Legalized sports betting in NC to start in time for ACC basketball tournament, March Madness

Just in time for the biggest college basketball games of the year, sports betting will soon be legal throughout the state.

Starting at noon on March 11, sports betting will be legal across North Carolina. The N.C. Lottery Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the start date, which falls a day before the ACC men's basketball tournament's starting date on March 12. NCAA tournament play begins March 19.

After a 2018 Supreme Court ruling opened the doors for states to authorize sports gambling, Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 347, the Sports Wagering Bill, into law in June. The bill legalized sports betting across the state but tasked the Lottery Commission with determining a start date, which was required to be within 12 months of the bill’s passage.

“At the beginning of this project, the commission directed staff to implement sports betting as soon as practical and to do it in a complete, professional, transparent manner and with the highest standards of integrity,” Sterl Carpenter, the commission’s deputy executive director of gaming compliance and sports betting, said at Wednesday’s meeting. “We’ve done our best to meet this directive in a few short months.”

Sports bettors must be over 21 and will be able to wager on professional, electronic, amateur and collegiate sports. Although the law authorizes on-site sports betting at certain facilities like Raleigh’s PNC Arena, it does not do so for facilities that serve as the home arena for any college sports teams, like Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“Duke has been dealing with the effects of increased legalized sports wagering for several years, as many of our athletes and other Duke students have had opportunities to bet legally on sports,” Chris Simmons, vice president for government relations, previously wrote in a statement to The Chronicle. 

“This will undoubtedly impact our student-athletes as friends and classmates will increasingly participate in wagering,” he wrote. “We have worked with peers and industry experts on plans to enhance our education and monitoring systems and coordinated with our behavioral health team and others to provide support and resources as student-athletes navigate challenges.”

Up to 12 sports wagering operators can be granted five-year licenses by the state. Companies including Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and Fanatics are among those that have applied, though no certificates have been issued yet. Betting can be done via smartphones, but the geolocations of bettors must be within state boundaries.

The law issues an 18% tax on gross wagering revenue, directing it into gambling addiction education and treatment programs, the University of North Carolina system, a fund to bring sporting events to the state and the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council.


Jazper Lu profile
Jazper Lu | Centennial/Elections Editor

Jazper Lu is a Trinity senior and centennial/elections editor for The Chronicle's 120th volume. He was previously managing editor for volume 119.

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