Shakeup At The Top Of The Legal Gambling Market As North Carolina Launch Nears

DraftKings has taken over the online gambling market share lead and could cement that lead by the time North Carolina online sports betting launches in mid-2024.

In mature sports betting and online casino states like New Jersey, a shift at the top of the online gambling market has seen DraftKings overtake FanDuel as the market-share leader.

On Nov. 3, DraftKings will make its 2023 Quarter Three (Q3) earnings call, and we should get more clarity on how the Boston-based company sees its place in the market. We may also receive more clarity on its plans for a North Carolina online sports betting launch.

With a launch date of late spring or early summer looking likely, DraftKings could take a convincing lead into North Carolina when the online market goes live.

DraftKings overtakes FanDuel in total online gambling GGR

According to a study by Eilers & Krajcik Gaming, DraftKings has taken a one-percentage-point lead on FanDuel in overall online gambling gross gaming revenue (GGR) through August 2023.

Accounting for 31% of total online gambling–which includes sports betting and online casino gaming–DraftKings surpassed FanDuel, which accounted for 30% of the market.

FanDuel, which has enjoyed market dominance for years, still held a market-share lead in online sports betting GGR in August. E&KG data put FanDuel at 39.3% of the market while DraftKings accounted for 34.1%.

Where DraftKings has accelerated and where North Carolina lawmakers should take note is the burgeoning legal online casino market in six US states.

Since acquiring Golden Nugget Online Gaming in 2022, DraftKings has seen its share of the overall online gambling market steadily rise. DraftKings Casino, while only live in five states, has propelled the brand to the top of the US legal online gaming market.

If the trajectory holds, by the time North Carolina launches online sports betting, DraftKings will be the top dog in the online gaming market.

Will North Carolinians see DraftKings Casino any time soon?

This is a tricky question in North Carolina.

Online casino tax revenue outpaces sports betting by wide margins in the states where it’s legal, and the same would be true in North Carolina.

As Rep. Jason Saine, senior chair of the House Appropriations Committee, claimed in the Charlotte Observer, online casino gambling in North Carolina could generate $300 million a year in tax revenue.

That number nearly triples what NCSharp projects the state could generate in online sports betting revenue and would be a windfall for the state.

While Saine and a few other key lawmakers have opened the discussion around online casinos in North Carolina, the state may be a few years away from seeing a launch of DraftKings Casino.

The 2024 legislative session, protracted due to primary elections in the spring, may not be enough time to address online casinos. Currently, commercial brick-and-mortar casinos look like the next legal gambling piece on the legislative agenda.

As the 2023 legislature showed, this issue is fraught with concerns about casino placement, clarity in the casino development process and problem gambling. If state lawmakers can get local leaders on board in the counties targeted for casino development, they may be able to make progress on commercial casino expansion.

However, with many lawmakers up for re-election in the 2024 state primary, a controversial topic like casino expansion could get pocketed until after the March election.

All in all, 2024 will challenge state lawmakers to expand legal gambling in North Carolina, and if they do, commercial casinos will likely be the priority.

More shakeups in online gambling market on the horizon

DraftKings unseating FanDuel as industry leader may not be the last major shakeup North Carolinians see before online sports betting launches.

The third- and fourth-position online gambling brands–BetMGM and Caesars, respectively–have competitors nipping at their heels.

PENN Entertainment, which launches its re-branded Barstool Sportsbook as ESPN Bet in November, looks poised to overtake.

PENN CEO Jay Snowden hinted in August that PENN’s agreement with ESPN hinges on ESPN Bet capturing around 20% of the online sports betting market by 2027. If the brand captures half that share, it’ll leapfrog BetMGM and Caesars sportsbooks and claim third position.

ESPN Bet will have competition though.

Fanatics Sportsbook, which acquired PointsBet after an exciting bidding war with DraftKings, is live in four states. “PointsBet, a Fanatics experience” is live in seven other states, all of which will rebrand to Fanatics as soon as the operator receives regulatory approval.

These two operators boast strong customer bases in their home markets (sports media and sports memorabilia), and both hope those customers–who may already bet with other sportsbooks–will come around to their late entry offerings to the US online sports betting industry.

On Nov. 3, DraftKings will report on its Q323 earnings, and interested parties can expect a positive tone from the company. We’ll be listening to what DraftKings says about North Carolina, especially now that operators must partner with sports entities to gain access to the market.

Will DK spill the tea on which sports teams, venues or governing bodies they’re courting? NCSharp will have all the updates as soon as they drop.

About the Author

Tyler Andrews

Tyler is the Managing Editor for, covering sports, sports law, and gambling for the Tar Heel State. He has also covered similar topics for PlayTexas, PlayGeorgia, PlayCA, PlayFlorida, PlayOhio, and PlayMA. Tyler’s current focus is North Carolina’s pathway to gaming legalization.