With 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs distributed across its public and private universities, North Carolina possesses a thriving collegiate sports culture woven into the fabric of the state. This passion for college athletics, especially football and basketball, makes North Carolina an ideal market as legalized sports betting launches in 2024.

While powerhouse sports states like California, Texas and New York may boast more Division I schools, North Carolina packs a mighty punch on a per capita basis. In fact, North Carolina ranks 3rd nationally with approximately one DI athletic department for every 601,000 residents. Given its mid-sized population hovering around 11 million, no state nurtures a more intimate relationship with college sports per person than North Carolina.

Let’s take a look at some of North Carolina’s D1 institutions

Public Universities:

  • Appalachian State University
  • East Carolina University
  • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T)
  • North Carolina Central University (NCCU)
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNC Asheville)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte)
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC Greensboro)

Private Universities:

  • Campbell University
  • Davidson College
  • Duke University
  • Elon University
  • Gardner-Webb University
  • High Point University

The roots of this phenomenon trace back to 1789 when the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill was chartered, becoming the nation’s first state university. Over the next century, prominent universities like Duke, Wake Forest and NC State further enriched the state’s collegiate sports footprint.

Fast forward to 2024 and legal North Carolina sports betting stands ready to capitalize on generations of college allegiance. Caesar Sportsbook North Carolina and BetMGM North Carolina are likely to unleash bespoke promos involving Division I teams as they vie for market share. The allure of a BetMGM North Carolina bonus code “Tar Heels” or “Blue Devils” March Madness promotion already tantalizes fans.

Of course, the tight embrace between universities and sports gambling also poses challenges. With nearly a fifth of the U.S. college betting market opening at once, responsible gambling measures will be crucial alongside strict integrity policies. The regulatory framework must empower consumer choice while protecting students and the spirit of amateur competition through prudent oversight.

If executed properly, North Carolina presents a goldmine opportunity. Not just for sportsbooks who stand to profit, but for universities, local communities and the economy overall. With more Division I programs than nearly any peer state, North Carolina offers a thriving collegiate sports ecosystem where regulated sports wagering promises to elevate engagement and entertainment value responsibly.

✅ Fact Checked on January 17, 2024 by Ken Weaver