After months of waiting, North Carolina has set March 11, 2024 as the launch date for online sports betting. This comes just in time for the exciting March Madness college basketball tournament.
Missing Out on Major Sporting Events
By not launching on January 8 when legally allowed, North Carolina will lose out on $21 million in tax revenue, projects CarolinaPlays.com. However, a March Madness debut could still recover $25-$30 million that would have been lost by waiting until the June 14 deadline.
The state missed taking bets for the NCAA Football Championship and NFL playoffs. Launching for the Super Bowl on February 11 became the next target. But regulators ruled that out in November.
March Madness Brings Hope
Getting sports betting before March Madness means North Carolina can capitalize on one of the biggest betting events nationwide. This is especially true with powerhouses Duke and UNC among this year’s top teams.
Tax Revenue Loss and Potential Recovery
In January and February 2023, comparable states Ohio and Virginia generated $28 million and $11 million in sports betting tax revenue, respectively. According to CarolinaPlays.com, North Carolina could have made about $21 million during those months.
By launching in March, the state can still counter some losses from a March Madness launch. NCSharp projects $7-$10 million in tax revenue for March.
Revenue Potential Through June
Ohio and Virginia earned $15.1 million and $14 million from April 1 to June 15 last year. North Carolina may generate $17-$18 million over that period even though betting slows after March Madness.
Vetting Sportsbooks and Regulations
The North Carolina Lottery Commission must vet sportsbook applicants within 60 days. Seven completed applications came in by the recommended deadline, fewer than the 11 available licenses.
Vetting includes reviewing over 1,000 pages of documents per applicant and running background checks. Once approved, each operator must have its internal controls for complying with regulations approved too.
Books can only launch after getting a Certificate of Compliance from the NCLC.
Promotions and Responsible Gambling
Starting March 1, North Carolinians can register early with sportsbooks and view pre-launch promos. With up to seven operators, many bonus offers will compete for business.
According to CarolinaPlays.com, all bettors should also read sportsbooks’ responsible gambling policies. Understanding problem gambling resources can aid North Carolina’s new sports bettors.
Projecting the Market
CarolinaPlays.com originally expected $6-$7 billion in first-year bets for North Carolina. With 2023 sports betting figures finalized, CarolinaPlays.com will soon update projections.
The launch comes not a moment too soon to salvage revenue from March Madness. With Duke and UNC title contenders, the state has much to gain from its long-awaited sports betting debut.