First Three Months of Legal North Carolina Sports Betting Shatters Records

Law & Politics Sportsbooks/Bookmakers Business
Earl Burton

Updated by Earl Burton


Last Updated 12th Jun 2024, 11:52 PM

First Three Months of Legal North Carolina Sports Betting Shatters Records

Gov. Roy Cooper (center) signing the bill a year ago this week that legalized sports and horserace betting in North Carolina, the ninth-largest state, where revenues so far have exceeded expectations. (Image: Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Associated Press) 

Earlier this year, North Carolina joined 38 other states (and the District of Columbia) in offering sports betting to its citizens. Taking advantage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Tar Heel State’s industry opened to great fanfare. How much fanfare? The state has set records with its net tax revenues in its first three months of operation, besting other states and their openings and even exceeding their current operations. 

Record-Setting Revenues in First Three Months of Operation

North Carolina opened its sports betting operations in March, just in time for March Madness, which served to bring it in with a bang. In March, the eight companies licensed in the state brought in gross wagering revenues that totaled more than $66 million. This was an impressive amount for only a partial month. It took only 21 days of activity after the doors opened to “win” that amount.

April was the first full month of operation for the North Carolina sports betting industry, and it did not fail to impress. Throughout April, Carolina bettors generated $105.3 million in gross wagering on sports, by far the record for a first month in the still burgeoning industry. May saw a falloff from that impressive figure, with “only” $63 million in revenues for that month. 

After the first three months of the North Carolina sports betting industry, over $234 million has been generated by the bettors in the state. Of that total, $42 million will be generated in tax revenues. Approximately $8.2 million of that total will go to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, gambling addiction and treatment programs, and North Carolina Amateur Sports to expand youth sports activities.

Perhaps more important is that, after this $8.2 million payout, the University of North Carolina College System, the 16 universities that serve advanced education, will also be getting a hefty cut. Thirteen of the universities will receive an equal amount, $300,000, with another 20% of the revenues being shared by each school. The amount totals up to $820,000 in just the first three months of operation for North Carolina sports betting. 

How Does North Carolina Compare?

Surprisingly, there have been many other states that have exceeded North Carolina’s stellar performance in their opening salvos of sports betting. 

The originator was the state of New Jersey, which sued to end the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and was successful in 2018. In their first three months of operation – June through August 2018 – the Garden State only pulled in $16.5 million. New York, the most populous state with legal sports betting, only opened to slightly more than $3 million in gross revenues.

Pennsylvania may be thought of as another “cash cow” when it comes to sports betting, but it did not start that way. In the Keystone State’s opening quarter, they too barely topped the $3 million mark in gross revenues. 

Who has had success from the start? Ohio was ready to go when it opened sports betting in January 2023, with over $209 million in gross revenues that month alone. While it has settled down over the past year to average out around $60 million per month since then, the tax revenues generated in 2024 are comparable to North Carolina -- $49,039,075 in net taxation revenues. 

Illinois presents similar numbers. Over the opening three months of 2024, Illinois sports betting has generated $51,101,212 in tax revenues for their coffers.

With these numbers, it’s easy to see why other states have moved forward to legalize sports betting. There are several states, including my home of Florida, which do not share their figures for public scrutiny. 

There are also a handful of states, including the major markets of California and Texas, which have not tapped into sports betting for their citizens. With numbers like these being presented, how much longer can the holdouts remain that way? 

Meet The Author

Earl Burton
Earl Burton
Journalist Journalist

Over the past two decades, Earl has been at the forefront of poker and casino reporting. He has worked with some of the biggest poker news websites, covering the tournaments, the players, and the politics, and has also covered the casino industry thoroughly. He continues to monitor the industry and its changes and presents it to readers around the world.

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