NC bet $198 million in first week online sports betting became legal

North Carolinians wagered $198 million in the first week of legalized online sports gambling in the state — a figure boosted by the ongoing NCAA basketball tournaments and a flood of promotional dollars handed out by sportsbooks to entice people to place bets, the North Carolina Lottery Commission announced Wednesday.

North Carolinians also received $141 million from those bets, according to state sports gambling director Sterl Carpenter.

The ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament started March 12, which was the day after online sports betting launched in North Carolina. It contributed to the totals, Carpenter said.

Carpenter noted the performance of NC State and North Carolina, whose teams advanced in the men’s and women’s tournaments.

NCAA Tournament men’s basketball

  • No. 1 seed North Carolina plays No. 4 seed Alabama on Thursday night in the Sweet 16
  • No. 11 seed NC State plays No. 2 seed Marquette on Friday night in the Sweet 16
  • No. 4 seed Duke plays No. 1 Houston on Friday night in the Sweet 16

NCAA Tournament women’s basketball

  • No. 3 seed NC State plays No. 2 seed Stanford on Friday night in the Sweet 16
  • No. 7 seed Duke plays No. 3 seed UConn on Saturday night in the Sweet 16.
  • No. 8 seed North Carolina was eliminated in the second round of the tournament by No. 1 seed South Carolina.

Carpenter told state lottery officials that in the first 12 hours sports gambling was legal on March 11, about $24 million was bet in the state and about $13 million was paid out to winners.

Carpenter told the commission that nearly $600 million in wagers are expected in the first month of legalized betting in the state. That’s comparable to the rollout in Massachusetts, where mobile gambling started in 2023.

Carpenter couldn’t say how much tax revenue it would generate yet. That’s because the numbers must be audited and adjusted before they have a final total.

NCAA president urges state lawmakers to ban prop betting on college athletes

NCAA President Charlie Baker said on social media Wednesday that prop bets are threatening the integrity of college sports and leading to athlete harassment.

Baker urged lawmakers in states with legal wagering on sporting events to ban betting on individual player performances of collegiate athletes.

“Sports betting issues are on the rise across the country with prop bets continuing to threaten the integrity of competition and leading to student-athletes getting harassed,” Baker said in statement posted on social media. “The NCAA has been working with states to deal with these threats and many are responding by banning college prop bets.”

Prop bets let gamblers wager on statistics a player will accumulate during a game.

The NBA has opened an investigation into Toronto Raptors two-way player Jontay Porter amid gambling allegations related to his own performance in individual games.

Many states have already banned prop bets on college athletes. Gaming regulators in Ohio, Vermont and Maryland have removed prop betting on college athletes online and in sportsbooks.

However, it doesn’t appear that North Carolina lawmakers will follow suit anytime soon. State Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, the main backer of sports betting in the state House, said they will not consider it this year.

State Sen. Jim Perry, R-Lenoir, the main backer in the North Carolina Senate, responded on the social media platform X, “It would be more productive to introduce legislation banning the NCAA.”