North Carolina Sports Betting – Legislation, Timeline, and Latest Updates

North Carolina is primed to be a new home for online sports betting. Until now the state has only offered retail sports betting at two tribal casino locations in the state’s western portion. However, there is plenty of momentum toward mobile sports betting coming to the Tar Heel state in 2022.

And this seems like an opportune time to do so. North Carolina has had an eventful year on the sports field.

Coach K made a Final Four in his final season in a first-time showdown against crosstown rival UNC in a barn-burner. UNC was minutes away from a national championship in Hubert Davis’s inaugural year.

The Carolina Hurricanes got close to their first Stanley Cup title since Cam Ward willed his way to a championship in 2006. And even the Hornets are on the rise with some intriguing young guns like LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges.

Nearby states such as Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, among others, have been more aggressive than North Carolina in terms of legalization. This may have put some pressure on North Carolina lawmakers to move towards legalized mobile betting, and residents could see it launch as early as the fall if things progress according to plan.

Below we will review the sports betting history in North Carolina, the bill in place that could legalize mobile sports betting once and for all, and other ancillary details to make sure bettors know what’s what in NC.

North Carolina Capitol
North Carolina capitol building (Shutterstock)

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North Carolina sports betting history

As of 2021, sports betting is officially legal in North Carolina. However, only in-person at the state’s two tribal casinos.

SB 688 cleared the House Judiciary Committee in November 2021, opening the door for the potential legalization of online betting. It’s a heated topic of discussion right now in the NC state legislature. 

There is an expectation that this bill will pass without much opposition and officially legalize mobile sports betting throughout North Carolina, however, they’ve got to get it done by the end of June and no vote has taken place yet.

The Senate approved the bill in August of 2021, and it could pass quickly through the House if given the chance.

North Carolina has taken a similar approach to other states in the American south. They have sat back and watched the proliferation of mobile betting throughout the country from afar. But it appears their conservative stance is no more.

North Carolina Sports Betting Mobile

2022 NC sports betting hopes hang by a thread

A once promising position has soured considerably in the last few days. The North Carolina house voted down SB 688 by a 51-50 margin on its second reading on the floor on June 22nd. This most recent development makes it increasingly unlikely that sports betting will be legalized in North Carolina in 2022. Technically the session will run through June 30th, but there would need to be significant, quick progress for anything to happen.

One of the major complications surrounded a last minute amendment that would have completely banned wagers on all college sports. With the popularity of college sports in the state, like UNC, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, and others, it would have meant a significant hit to potential revenue.

Right now it looks like North Carolina will need to try again in 2023.

North Carolina’s online sports betting bill

So, what are some of the details in this North Carolina sports betting bill?

Up to 12 potential online operators would be allowed to take wagers in the Tar Heel state. In addition, professional teams with over 17,000 person-capacity stadiums can open a sports betting lounge.

Mobile licenses would cost $500,000 a year for five years for these online sportsbooks. After five years, sportsbooks could renew their licenses for $100,000 a year. 

In addition, these operators would be taxed at an annual rate of 8% on their adjusted gross revenue.

The current draft of SB 688 would also allow for wagering on in-state college sports. This isn’t the case in some states – many big-time markets ban this wagering altogether or do not permit wagering on in-state colleges.

For a state as integral to college sports as North Carolina, this provision would be a home run for its residents and any tourists passing through.

As for the legal online sports betting age? 21. Expect North Carolina to move forward with a pretty standard twenty-one and up age requirement for online wagering.

North Carolina’s online sports betting bill

The importance of geolocation

All online sports bettors in the United States may be familiar with “geolocation.”

Each sportsbook will use geolocation software to ensure their bettors are within a permitted area to place bets and use their app accordingly.

In order to optimize the use of geolocation, sports should enable a strong WiFi connection or formidable service to prevent any lag. But all in all, bettors will need to be within state borders to ensure there are no issues with your geolocation software.

Sometimes geolocation software can be confused with your location if you are on or near a state border. Therefore, if you are a few miles away from a state border, you should have no issues navigating your sportsbook app.

