© 2024 WFAE

Mailing Address:
8801 J.M. Keynes Dr. Ste. 91
Charlotte NC 28262
Tax ID: 56-1803808
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Online sports betting kicks off in North Carolina March 11

Online sports betting goes live in North Carolina March 11
Online sports betting goes live in North Carolina March 11

In 10 days, online sports betting goes live in North Carolina, just in time for college basketball’s March Madness tournaments. Starting March 11, people will be able to use online apps to place bets on professional and college sports. Preregistration for these apps starts March 1.

State officials predict nearly $7 billion dollars in online bets will be placed in the first year alone. Langston Wertz, Jr., a Charlotte Observer sportswriter tells WFAE "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn that people appear excited to have an easier option to in-person sports betting, which was legalized in North Carolina in 2019.

Langston Wertz, Jr.: I’m sure a lot of people will be downloading apps and learning how to do the sports betting thing, but it’s going to be legal to do it in North Carolina on websites and computers. Previously, you had to go to Kings Mountain or the Cherokee casino to gamble. And if you won, you had to go back to get your winnings. It wasn't very convenient for people. Now you can just open your phone and gamble and that's a good thing but, it can also be a bad thing because it's so easy, and this money, you don't necessarily see leaving, you know, because it's just digital money and it's gone.

Gwendolyn Glenn: I don't know about you Langston, but I've been seeing all of these commercials from sports booking companies like Fanduel. They have been bombarding the airways with their commercials.

Wertz: Yeah, yeah, I've seen Kenny Smith and Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) like every two seconds saying sports betting is coming to North Carolina. So, if you didn't know, it's hard to not know now because those ads are running on repeat, repeat, repeat. You know, there's a lot of public interest and these companies want to get the word out.

Glenn: How many sports betting companies are approved to operate in North Carolina and how many do you know that are ready to kick off on March 11th?

Wertz: There are 12 allowed but eight that I know of that will be ready to take off. I'm assuming that the contracts will be signed for those other four very shortly, particularly if North Carolina does well, which I think it will. You can even bet horses in North Carolina and only 10 states allow horse betting. So, I'm sure within a very short amount of time we'll have those 12 out of 12 signed.

Glenn: And Speaking of the sports, tell us what specific sports will people be allowed to bet on.

Wertz: You can bet on just about everything—football, basketball, hockey and NASCAR. You can even bet on E sports. But the big thing in North Carolina, you can bet on college sports. Some states don't allow college sports betting, but obviously with North Carolina being the hoop state and home of college basketball in some respects, you'll be able to bet you know how many points a player is going to score or if a team can win. So, I think those are probably going to be among the biggest bets in North Carolina.

Glenn: Also, I've been reading that people will probably be betting on the rankings of college athletes as they're going into the drafts. Is that something you've been reading about?

Wertz: I'm not a bettor Gwen, but you can bet on virtually anything. They have these things called parlays, multiple layers of betting where you can bet if Steph Curry has scored 20 points and they're (Golden State) for instance, playing the Lakers. You can bet how many points the teams are going to score, but to win, Steph Curry has to get 20 points, LeBron James has to get 10 rebounds.

Glenn: Now one of the things that I was wondering about, can people from other states bet on sports in North Carolina online or do you have to be in North Carolina?

Wertz: You have to be in North Carolina to bet on North Carolina sports and you have to turn on your location finder on your phone so they know where you are. It's kind of like when you do the online lottery right now. They have to verify where you are to add money to your account, so when you bet you have to turn on your location finder.

Glenn: You also have to be 21. What have you been hearing in terms of how they plan to make sure that bettors are 21?

Wertz: You know, I'll be honest, I've wondered that same thing and I haven't seen or heard a really good answer. You know, as with most things, people are gonna find ways around roadblocks, and I think you will have kids and teams gambling.

Glenn: But even before March 11, are young people engaged in sports betting and getting other people to put bets out there for them.

Wertz: Yeah, I hear it all the time. Absolutely and especially online. There are just ways to get around anything and kids are a lot better at that a lot of times than adults. But so yeah, there's going to be some kids playing, and that's just the reality of the days and times we live in.

Glenn: Well, let's talk about the money part of it. How much money are they predicting the state will bring in once online betting kicks off?

Wertz: I haven't seen any concrete figures. I'm hearing $100 million but I've seen all kinds of numbers. I don't know what it is, but I do know that they're predicting the tax is going to bring in $42 million in five years. So, you know that's going to add up to the hundreds of millions of dollars for the state down the road.

Glenn: OK, so the state is going to be bringing in money in tax revenue and licensing fees of $1 million per operator as well. So how are they proposing to spend this money?

Wertz: Some of the universities are going to get some of the money, some of the statewide services are going to get some of the money—Parks and Recs and we'll see just have to see if that happens.

Glenn: What are you hearing in terms of any concerns about people becoming addicted to online sports betting? Because I’ve read that people who probably would never go to a casino, never go to, you know, Las Vegas or Atlantic City to gamble, but they bet on sports.

Wertz: I mean, anecdotally, I know a lot of people that do online sports betting and they seem to have a pretty good handle on it. But you know, for everyone that does have a good handle on gambling, there's probably two or three that do not. You know, North Carolina is preparing for that. The North Carolina problem gambling program is preparing for a spike in people needing their services, particularly young adults and kids. They're also going to get $2 million a year from the state through the state tax (on the betting companies) to expand their program in a lot of places where you can gamble. Also, Gwen, these betting outlets will have signage there saying, if you have a problem, here's the number to call. That number is 1-800-GAMBLER, so it's very easy to remember and again, I just think people need to remember, you know, if you win 10 grand gambling, Uncle Sam's coming to see you.

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Select Your Email Format

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.