpack
Just up the road from UNC and Duke in Raleigh is North Carolina State University, home of the Wolfpack. Though NCSU has less of a national profile than its neighbors, the Wolfpack have had a couple of extremely memorable March Madness moments, both resulting in NCAA titles: 1974 and 1983.
- Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest University had been located just north of Raleigh until moving about an hour west to Winston-Salem in the 1950s. The men’s basketball team has not won an NCAA title, but it has one Final Four appearance and several other deep runs to its credit.
Several other schools in North Carolina also compete in Division I in basketball and/or the FBS in college football:
- Appalachian State Mountaineers
- Campbell Fighting Camels
- Davidson Wildcats
- East Carolina Pirates
- Elon Phoenix
- Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs
- High Point Panthers
- North Carolina A&T Aggies
- North Carolina Central Eagles
- Charlotte 49ers
- UNC Greensboro Spartans
- UNC Wilmington Seahawks
- Western Carolina Catamounts
- Queens University of Charlotte is also transitioning to NCAA Division I men’s basketball, with the Royals due to become an active DI member in 2026-27.
North Carolina Responsible Gambling
Responsible gambling services in North Carolina provide several treatment and recovery services for residents.
The North Carolina Problem Gambling Program includes online and in-person education and training for counselors and prevention and outreach programs.
More Than a Game is a comprehensive gambling assistance program that offers immediate support via:
- Email at https://morethanagame.nc.gov/about-us/contact-us/;
- Live chat at morthanagame.nc.gov;
- Phone at 877-718-5543;
- Text by sending morethanagamenc to 53342.
The North Carolina Council on Problem Gambling, an affiliate of the National Council on Problem Gambling, helps compulsive gamblers and their families find counseling and assistance.
Latest NC sports betting news
North Carolina sports betting FAQ
You must be at least 21 years old to gamble in North Carolina. The three tribal casino sportsbooks are the only places you can legally wager on sports in North Carolina until online sports betting launches in 2024.
No. You only need to be located within state boundaries to bet on sports in North Carolina.
The Tribal Gaming Commission for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians regulates gambling at the two Harrah’s locations, including at their retail sportsbooks. The Catawba Nation Gaming Commission regulates the Twin Kings Casino retail sportsbook. The state of North Carolina has some oversight to ensure tribes comply with the respective tribal-state compacts. North Carolina’s expanded sports betting, including statewide online sports betting and horse race betting, is regulated by the North Carolina Lottery Commission.
In July 2019, the North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 154, which enabled wagering on sports and horse racing on tribal lands in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The bill had strong support, with the Senate voting 43-7 in favor and the House at 90-27 before Gov. Cooper signed it. In June 2023, Cooper signed House Bill 347 to legalize online sports and horse race betting in the state. It also expanded retail sports betting options.
Yes, and expanded sports betting in the state also allows for wagering on collegiate sports.