Sports betting will become legal in North Carolina beginning March 11. TV and radio are already flooded with advertisements for companies vying for gamblers' business.

Thursday, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission issued eight licenses to companies allowed to operate online sportsbooks. The names are already familiar to anyone who's heard or seen the ads: FanDuel, BETMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, ESPN BET and Underdog Sports. Later in the day Thursday, the commission added the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to the list.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians already has legalized gambling and sportsbooks on the Qualla Boundary, tribal land in western North Carolina. The new license will allow the Eastern Band to expand their gambling operations.

“Issuing the first interactive sports wagering operator licenses today represents a major milestone in establishing legal sports betting in North Carolina,” said Ripley Rand, chair of the North Carolina State Lottery Commission.

People 21 and older can start registering for the betting accounts at noon on Friday.

“We’re just 11 days away from the start of sports betting in North Carolina and we will be working every day between now and then to see that our launch is a successful one,” Rand said.

The newly legalized sports betting companies will start taking bets through mobile phones and other devices on March 11. The law passed last year will also allow for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks to be established near professional sports venues, like the PNC Arena in Raleigh and the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

The companies issued sports wagering licenses are:

  • Betfair Interactive US, LLC (dba: FanDuel Sportsbook)
  • Crown NC Gaming, LLC (dba: DraftKings)
  • FBG Enterprises Opco, LLC (dba: Fanatics Sportsbook)
  • Hillside (North Carolina), LLC (dba: bet365)
  • Penn Sports Interactive, LLC (dba: ESPN BET)
  • Underdog Sports Wagering LLC
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

The lottery commission said it received nine applications for interactive sports wagering licenses. Commissioners expect to approve licenses for more companies, the commission said.