North Carolina Sports Betting Poised to Join Exclusive $1 Billion Club

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North Carolina Tar Heels fans cheer against the Villanova Wildcats. Scott Halleran/Getty Images/AFP.

North Carolina sports betting just launched and there’s already talk that it could generate big bucks for the Tar Heel state.

With nearly 11 million residents and the potential to have as many as nine online sportsbooks, generating a billion dollars in a single month (New Jersey and Nevada are among the states in this select group) and quickly becoming one of the top five in revenue is not out of the question for North Carolina.

Why? The first two days of sports betting in North Carolina started with a bang on March 11. The company GeoComply, which checks where bets are made and how many people are betting, shared information showing that North Carolina is quickly becoming one of the top states for sports betting.  Within the first 48 hours of the state’s launch, nearly 5.4 million geolocation checks were recorded.

North Carolina Surpasses Virginia

When comparing the GeoComply numbers for the same period in Virginia, you’ll find the Old Dominion registered about 2 million checks. Roughly 370,000 people had online betting accounts in North Carolina during the first two days of legalized betting. That’s a lot more than the 134,000 accounts in Virginia.

When you add it all up North Carolina had nearly 2.5 times the geolocation checks and active accounts than Virginia. The majority of the location checks came from accounts in the central part of the state from the cities of Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Raleigh-Durham.

Senior Vice President of Compliance at GeoComply, Lindsay Slader said in a press release, “It’s early, but North Carolina is already delivering on lawmaker expectations when they legalized online sports betting last year. The state’s well-structured approach to mobile sports betting safeguards consumers and opens up significant revenue streams. With March Madness around the corner, we are excited to see continued growth.”

Big Betting Figures Translate to Big Tax Revenue Generation 

In fiscal year 2023, Virginia generated $67 million in gambling tax revenues, while Tennessee piled up $83 million. 

Given its larger population, North Carolina is expected to outpace both states in tax revenue collection. Christopher McLaughlin, a UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government professor, estimates that North Carolina could reach $100 million in tax revenues within a few years.

The handle projections back it up. Based on Virginia’s betting activity, it’s possible that North Carolina’s sports betting handle could exceed $750 million this year.

Expect Skyrocketing Numbers in North Carolina

The timing of the launch is also helping fuel North Carolina’s big sports betting numbers out of the gate. Lots of people are betting on their in-state college basketball teams, and the NCAA Tournament is just around the corner. Some say that could produce as much as $500 million in revenue. Experts say we’ll get a better feel for the market’s full potential when the NFL resumes in the fall. 

Currently, eight operators are live, each offering various betting options in partnership with sports entities:

  • bet365 with the Charlotte Hornets
  • BetMGM with Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Caesars Sportsbook with Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise Cherokee
  • DraftKings with NASCAR
  • Fanatics with the Carolina Hurricanes
  • FanDuel with the PGA Tour
  • ESPN BET North Carolina with Quail Hollow Club (PGA Tour course)
  • Underdog Sports with McConnell Golf

The successful launch of sports betting may be followed up quickly by the launch of online casino games in North Carolina. Lawmakers are already working on it. We’ll keep you posted.