North Carolina’s First Month of Online Sports Betting Draws $659M Handle

The March handle surpassed the $594 million that was projected by the state's commission after the first week’s figures were released late last month. 

Apr 16, 2024 • 14:17 ET • 4 min read
DJ Burns NCAAB NC State
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

After missing out on February’s Super Bowl, North Carolina regulators made launching sports betting in time for March Madness a priority. 

That seems like a good call now.  

The North Carolina Lottery Commission released the first revenue report from online wagering that began March 11. The Tar Heel State’s eight sportsbook operators combined to generate revenue of $66.5 million on a handle of $659.3 million, kicking off sports betting with a double-digit hold of 10%. 

Over the first three weeks, sportsbooks spent $202.6 million giving out promotional credits, mainly through sign-up bonuses.

Bettors were paid out $590.75 million, and there were a little more than $2 million of canceled/voided wagers.  

The Tar Heel State filled its coffers for the first time as its 18% tax rate unofficially produced $11.9 million in revenue. 

The commission’s initial release did not include revenue figures from North Carolina’s individual operators, which includes FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM, bet365, ESPN BET, Fanatics Sportsbook, and Underdog Sports.

Riding first week wave

With college basketball being an incredibly popular sport in North Carolina, it’s no surprise that the ballyhooed launch went well.

The March handle surpassed the $594 million that was projected by the commission after the first week’s figures were released late last month. 

That initial week accounted for 30% of the month’s total handle while nearly 40% of the promo credits went out that first week. 

That’s also when sportsbooks did most of their damage, accumulating 64% of the total revenue. 

Last month, regulators compared the Tar Heel State’s start to Massachusetts. The Bay State, which launched online sports betting on March 10, 2023, hauled in $548.1 million in mobile wagers during its first month with revenue of $45.6 million.  

In-state success

North Carolina enjoyed a strong start that’s likely ahead of even the most hopeful projections, and this could be a sign of things to come.

It certainly didn’t hurt North Carolina sports betting that the Tar Heels, Duke, and NC State all made the second weekend of the NCAA men’s tournament with the Wolfpack reaching the Final Four in April. 

It could be tough to duplicate March, even accounting for just three weeks, for several months. There are no MLB teams in the Tar Heel State, and the Charlotte Hornets missed the NBA playoffs. 

However, there’s been enough basketball in April to likely keep revenue rolling in, and football season is right around the corner. This will be a quickly developing market once college football and the NFL return.  

Pages related to this topic

Popular Content

Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo