The Benefits Of Sports Betting In North Carolina: A Legal Expert Weighs In

The onset of online sports betting in North Carolina came just in time for March Madness with the promise of a revenue boon for the state. Lily Faulconer, an NC attorney with expertise in online sports betting regulation, agrees with advocates of sports betting that the legalization of the activity can have a positive impact on the state’s economic growth.

“The availability of online sports betting in North Carolina creates the potential for increased sports tourism in a state home to incredible college athletic environments and professional sporting events across numerous sports leagues.”

Faulconer, who practices with Ward and Smith in Greenville, provided NCSharp with some insights on the potential effects of North Carolina online sports betting.

Revenue distribution benefits youth sports, gambling addiction resources

One of the chief arguments that helped usher in expanded sports betting in NC was the financial windfall it would bring. The state taxes operator revenue at 18% and collects a $1 million licensing fee from each commercial sports betting entity. While the state’s general fund receives 50% of the proceeds, institutions and programs that serve the community will receive a significant portion of the remaining revenue. Faulconer’s views underscore this point.

Attorney Lilian Faulconer spoke to NCSharp about the benefits of sports betting
Photo of Lily Faulconer, courtesy of Ward and Smith

“Additionally, the 18% tax levied on interactive sports wagering operators, and its distribution to various departments and organizations, can result in funding for certain education and treatment programs, youth development programs, university athletic programs, and grants for local sports teams,” she said. “These programs and opportunities have the potential to aid economic growth by developing communities and fostering healthy habits for individuals, leading to a healthier workforce.”

Thirteen public colleges and universities in North Carolina will receive $300,000 to support their athletic departments annually from sports betting revenue. The North Carolina Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission will also receive $1 million annually for grants to promote travel for in-state youth sports and encourage out-of-state tourism for North Carolina sporting events.

North Carolina’s efforts to combat gambling addiction and provide treatment

The state’s sports betting law also mandates funds to be allotted “for certain programming, treatment, and community investment that should benefit North Carolinians,” Faulconer said.

Specifically, the legislation mandates that the Department of Health and Human Services receive $2 million yearly for gambling addiction education and treatment programs. That new revenue stream increases the existing NCDHHS budget from $1 million to $3 million annually.

Could legal sports betting spur casino legalization?

Tribal entities, via state compacts, own the only land-based casinos in the state. The three facilities, two of which are owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, can provide retail and online sports betting as well as casino gaming. Given the failure of bills this past year to advance commercial casino proposals, Faulconer provided a realistic outlook on future casino expansion.

“The Speaker of the House and Senate President made public comments over the past several weeks indicating that they would not be taking up the commercial casino proposal during the 2024 legislative session. With the discussion tabled to at least 2025, whether sports betting makes commercial casinos more likely in North Carolina remains to be seen.”

Furthermore, North Carolinians indicated vehement opposition to expanding casino gambling last year, with those who live in areas targeted for new gambling venues voicing the strongest contempt for the idea.

In the meantime, eight online NC sportsbooks are now open for business and bettors can take advantage of nearly $3,000 in NC sportsbook promo offers.


Image Credit: Chuck Burton / AP Images

About the Author

Cheryl Coward

Cheryl Coward started her career as a news reporter in Washington, DC. She's a die-hard women's basketball fan and founded the website as a result of that passion. She loves writing about sports on all levels and has previous experience covering sports betting regulations, operator marketing campaigns and women's sports gambling topics.