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Legal sports betting has arrived in the state of North Carolina! The state's Cherokee casinos made a big push to have sports betting live in time for March Madness, and the state's first sportsbooks officially opened their doors on Thursday, March 18th.
For the time being, online sports betting is not yet available in the state. We have seen other US states, such as Michigan, take this approach over the past year. The state's existing brick-and-mortar casinos are given a grace period to operate prior online and mobile sportsbooks entering the market.
With no legislation firmly in place regarding operating fees or revenue tax rates, it is hard to make a prediction on just what books will enter the North Carolina market when online sports betting comes available.
That being said, NC is a massive sports market. With professional teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLS, as well as UNC, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, App State, and East Carolina, there is a ton of sports fans in the state. The Tarheel State has the ninth highest population in the US, and is also the country's fifth fastest growing state.
So what should North Carolina sports bettor's expectations be for online sports betting? Nothing is certain when politics are involved, but our experts have looked at the state of the market ant have a few projections worth sharing.
First, given legal sports betting is already live in the state, expect legislators to push for online betting by the start of the 2022 NFL season.
From 2018-2020, online sports betting created tax revenue of nearly $500 million for US states. With the majority of that money going directly back to the public school system. Missing out on one football season could cost the state as much as $10 million in tax revenue.
January is far from the biggest sports betting month in the US, and the state of Michigan reported over $4 million in tax revenue despite the market being less than a month old.
Again, without legislation in place, it is hard to predict exactly which sportsbooks will enter the market. However, given the legislation is likely to be more attractive than what we saw pass in Tennessee (a smaller betting market), you should expect every major sportsbook to be live in the state within one month of the start date for legal online sports betting.
In Tennessee we saw a $750,000 annual licensing fee and 20% revenue tax. Both numbers initially seemed outrageous, but today there are three major sportsbooks operating in TN with another three ready to go live any day now.
North Carolina bettors should at the very least be able to bet with the top-rated sportsbooks in the industry: FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill, BetMGM, and PointsBet. Given the size of the market, we would be shocked if all five sportsbooks were not positioned to launch within a week of the start of legal online sports betting.