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BETTING

Sports Betting Spikes During March Madness in North Carolina

North Carolina State Wolfpack fans NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Colorado
North Carolina State Wolfpack fans cheer during the first half against the Creighton Bluejays in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Ball Arena on March 17, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

GeoComply, a sportsbook geolocation service, reported sports betting in North Carolina increased a whopping 56% during the first two rounds of March Madness from the previous week.

Basketball Boost

North Carolina launched mobile sports betting just in time to take advantage of the explosion of wagering triggered by the arrival of March Madness. March 11th was the launch date and it gave North Carolinians just enough time to sign up at a sportsbook of their choice before the band began to play at the 2024 Big Dance.

GeoComply not only reported a 56% week-over-week increase during the first and second rounds of the men’s and women’s national basketball tournament but also 19.5 million geolocation transactions in North Carolina, which includes customers logging in, depositing funds, or making a wager.

During the period of March 21st to March 24th there were 743,000 unique active player accounts, a 39% increase over just a week earlier from March 14th through the 17th. It’s certainly not surprising considering North Carolina is a hotbed of college basketball with one of the most storied rivalries featuring Duke and the University of North Carolina. The two schools are located only eight miles apart and they have been playing each other for over 100 years.

Betting Boom

With that historic backdrop, the Spectrum Center in Charlotte was command central in the Tar Heel State for the opening round of the tournament as UNC and NC State both played in their home state on Thursday while Duke played the following day. All three teams advanced through the second round and landed in the Sweet 16 much to the delight of the hometown fans.

Once again, it is not surprising that the sports betting in Charlotte specifically increased 51% week-over-week in the first round versus the previous week while unique active player accounts saw a rise of 41% from the prior week.

Danny DiRienzo, senior director of government relations at GeoComply, noted, “I would expect as the number of events and available wagers diminishes that the engagement with the books would also decrease, but we’re not privy to the wagering information like handle which could very well go up even if activity goes down.”

So Far So Good

Naturally, the arrival of March Madness shortly after the mobile sports betting launch in North Carolina was expected to amplify the sports betting figures but even considering the tremendous uptick sparked by the men’s national basketball tournament, the data shows that North Carolina sports betting is exceeding expectations.

Over 1 million unique active player accounts have been created since the launch on March 11th, which is one for every six adults over the age of 21 in North Carolina.

“We expected North Carolina would be a very big market, not only due to population, but due to the rabid nature of sports fans,” DiRienzo said. “North Carolina is a mecca for college basketball and being live for the readiness of the NCAA tournament was huge in terms of the interest in NC, but you could say this was higher than expected.”

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