The Consumer Choice Center (CCC), a global advocacy group dedicated to consumer choice, praised North Carolina’s decision to legalize online sports betting and shift sports betting activity from illegal to legal markets.
Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 347 into law June 14. It allows people 21 and over to partake in legal online sports betting in North Carolina, effective starting next year.
The North Carolina Education Lottery will regulate the new industry, ensuring safeguards to protect consumers and prevent fraud from unregulated bookies.
CCC a champion for legal sports betting
The CCC strongly advocates legalized sports betting and believes that when it is done illegally, consumers open themselves up to unnecessary risks.
Most illegal sports betting occurs through offshore websites, which can either obscure their legality or, in the worst case, advertise themselves as being legal. Since most people aren’t familiar with the many offshore sites and their similar appearance to legal sites, they get duped into engaging in an illegal market.
An American Gaming Association study found in 2023 that about 22% of bettors partake in the illegal sports betting market. Around 70% of the same bettors were unsure of whether they were betting illegally.
NCSharp spoke with David Clement, CCC’s North American affairs manager, about the new North Carolina sports betting law and whether NC’s model is one worth following.
“Yes, it is a significant step in the right direction,” Clement said. “By legalizing sports betting, specifically sports betting via trusted apps that already operate in other states, North Carolina is giving bettors legal options that can incentivize them to bet legally, rather than in the illicit market via offshore books.”
Clement went on to say, “That shift is a huge win for consumers, as legal betting apps have legal standards to uphold, and a win for the state as offshore betting generates no revenue for the state at all.”
Another important point Clement highlighted is that “these apps are also job creators. With the opening of a new sportsbook in a state, there are about seven new jobs created with an online sportsbook for every one created by a physical casino.”
What’s more, Clement commended North Carolina for “keeping taxation comparatively low, although not as low as New Jersey (14.25%) but significantly lower than New York (51%).” North Carolina’s new sports betting law taxes operators at 18%.
Lower taxes on sports wagering mean more competitive legal sports books, further encouraging consumers to bet legally. This includes being able to offer the best NC online sports betting promos for state bettors.
NC ranks 24th in CCC’s US Sports Betting Index
In an attempt to determine which state offers the most consumer-friendly sports betting market, the CCC classified them into the U.S. Sports Betting Index.
The index quantifies and ranks states according to legality, where and how consumers can place bets, who controls betting and the number of sportsbooks per capita in each state.
At the moment, with its offering of retail sports betting at three tribal casinos, North Carolina ranks 24th in the index. That position could climb in the CCC’s estimation once North Carolina enters the online sports betting market.
As more states legalize online sports betting, the illegal market shrinks. American Gaming Association data indicates 46% of bettors who use illegal sites plan to transition to legal ones in the next 12 months. Despite that migration, there is still a strong offshore industry in the US.
That’s why Stephen Kent, media director for the Consumer Choice Center, finds North Carolina’s new sports betting structure as a good example to emulate.
“States who maintain their ban on sports betting should follow North Carolina’s lead and immediately legalize sports betting, and do so in a way that opens the market and encourages competition,” Kent said.
North Carolina’s launch window still not open for six months
The North Carolina Lottery Commission has until at least Jan. 8, 2024, to prepare the state for an online sports betting launch. That date would give the state the best opportunity to capitalize on high-volume betting events in the winter months. It may not be feasible, however, with all of the regulatory requirements the state’s licensees must meet.
As such, the state has until June 14, 2024, a year after the date Cooper signed the bill into law, to finalize a launch.