Several sports betting operators have set their sights on entering the emerging North Carolina market since sports betting legislation passed in 2021. To meet the state’s recommended application deadline of December 27th, 2023, seven operators submitted proposals to the North Carolina Lottery Commission (NCLC), the regulatory body overseeing the licensing process.

The NCLC has confirmed that the seven operators currently seeking licensure to operate NC sports betting apps are FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings Sportsbook North Carolina, Fanatics Betting & Gaming, Bet365, Penn Sports Interactive, and Underdog Sports Wagering. Caesars Entertainment has also applied for a supporting service provider license.

While an official launch date has not yet been announced, Governor Roy Cooper has expressed a desire to have North Carolina sports betting up and running in time for the busy March Madness college basketball tournament. This likely means sports fans can expect to start placing legal wagers via NC sportsbook promos and apps sometime in March 2024.

The NCLC could solidify target launch plans during upcoming committee meetings on January 4th and 10th now that the initial licensing applicant list has been finalized. A launch date of March 19th, 2024 would give operators a few days to test platforms before the March Madness frenzy kicks off on the 21st.

As part of legislation requirements, operators must secure partnerships with professional sports entities based in North Carolina before licensure. Currently, four of the seven applicants have announced deals – Bet365 with the Charlotte Hornets, ESPN Bet with Quail Hollow Club, Fanatics with the Carolina Hurricanes, and FanDuel with the PGA. More partnerships are likely to follow shortly.

While the seven operators who met the initial December deadline will likely be first to market, the door remains open for additional sportsbooks to join North Carolina’s market later pending licensure and security of local team partnerships. For statewide sports fans, the clock is ticking towards a March madness for legal wagering.

✅ Fact Checked on January 27, 2024 by Ken Weaver