What You Should Know About North Carolina Sports Betting Friday Pre-Launch: FanDuel, ESPN BET, More Go Live

What You Should Know About North Carolina Sports Betting Friday Pre-Launch: FanDuel, ESPN BET, More Go Live article feature image

Photo by Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.

North Carolina online sports betting came one step closer to the real thing on Friday when sportsbooks began opening their pre-registration windows at noon ET. Actual online betting will then go live on Monday, March 11, so you'll have about 10 days to sign up early and claim a pre-reg offer.

What does this pre-registration window mean, exactly? You can't bet yet, but you can create accounts and claim promos that will only run during these 10 days.

1. Which Books Are Launching in North Carolina?

Eight operators have been approved for North Carolina licenses:

  1. FanDuel Sportsbook NC
  2. DraftKings NC
  3. Fanatics Sportsbook NC
  4. BetMGM NC
  5. ESPN BET North Carolina
  6. Underdog Sports NC
  7. bet365 North Carolina
  8. Caesars Sportsbook

These sportsbooks collectively combine to control almost the entire legal U.S. market, with DraftKings and FanDuel at an estimated 75% or more.

Underdog will make its sports betting debut after years of operating as a fantasy football and pick'em product across the country.

2. Should I Claim the Early Offers, or Wait Until Launch?

We don't have Friday's pre-registration offers, but I believe it will make sense to claim them now. Most of these books in the past have offered something additional for signing up early, and you can still sign up with the normal launch offer on March 11 or after.

I like to think of pre-reg offers in three buckets:

  • Additive, or extra: You'll get something early for signing up, plus you'll still get the normal launch offer. This is what FanDuel ran in Kentucky — you got $100 extra bonus bets for signing up early, plus $200 at launch. bet365 in Kentucky (the most recent big state launch until NC) gave out a bet $1, get $365 bonus pre- and post-launch, but also gave out $10 extra for every touchdown scored in Packers-Lions on launch day, only if you signed up early.
  • Pick one or the other: If you sign up early, that's the offer you get. If you wait until launch, you get a different offer. Typically, the pre-launch offer is just as good or better.
  • Same: The offer will be the same if you sign up early or at launch on March 11.

One note I will make is that sportsbooks sometimes run deposit matches on top of these "bet a little, get some bonus bets" offers. DraftKings runs two offers at once — one with bonus bets, and one a deposit match; so does ESPN BET with its Eligible Cashback promo. So don't make your first deposit until betting actually goes live, so you can maximize the deposit matches.

3. Can I Get the Offers if I Signed Up in Another State?

In short, no. If you signed up at FanDuel Sportsbook in Virginia for example, you won't be eligible for the full new-user offer. If you've only played DFS at FanDuel, you'll still get the full bonus.

In Kentucky and Massachusetts, two state launches in the last year, both FanDuel and DraftKings sent existing users a smaller bonus to try to get users back on the platform when they went live in their home state.

All sportsbooks now have universal wallets, meaning you share an account across states. You also can't

4. Are the Offers Better in North Carolina Than Other States?

Typically, yes. Sportsbooks roll out the red carpet for new users in new states, especially ones as big as North Carolina. And with no real gambling history in the state, smaller books may see NC as an opportunity to unseat FanDuel and DraftKings a bit.

Depending on what the sportsbooks are seeing in their data, the elevated offers should last 3-4 weeks, so you can expect some strong North Carolina sports betting promos through most of March Madness.

5. Other Resources

Modern U.S. sportsbooks have ushered in a completely new era of online sports betting with product innovations, new markets, promotions for existing users and so much more. If you're new to this world, here are some articles that might be helpful:

  • How to determine which odds boosts and promos are worth bettingSportsbooks are competing for your attention and dollars, and one way they do that is with promos, boosts and bonuses for existing users — not just ones creating new accounts. The trouble is, there's a lot of bad boosts you shouldn't play.
  • Same game parlay guideThis is something I wrote ~2.5 years ago but still holds up. Everyone will quickly fall in love with same game parlays because it's ridiculously addictive trying to turn $10 into $10,000 in two hours. This should provide some interesting insights and things to think about when betting them.
  • How to optimize bonuses: We'll do a specific guide for NC, too, but this is kind of a catch-all on what the bonuses mean, the best ways to use them, etc.
  • Turn on notifications for all the books so you don't lose the free bets. They'll typically send you reminders when your free bets are about to expire, and again they expire in seven days usually. That means you have seven days to use them, not necessarily when the bet will settle — i.e. you can bet UNC to win the national title on March 17 if your free bet is about to expire, even though the bet wouldn't actually settle until April.
  • How to get verified quickly: Sportsbooks will sometimes put you in a purgatory while they verify your account. To give yourself the best chance at immediate verification, make sure the info you enter matches what's on your license. Each book is required to tie your identity to your account, so you can't create multiple accounts.

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.