North Carolinians Wager Over $1 Billion on Sports Since Online Betting Launch

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Mascot Stormy of the Carolina Hurricanes performs before their NHL game against the Philadephia Flyers. Grant Halverson / Getty Images via AFP

In just under two months, the Tar Heel State experienced a significant surge in revenue from North Carolina’s online sports gambling after it was legalized statewide on March 11. 

The latest report from the North Carolina State Lottery Commission sheds light on the overall landscape of sports betting in North Carolina following the legalization of online wagers two months ago. 

Since March 11, when online betting was introduced, North Carolinians have collectively wagered over $1 billion on sports activities. When accounting for promotional wagers, the figure balloons to $1.308 billion.

Numbers Keep Going Up in North Carolina

According to data, the gross wagering revenue for March reached $66.5 million, resulting in nearly $12 million in state revenue at an 18% tax rate. 

In April, the numbers continued to rise, with gross wagering revenue reaching $105.3 million and state revenue totaling almost $19 million. 

Industry Experts Shocked By The Success in NC

These figures have surprised industry experts, as initial predictions were closer to $60 million for the entire year. Overall, it’s been an impressive start for sports betting in the Tar Heel State.

Robert Linnehan with Sports Betting Dime told ABC 9 News, “I don’t think the fiscal estimates that were provided with this bill thought they would come close to nearly $30 million in tax revenue already,” he said. “You couldn’t have asked for a much better start in the Tar Heel State, to be honest with you,” said Linnehan.

But at least one sports betting operator isn’t caught off guard by the success. “On a pound-for-pound basis, we expect that North Carolina is going to be one of the better states for sure,” Gary Deutsch, the chief financial officer for BetMGM, one of the eight operators in North Carolina, told WRAL news. “There’s fervent sports-fan interest. The population of fans for the different colleges down there should make that a big source of excitement.”

Where is The Tax Money Going?

The sports betting legislation, enacted in 2023, allocates a portion of the government’s proceeds to several initiatives. These include funding for athletic departments at 13 University of North Carolina system schools.

That’s a big deal at the Division II level where schools can’t count on ticket sales or media rights to erase losses. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, members of the Atlantic Coast Conference and with budgets exceeding $100 million, are not included in the law.

A portion of the sports betting tax revenue is also allocated to amateur sports programs, and resources for gambling addiction education and treatment efforts.

What’s Next for Sports Betting in North Carolina?

Before the widespread legalization of sports betting, North Carolina’s sports gambling landscape consisted of three casinos operated by two American Indian tribes.

The plan now will be to piggyback off the success of online sports betting because the legislation also enables in-person sports wagering, statewide betting on horse races, and live horse racing events. However, these provisions have not been implemented.  At least not yet. 

Expect that to change sooner, rather than later. We’ll keep you posted.