Poll: Nearly Half North Carolina Adults Would Bet in Legal Market

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

North Carolina adults are ready for online sports betting to be legalized in their state. BetCarolina commissioned an online survey earlier this month to gauge interest in the Tar Heel State, and there’s quite a bit, as nearly half of those who participated said they would make a bet at least once a year, if not more often.

The poll also shows that 15% of North Carolina residents currently engage in sports betting, and 14% say they travel across state lines to place bets in Tennessee or Virginia, two neighboring states where online sports betting is legal.

North Carolina sports betting is already legal in some parts of the state. However, it is limited to just in-person wagering at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks located at the three tribal casinos.

Lawmakers in Raleigh, though, have tried to legalize online wagering statewide. A measure nearly succeeded last year, and supporters are hopeful a bill will go to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk this year for him to sign into law. It’s already passed the House, which is where last year’s bill stumbled.

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Large Market Awaits Sports Betting Operators

According to the survey, nearly a third of those who responded, 31%, said they were likely or very likely to bet if North Carolina sports betting apps become legal statewide.

If lawmakers pass a sports betting bill this year, 33% of those surveyed said they would wager at least once a year. In addition, 16% expect to place bets on a weekly basis or more frequently than that. That means that nearly half of North Carolina adults plan to bet at least annually.

It’s possible those numbers may understate the potential North Carolina market, as more than 72% of respondents were female. Sports betting tends to attract more men and higher-income earners. Less than 16% of those surveyed reported a household income of $100,000 or more.

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Panthers, Tar Heels Popular for Carolina Bettors

When asked who they looked forward to betting on, nearly a quarter of respondents, 24%, said they want to wager on the Carolina Panthers. The North Carolina Tar Heels, the state’s flagship university, was the second choice at 10%.

Major sports are popular markets for bettors, and the Panthers playoff chances will be of significant interest, but North Carolina residents are also interested in wagering on other activities.

For example, 36% of those polled said they would bet on reality television or awards shows. Some states, including Indiana, Michigan and New Jersey, allow wagering on the Academy Awards.

Political betting also drew some interest, as 14% said they would bet on the outcome of U.S. elections. Political betting is a popular market in Europe and other markets, but no American state with regulated sports betting has approved it yet.

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DraftKings, FanDuel Tops in Carolina

When sports betting becomes legalized, North Carolina residents say they want several sportsbooks from which they can choose. DraftKings is the most popular pick, with 22.4% of respondents saying the Boston-based operator is their preferred operator. Expect several options for a DraftKings North Carolina promo code when the state officially legalizes mobile sports betting.

FanDuel North Carolina was close behind, attracting 17.5% support.

Other popular operators include: BetMGM NC (7.5%), Caesars North Carolina (6.3%) and Hard Rock Sportsbook (5.4%)  


YouGov Plc conducted the survey for BetCarolina and fielded 997 online responses from adults 21 and older between May 10-15. The survey was carried out online, and the figures have been weighted and are representative of all North Carolina adults aged 21 and over. 

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Steve Bittenbender
Steve Bittenbender
Sports Betting Expert & Insider

As a writer and analyst for BetCarolina.com, Steve not only covers gaming news and developments in North Carolina but also provides insights into what they mean for bettors, licensed operators and the state. A veteran journalist with 25 years of experience covering sports, politics and business, Steve has reported on the gambling industry intently over the past five years.

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