NC retail sports betting

Retail sports betting began in North Carolina in 2021, however, the locations are limited to the two tribal casinos in the more rural western part of the state. So for the majority of sports bettors in North Carolina, nothing has really changed. 

Both tribal casinos are Harrah’s properties, meaning they are now home to Caesars Sportsbook venues. These casinos are Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River. There is a third tribal casino, Catawba Two Kings, which is also planning to add a sportsbook, but it has not made any announcements yet. 

North Carolina CasinoRetail SportsbookLocation
Harrah's Cherokee Casino ResortCaesars Sportsbook777 Casino Drive
Cherokee, NC 28719
Harrah's Cherokee Valley RiverCaesars Sportsbook777 Casino Parkway
Murphy, NC 28906
Catawba Two KingsTBA538 Kings Mountain Blvd.
Kings Mountain, NC 28086

NC online sports betting

As discussed above, the Senate approved SB688 in 2021, and it is up to North Carolina’s House of Representatives to approve the bill in the North Carolina legislative session. If the bill passes, reports have expressed optimism that online sports betting could launch as soon as the fall of 2022 – maybe even in time for the NFL season.

Potential North Carolina online sportsbooks

The deal isn’t even signed yet, so this is all speculative, but with room for up to 12 sportsbooks in North Carolina, there’s going to be significant opportunity. With opportunity, comes the big names in US online sports betting. Expect all of the following to get involved in North Carolina, once able. Once legalized, we’ll update this section when we get confirmed North Carolina market access deals.

(1) FanDuel Sportsbook NC

Off of name recognition alone, many North Carolinians will be familiar with the sports betting conglomerate. Not only is FanDuel Sportsbook already active in North Carolina with their DFS app, but they are one of the biggest and more successful sportsbooks in all of the United States.

(2) DraftKings Sportsbook NC

DraftKings Sportsbook is one of the more prominent brands in the sports betting industry. Like FanDuel, DraftKings is already a DFS operator in the Tarheel State. DraftKings is typically very aggressive, with states preparing to launch sports betting in the past. There’s no doubt that they will offer betting in North Carolina once permitted.

(3) Caesars Sportsbook NC

We expect Caesars Sportsbook to be all over this launch. They are already active in the state’s two retail sportsbooks, so the transition should be an easy one. They’re a force to be reckoned with nationwide, and already have a leg up on the competition in-state. What more could you ask for?

(4) BetMGM Sportsbook NC

BetMGM Sportsbook is one of the fastest-growing sportsbooks in the United States. Having been available in Virginia and Tennessee, we expect BetMGM is a solid contender to join North Carolina upon launch.

The Latest North Carolina Sports Betting News

Professional Sports Teams in NC

Carolina HurricanesNHL
Carolina PanthersNFL
Charlotte HornetsNBA

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers 2022 watching experience could be a cathartic one. They’ve made solid upgrades along the offensive line, including 6th overall selection Ikem Ekwonu and return most of the production from the 2nd best defense in the NFL in terms of yards per game.

However, the biggest question still looms. Who will be under center week 1? Who will be under center long-term?

The Panthers have been rumored to be potentially in the Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo sweepstakes, but nothing seems imminent.

They did trade away a solid haul for 3rd rounder Matt Corral who will vie with Sam Darnold for the starting QB job this fall.

Time will tell how the quarterback room materializes, but with superstar Christian McCaffrey back, the Panthers will be a fun team that will look to make a jump from their 5-12 record. 

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes just fell short of trying to win their first Stanley Cup since their lone title run in 2005-06 behind the heroics of Cam Ward.

The Hurricanes have boasted one of the best teams in hockey during head coach Rod Brind’Amour’s tenure. But they haven’t quite broken through just yet – under the leadership of Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Jaccob Slavin, they’ll look to change that.

The Hurricanes fell in game 7 of the 2022 Eastern Conference semi-finals to the New York Rangers as of Memorial Day.

Charlotte Hornets

Even though the Charlotte Hornets have failed to make the postseason in the past six seasons, they are slowly improving. In the last three seasons, they’ve improved their win totals and have made the NBA play-in tournament in the previous two years.

Despite this, the Hornets relieved James Borrego of his head coaching duties. The Hornets possess one of the more promising head coaching vacancies in the NBA.

