Ever Increasing Circles, North Carolina Joins US Sportsbetting Bear Fight
In the fevered bear fight that is US online sports betting–witness the rumoured DraftKings tussle for PointsBet’s American iGaming action–winners take most, the pickings are rich but you’ve got to be super fit to survive, never mind prosper.
Now, into arguably the most exciting emerging market on the planet, enters North Carolina – the ninth most populous state in the US and, barring Texas and California, one of the biggest jurisdictions to tumble.
From January next year sports iGaming will be legal in the Old North State, the home of NASCAR motor racing.
Governor Roy Cooper dashed the hopes of anti-gambling holdouts last week and signed House Bill 347 into law, allowing legal betting on professional, college and Olympic-style sports for adults aged 21-years and older.
Hitherto sports gambling in North Carolina has only been legal in the state’s three Native American-owned tribal casinos; although in an open secret–as pretty much everywhere in the world, where gambling is illegal–punters were accessing so-called off-shore sites and operators based in bordering Virginia and Tennessee.
In what is essentially a fait accompli, North Carolina lawmakers and wider society finally woke up, smelled the coffee and decided that the best way to control gambling was through a regime of regulation and taxation.
“What’s happening just across our borders played a big role in gaining the support from colleagues,” said Republican lawmaker Jason Saine, one of the bill’s principal sponsors.
“[We know that we’re losing money to other states, so I think that was a big driver in either changing minds or getting people that have not considered it before on board.”
With an adult population of 11 million people, North Carolina becomes the 28th state in the US to embrace online sports betting.
The Tar Heel state will regulate iGaming through its North Carolina Lottery Commission.
On offer are up to a dozen sportsbooks, with each licence costing US$5 million.
A tax rate of 18 percent has been set, which experts estimate will raise over US$70 million for state coffers, to be spent on gambling addiction services, promoting amateur and college sports, culture and heritage projects.
Kevin McCrystle, COO of Gambling.com, which was founded in North Carolina, spoke for many when he said: “After traveling all around the world helping to expand regulated betting markets, it is amazing to finally be home in North Carolina and have access to legal online sports betting.
“Our talented team in North Carolina and across the globe are well positioned to help operators and customers in the Tar Heel State succeed as the legal North American sports betting industry continues to grow and succeed.
“North Carolina has the potential to become one of the largest sports betting markets in the United States”.