Sportsbooks in North Carolina take a step back with drop in May revenue

North Carolina Sports Betting May
Image: University of College / Shutterstock

North Carolina took a step back in its third month as a regulated sports betting market.

According to data provided by the North Carolina State Lottery Commission, the Tar Heel State’s eight licensed sports betting operators accepted $494.6 million in wagers in May, down from a $569.2 million handle for the month prior. Last month, operators generated $63 million in gross wagering revenue behind the state’s 18% tax rate. By comparison, gross wagering revenue in April closed at $105.2 million. Since wagering went live on March 11, state operators are responsible for paying more than $42 million in taxes.

During that span, players across North Carolina have wagered more than $1 billion.

A portion of the revenue generated from sports betting is allocated toward the Department of Health and Human Services to combat problem gambling through education and treatment programs. North Carolina Amateur Sports also receives a portion of revenue, $1 million annually, to provide more opportunities in youth sports.

The remaining proceeds are distributed to 13 state universities, the North Carolina Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission, the state’s General Fund, and a new North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund to create jobs and state investment.

Decline in promo wagering revenue

Last month, North Carolina also posted a drop in promo wagering revenue as early momentum wore off following the emergence of a new regulated U.S. market.

The first month of wagering in North Carolina generated $202.6 million in promo wagering revenue with results falling to $79.6 million in April. In May, revenue reached $30.9 million.

North Carolina’s licensed operators include several emerging sportsbooks. ESPN Bet, Fanatics Sportsbook, and Underdog operate in the Tar Heel State as budding platforms.

ESPN Bet launched in November 2023 as a rebrand of Barstool Sportsbook while Fanatics has market access in 21 states after closing its acquisition of PointsBet’s U.S. operations in April. Underdog’s debut in North Carolina marked its first foray into sports betting.

The state is also home to bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

Potential changes in North Carolina

Rep. Marcia Morey has introduced House Bill 967, a measure that aims to ban sportsbooks from offering individual player props on college and amateur sports. The piece of legislation also proposes a ban on retail betting at venues hosting college sports events.

If HB 976 is signed into law, North Carolina would join Ohio and Maryland as states that have prohibited wagering on college props in 2024. Starting Aug 1., the Louisiana Gaming Control Board will no longer allow operators to accept wagers on college props.

HB 976 has been referred to the Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House Committee. It has until July 31, the end of the current legislative session, for consideration.