The Hornets have compiled an ample amount of young talent, including LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges. 

North Carolina college teams

UNC Tar HeelsNCAA Basketball
Duke Blue DevilsNCAA Basketball
NC State WolfpackNCAA Football
Wake Forest Demon DeaconsNCAA Football

UNC Tar Heels

The University of North Carolina is coming off a special year.

2022 was the first year without Roy Williams since 2003 for the Tar Heels, and they were just minutes away from hoisting the NCAAB national championship.

The regular season presented some roadblocks, but they made a nice surge into the tournament, including a win over Duke in Coach K’s final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels made the tournament as an eighth seed, stormed through their region, and won a rematch against Duke in the Final Four.

Although UNC fell just short in the national title against the Kansas Jayhawks, there’s plenty of promise going into next year as they return Caleb Love, Armando Bacot and RJ Davis.

Duke Blue Devils

The Duke Blue Devils basketball team underwent one of the more magnified seasons in NCAA history.

Legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski announced before the season that 2021 would be his final one. As the postseason inched closer, each game was over the national landscape.

And after faltering in Coach K’s final game in Cameroon Indoor and the ACC Championship, there were plenty of doubters.

However, the basketball team righted their wrongs and marched onto the Final Four. Although UNC defeated them in a rematch, Duke boasts plenty of promise next year under Jon Scheyer’s first season as the new head coach.

NC State Wolfpack

NC State is coming off a solid year on the gridiron. The college football team finished with a 9-3 record, and they received a bid to the Holiday Bowl. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to COVID, but under head coach Dave Doeren, they’ve made a bowl game in seven of his nine seasons.

Going into 2022, the Wolfpack may have their best team under Doeren, with stud quarterback Devin Leary leading the way.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Last year, Wake Forest’s football team had a storied year. They marched on to their first ACC title game against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Although they fell short, they went on to win 11 games, tying a school record.

Under head coach Dave Clawson, the Demon Deacons have made six straight bowl games. In addition, the Deacs will be returning one of the most prolific throwers in the entire country in Sam Hartman.

Other Division 1 programs in NC 

Appalachian State MountaineersSun Belt
Campbell Fighting CamelsBig South
Charlotte 49ersC-USA
Davidson WildcatsAtlantic 10
East Carolina PiratesAmerican Athletic
Elon PhoenixCAA
Gardner-Webb Runnin’ BulldogsBig South
High Point PanthersBig South
North Carolina A&T AggiesBig South
North Carolina Central EaglesMEAC
UNC Asheville BulldogsBig South
UNC Greensboro SpartansSoCon
UNC Wilmington SeahawksCAA
Western Carolina CatamountsSoCon

North Carolina sports betting promotions

As online sports betting creeps closer to legalization, sports bettors in North Carolina need to familiarize themselves with sports betting promotions. Sportsbooks will try to entice users to come on their book with welcome bonuses that include intriguing promotions.

(1) Risk-free bet in North Carolina

Many sportsbooks will offer risk-free bets to entice users to join as they are the most common sign up promotion. 

Risk-free bets are simple – they can act as insurance if you lose your first bet with your new sportsbook. For example, let’s say a sportsbook offers a risk-free chance for up to $50. You decide to place $50 on the Panthers Moneyline. You win the bet? Great, end of story. Enjoy your winnings. You lose? You will receive a $50 Free Bet. We will explain free bets in the following header. 

Once online sports betting is approved, and goes live in North Carolina, there will be plenty of risk-free bet promotions to take advantage of.

(2) North Carolina free bet

Free bets are given to new and existing customers to reward their loyalty and continue playing on their sportsbooks.

You can think of free bets essentially as free credits. If you have a free bet in North Carolina, you can use this to wager. If you lose, you don’t lose any real money. However, you will win whatever that payout would reward if you win. Let’s go over an example.

You have a $50 free bet and decide to place it on the Hornets spread at -110 odds. A $50 wager at -110 odds would potentially pay you out $95.95 with a profit of $45.45 plus your original $50 stake back. Typically speaking with free bets, you would not receive your initial stake back as a payout in a free bet. So, in this example, if you lose, you do not lose any real money, but your free bet is gone. If you win, you would win $45.45 that is now yours to keep – withdraw – bet with, etc. 

