Timeline for sports betting launch in NC coming into focus

Sean Coffey Image
Friday, December 29, 2023
Sports fans eagerly await for legalization of sports betting
The countdown to the launch of legal sports betting in North Carolina is on.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The countdown to the launch of legal sports betting in North Carolina is on, and this week an important milestone was reached in the rollout. On Wednesday, companies wishing to launch betting services in the state had to file their applications.

"I think it's amazing for the state of North Carolina, it should bring a ton of revenue," said Dustin Green, who was on his way to PNC Arena for Thursday's Hurricanes game. He's one of the millions of sports fans eagerly awaiting the rollout.

"It definitely adds to the excitement of the game we're watching. I actually just placed a little wager on the Hurricanes tonight, so hopefully they can come through for me," he said.

While North Carolina has already pushed back their initial deadline, legal sports betting could arrive here sooner than you think.

"You're looking at roughly the end of February when they would have the 60-day timeframe they need to go through and do all the background checks," said Brad Senkiw, a sports betting industry writer for Covers.com.

That 60-day timeline -- which allows companies time to familiarize themselves with North Carolina laws and regulations -- means legal betting likely won't be in play for the Super Bowl, but launching in time for another big-time money maker is in reach.

"You've heard Governor Cooper say that he wants this done in time for March Madness," said Senkiw. "He hopes to have this done in time for March Madness. Obviously, basketball is a big deal in the state of North Carolina. You've got the NCAA tournament coming to Charlotte."

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As far as the betting providers, Senkiw predicts some of the major players -- FanDuel, ESPN Bet, DraftKings, and Bet365, to name a few -- will be first in line, with some room for lesser-known outfits to follow. Legislation passed last year would allow up to 12 operators total, and with the homestretch now here it's mostly about compliance.

"They have to sign off on a law, a red tape here. A lot of paperwork has to be done because if you go against any of the rules and regulations, you could be fined heavily," Senkiw said.

Several of those large sportsbooks have already been approved to operate brick-and-mortar locations at North Carolina sports venues, including at Bank of America Stadium, Quail Hollow, and PNC Arena. Those companies that the state's already approved will not need to re-apply to operate mobile apps in North Carolina, and are currently ironing out any compliance issues.