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Online sports betting begins in North Carolina: 5 things to know

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As of noon Monday, betting on sports online is legal in North Carolina. It comes as the ACC basketball tournament is scheduled to tip off Tuesday.

The legislature passed a new law to legalize sports wagers last year, tasking the North Carolina Lottery Commission with getting it all going. The commission approved licenses for eight companies to start taking bets online Monday.

Companies taking sports bets online

 

The companies approved to take bets so far have been flooding television and radio with commercials, trying to attract new customers ahead of Monday’s launch. That includes DraftKings, FanDuel Sportsbook and Fanatics Sportsbook, all national companies that already take bets in other states.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which has casinos on tribal land in western North Carolina, also won approval from the Lottery Commission.

The companies began registering players on March 1. People have to be at least 21 years old to place bets through the online services. 

The Lottery Commission issued licenses to:

  • Betfair Interactive US, LLC (dba: FanDuel Sportsbook)
  • BETMGM, LLC.
  • Crown NC Gaming, LLC (dba: DraftKings)
  • FBG Enterprises Opco, LLC (dba: Fanatics Sportsbook)
  • Hillside (North Carolina), LLC (dba: bet365)
  • Penn Sports Interactive, LLC (dba: ESPN BET)
  • Underdog Sports Wagering LLC
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

The companies will, at first, only be allowed to take bets online on smartphones and other devices. 

N.C. sports wagering law

 

The North Carolina General Assembly passed the sports wagering law in June. The vote split in the state House and Senate, but supporters mustered enough support to get it through both chambers. 

The law makes betting legal on all professional, collegiate and amateur sports, with the exception of youth sports. 

The legislation puts the responsibility for overseeing sports wagering on the North Carolina Lottery Commission. The commission is allowed to give licenses to up to 12 companies to take sports bets. 

The bill also legalizes betting on horse races and includes provisions for companies to set up physical sportsbooks. 

What about brick-and-mortar sportsbooks?

 

Now that online sports betting is underway in North Carolina, companies are also working to open sportsbook locations in the state. 

Physical sportsbooks, where people can place bets and watch games, will only be allowed near venues where professional teams play, like the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte and the PNC Arena in Raleigh. That does not include minor league teams like the Durham Bulls.

Sportsbooks can also be near NASCAR tracks that host at least one race per year. The law also allows a temporary sportsbook near big professional golf tournaments. 

The law also allows for bets on e-sports like video game tournaments. 

Sports wagering is big money

 

The sports betting industry in North Carolina is expected to grow quickly to billions of dollars. 

“With a population of more than 10 million, North Carolina will be the sixth-largest state in the nation that allows sports betting. Because of that, many in the gaming industry expect the state to quickly become one of the larger markets in the U.S.,” according to BetCarolina.com, which tracks the sports wagering industry in the state.

BetCarolina projects sportsbooks to take almost $6.5 billion in the first year. North Carolina will tax revenue on sports betting companies at 18%.

The state expects to bring in more than $100 million in annual revenue by 2027, according to budget estimates by staff at the state legislature.

What happens with the tax revenue?

 

The sports wagering law lays out how the tax revenue will be spent, with $2 million each year to help people with gambling addiction and $1 million to support youth sports. 

Much of the money will go to supporting athletics programs at all schools in the University of North Carolina System, except UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State University. 

The tax revenue will also be used to create a new fund to attract new big events to North Carolina, like music festivals and sports tournaments. 

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