Online sports betting will legally start in North Carolina in time for March Madness.
Members of the North Carolina State Lottery Commission met Wednesday and confirmed a start date for mobile event wagering, which will be Monday, March 11 at noon.
On that date, licensed online sportsbook operators that have a certificate of compliance from the regulator can start offering and accepting wagers from North Carolina bettors. Any mobile wagering before then remains illegal.
North Carolina residents can also start pre-registering for online sports betting accounts with licensed operators on March 1, the commission decided. Adults 21 and older can deposit into their accounts at that time as well.
Confirmed: online sports betting will legally start in North Carolina on March 11. The state lottery commission just voted to confirm that date. Pre-registration can begin on March 1. https://t.co/CgbIhw9emU— Geoff Zochodne (@GeoffZochodne) January 24, 2024
The timing of the launch should work well for basketball-crazy North Carolina, even if it is too late for this year's Super Bowl. Selection Sunday for the 2024 edition of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament is Sunday, March 17, and the first games are a few days later.
Gov. Roy Cooper had hoped for a pre-March Madness launch, and it now looks like he will get his wish. Cooper signed an online sports betting bill into law last year.
While there is limited legal sports betting in North Carolina at three tribal-owned casinos, the state lacks an authorized option for mobile wagering. Regulators have been working for months to change that fact, including by setting a proposed launch date during Wednesday’s meeting.
Based on interest from operators, North Carolina could have several online sportsbooks at launch, such as bet365 and DraftKings.
The lottery commission is also working to approve additional brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, but their opening will follow the mobile launch. The debut of pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing in North Carolina will come later as well.