On some rare occasions free bets will return the original stake – so keep an eye out for those.

(3) Deposit match

A deposit match bonus is pretty much what it sounds like.

Sportsbooks will offer a deposit match bonus up to a certain amount of money. So, for example, a sportsbook may offer up to a $200 deposit match. If you deposit $200 into your account, the sportsbook would match that deposit with $200 in free bets.

Usually, you will need to follow through on a playthrough requirement where you wager your bonus bets, but ultimately at the end of the day, it’s money to bet with.

Possible betting markets available in NC

A market is a bet that will be available at a sportsbook. One of the great parts of the proliferation of sportsbooks around the United States is the ability to shop for different prices in similar markets.

For example, you may like the Panthers’ moneyline against the Falcons for the upcoming week. On one sportsbook, it may offer you -110 odds, and another may offer you greater odds at +100, which would give you a bigger payout. These are examples of similar markets at different prices. Below is a list of the most common markets you can bet on in sportsbooks.

  1. Spread
  2. Moneyline
  3. Over/under
  4. Prop bets
  5. Futures
  6. Teaser
  7. Parlay
  8. Live/in-game

Banking Options for NC sportsbooks

When sportsbooks come flooding into North Carolina, you will have most, if not all, of these banking options to deposit into your account and withdraw your winnings.

  • AHC eCheck
  • Bank wire transfer
  • Cash at the casino cage
  • Online banking
  • PayNearMe
  • PayPal
  • Play+ prepaid card
  • Skrill
  • Visa/Mastercard

North Carolina Sports Betting FAQ

Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?

Yes! Sports betting IS legal in North Carolina, though, only in-person right now. Retail wagering began in 2021 and there is an expectation that mobile wagering could get done in the coming years. Once the right bill is agreed upon, sports betting would be fully legal in the Tar Heel State – online AND in-person.

What is the legal sports betting age in North Carolina?

The legal sports betting age in North Carolina is 21. Once approved for online betting, the 21 and up number should carry over for mobile wagering too

When will mobile sports betting become operational in North Carolina?

Once online sports betting is approved, it usually takes a number of months and sometimes even years to launch online sportsbooks. North Carolina lawmakers would generally be incentivized to try to launch mobile sports betting before the next season football kicks off in the fall but at this stage, it is tough to tell.

Responsible Gaming Resources

When you bet on sports, it’s possible go down a rabbit hole of bad habits. Sports betting is at its best when it serves as a piece of entertainment, nothing more. Like going out to a movie or watching some Netflix, it’s best when it’s done in moderation. When sports betting gets past that point, there are plenty of responsible gaming resources available that you can tap into. These are great resources for people who may be battling an addiction, but these tools aren’t just for addicts:

(1) Self-exclusion list

Bettors in North Carolina can place themselves on a self-exclusion list if betting is becoming too tempting. If you are trying not to gamble, you can place yourself on a self-exclusion list which would ban you from using their sportsbook app for an allotted period of time.

(2) Deposit and session limits

Deposit and session limits are a great tool sportsbooks offer for all users. Bettors have the ability to limit the amount of money and time they expend on a sportsbook app. 

(3) Helplines

If you have a gambling addiction or feel you are trending in that direction, there are helplines you can call or text if you think you have an ongoing problem. Trained professionals are available to talk to you and help you receive your support.

For more information about problem gambling in North Carolina and other states, visit the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)’s treatment/resource finder by state.

  • Call the NCPG: 1-800-522-4700 (24-hour confidential national helpline)
  • Text the NCPG: 1-800-522-4700 (24-hour confidential national text service)
  • Chat with the NCPG: (24-hour confidential national chat service)

Derek Mountain

Derek Mountain

Derek Mountain works in the Boston area as an Evergreen Content Writer for Better Collective. Derek is a recent graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA where he majored in Philosophy and played football for five years as well as walking on the basketball team his freshman year. He has a passion for all things sports and sports betting, which led him to BC. He's a diehard fan for his Philadelphia Eagles and avidly supports the Phillies, Sixers and Flyers.

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