Eight sports gambling companies received North Carolina government licenses on Thursday so they can accept wagers from people in the state from mobile devices and computers in less than two weeks.

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission, which is tasked to oversee a 2023 law that authorized sports gambling, announced successful initial applicants for the interactive sports wagering operator licenses.

The commission had already announced that the first licensees could begin taking wagers at noon March 11 — the day before the start of the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament. Customers can bet on professional, college or Olympic-style sports.

In preparation, starting at noon Friday people 21 and over can register with an operator, set up accounts and make monetary deposits.

The license issuance “represents a major milestone in establishing legal sports betting in North Carolina,” commission Chair Ripley Rand said in a news release.

The commission at first announced seven licensees: BETMGM and Underdog Sports Wagering, along with companies doing business as FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings, Fanatics Sportsbook, bet365 and ESPN BET. Later Thursday, the commission added to the approved list an entity associated with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which already operates in-person sports gambling at its two casinos in western North Carolina.

An application associated with the Catawba Indian Nation, which also provides in-person sports gambling at its casino west of Charlotte, also has been turned in, according to the commission.

The new law authorizes in-person betting beyond the casinos, but that won’t begin right away. Successful wagering company applicants had to enter an agreement with an in-state professional team, or certain pro golf or automobile racing venues or governing bodies. Some of those agreements have been made public.

North Carolina is set to become the 30th state, along with the District of Columbia, to offer mobile sports betting, according to the American Gaming Association.

The state will tax sports wagering and could generate over $100 million in revenues annually within five years, according to a legislative branch analysis.


Featured photo courtesy of Erin Martin/Elon News Network.