All about sports betting in NC

State is about to allow legal gambling on sporting events

A person gambles as betting odds for NFL football's Super Bowl are displayed on monitors at the Circa resort in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The ACC men’s basketball tournament tips off on Tuesday, March 12. In North Carolina, however, March Madness gets its start a day earlier.

At noon on Monday, March 11, the state will allow residents to bet legally on sporting events. As you may have seen from the commercials for online sportsbooks that have saturated the airwaves and internet, plenty of companies are lining up to provide this service for North Carolinians once the light turns green.

Here’s what you need to know as the state moves into a new era:

What is happening?

For most of the last century-plus, just about all forms of gambling have been illegal in much of the country. That included North Carolina. There has been a gradual loosening of these regulations, however. First, state lotteries became widespread, with North Carolina adopting the a lottery in 2005.

Sports gambling has also spread throughout the country. In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law outlawing sports gambling everywhere but Nevada. That left the decision on whether to allow residents to bet on sports in the hands of each individual state.

In the half dozen years since, more than 30 states have legalized sports gambling in some form. Still more are in the process of moving toward legalization.

North Carolina joined that group last year. The legislature passed a bill, signed by Governor Roy Cooper, putting the state on the path to legal sports gaming. On Monday, it becomes the 35th state that will allow people to bet on sports.

What can I do?

Up until now, sports gambling in the state was only legal at Native American casinos in Murphy and Kings Mountain. A 2019 state law permitted those casinos to open sports books. Now, starting Monday, residents will be able to bet on sports using online betting sites.

Later this year, eight new sportsbooks will open allowing for in-person betting on sports. Many are located near sporting venues, including ones near PNC Arena, the Spectrum Center and Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte and several speedways.

What can I bet on?

Many states have put restrictions on which sports are eligible for wagering—often excluding college sports involving local teams. However, there are no such limits in North Carolina. Bettors can put money on UNC, NC State, Duke or any of the other college teams across the state, as well as betting on the full range of professional sports, from the NBA to MLB to boxing or UFC.

Where do I go?

If your television is currently on, there’s a good chance an ad for one of the online sportsbooks about to go live is running at the moment. If not, here’s a quick rundown of which online sites will be available for North Carolina bettors.

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission, which has been tasked with regulating sports gambling in the state, can approve up to 12 licenses to online books. Late last month, eight of them were approved: FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, bet365, ESPN BET, Underdog Sports and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The biggest name that appears to be missing from that list is Caesars, but that leading online gambling company is working with the Eastern Band of Cherokee and has had exclusive rights for online wagering at the Native American casinos in the state.

Bettors are already able to register with the online sportsbooks—that process started on March 1. They will go live and begin taking bets at noon on March 11

How do I bet?

If you’re brand new to sports betting, here are the main types of sports bets:

Point-spread—People betting on the team expected to win (the favorite) need to give up a certain number of points, while bets on the team not expected to win (the underdog) are given points So, if Duke is favored by 3.5 points against Virginia Tech, then bets on Tech will pay off if the team loses by 1, 2 or 3 points (since Virginia Tech is being “given” 3 points), while Duke needs to win by 4 or more in order for bets on the Blue Devils to win.

Moneyline—Instead of adjusting the point totals, the difference between favorites and underdogs requires wager amounts and payouts to be adjusted. So, if Duke is -125 moneyline, then you need to risk $125 in order to win $100 when you bet on Duke. If Virginia Tech is +125, then a $100 bet on the Hokies will pay off at $125. Bets on individual sport matches (boxing, tennis) are usually moneyline.

Props—Instead of betting on the result of a game, you are betting on certain events happening. You can bet on whether NC State will win the ACC Tournament, whether UNC will make the Final Four, whether Lebron will score 20 or more points in his next game, or whether the national anthem at the Super Bowl will be longer than two minutes.

Live betting—Instead of placing a bet pregame and waiting until it ends to see if you can win, online betting allows gamblers to place bets during the game, with odds constantly changing as play continues.