Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill that was approved by the state’s legislators on Wednesday, essentially paving the way for sports gambling in North Carolina, a state with 10.50 million people living in it.
Moving forward, the state will proceed with the setup of its regulated gambling industry, which should take place in the first half of 2024. The exact launch date is still a moving target with some lawmakers expecting it to commence early in January or possibly start in the summer.
Readying to Launch Ahead of Big Events
Ideally, North Carolina would want to scoop up tax revenue from the Super Bowl and March Madness, the NBA Playoffs, and other events, but should this prove too ambitious of a timeline, it would have to settle for a later rollout date instead.
In the meantime, the North Carolina Lottery Commission will be tasked with getting the industry ready to launch. The law mandates that 12 interactive sports wagering licenses may be issued to eligible entities, which will offer both mobile and online sports betting. Some of the companies to enter will include Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM with Caesars already operating two retail sportsbooks in the state.
The general framework follows pretty much the same cut-and-dry language as most gambling laws in the United States so far, including a restriction on the activity to individuals who are 21 or older. The laws passed in the state are quite generous, in the sense that players may be on professional and college sports, as well as the Olympics, giving a fairly large field of possible betting options.
North Carolina is also expanding its gambling by a fair margin, as previously, only three state casinos operated by Naïve American tribes were allowed to run gambling activities, except for the lottery. Now, this is going to change dramatically with private companies entering the state and seeking to stake a share of the market.
Big Windfall for North Carolina’s Coffers
The applicable tax on sports betting in the state is set at 18% of the gross betting revenue, minus the winnings paid back to punters. According to initial estimates, North Carolina is due to claim $100 million in betting tax within five years, or $71 million in net revenue for the state. The money will be then redistributed to various athletics initiatives and programs.
North Carolina’s arrival in the fold of regulated sports betting is a huge milestone and one that will be celebrated in the state and beyond. Vermont also signed its own sports gambling law on Wednesday this week.