E-instant online lottery games coming to North Carolina this fall

Scratch-off lottery ticket
Image: Shutterstock / jdwfoto

The plan for brick-and-mortar casinos in North Carolina has likely stalled, an expansion of the state’s online lottery will bring games that are not dissimilar from what you can find in states with online casino offerings.

On Tuesday the North Carolina Education Lottery Commission voted to start offering e-instant lottery games in the state beginning Nov. 15. The state has allowed the online purchase of draw games tickets for several years.

E-instant games bear the lottery name, but in many ways, bear a resemblance to online slot machines. In fact, the manufacturers of these games, like IGT, also produce several of the same titles as online slot games. In other states with online lotteries, like Virginia, some of the e-instant games even offer progressive jackpots.

The lottery would cap player wagers at $505 a day, $2,000 a week, and $4,000 a month. The revenue projections of the measure amount to roughly $415 million a year after five years.

The legalization of e-instants is not the only new revenue stream and responsibility for the lottery either. With no gaming commission in North Carolina, the responsibility of overseeing sports betting will fall to the state lottery as well.

According to local outlet WRAL, the added burden on the lottery left some commissioners skeptical about the idea of expanding the lottery.

“We, as the commission, do not know what the landscape of gaming is going to be in North Carolina over the next year,” said commissioner Chris Hayes. “There’s still a lot of proposals out there in the General Assembly. We could have more responsibility. We don’t know what the total handle is. We don’t know how many gamblers there are. Introducing new games now with an uneven landscape, I don’t think is the right move. I think we need to get a better understanding of what types of games are going to be authorized in North Carolina before we move forward.”

Even with the skepticism, the measure still passed, bringing games that cannot be played in retail venues to North Carolina phones and computers this fall.