In its most recent meeting, the NC Lottery Commission confirmed that limitations on online lottery games will not affect the launch of digital scratch-off games coming this November.
The North Carolina budget bill included a section limiting online lottery games by excluding “casino-style games” from the list of games the NC Education Lottery can offer.
These prohibited games, as laid out in the budget include the “online interactive version of any game traditionally offered for play in a casino, including slot machines, roulette, blackjack, craps, or poker.”
The purpose of these stipulations seems to delineate the North Carolina Lottery’s online offerings from similar iGaming products offered in other states.
Clarifying iGaming and eInstant gaming in North Carolina
Hayden Bauguess, director of governmental affairs for the NCLC, delivered the legislative update at the last lottery commission meeting and fielded the lone question about the budgetary changes to the online lottery.
Bauguess clarified that the budget’s language prohibited “iGaming but not eInstant gaming.”
Like scratch-offs and other “instant” lottery games (as opposed to draw games), eInstants offer the same experience but can be bought and played online.
On the other hand, iGaming includes the kind of Vegas-style casino games seen in online casinos, and the North Carolina legislature outlawed the potential for all of those games through the NC Education Lottery.
iGaming received late-game attention this legislative session
Despite honing in and outlawing iGaming through the NC Lottery app, online casinos have supporters in the North Carolina General Assembly.
The chatter around North Carolina online casinos increased in the waning weeks of state budget talks, with Rep. Jason Saine, the primary sponsor of this year’s sports betting law, appealing for their passage.
The revenue generated from iGaming, in every state where it is legal, outpaces online sports betting by exponential margins.
Sports betting leaders DraftKings and FanDuel have already launched iGaming products in several states, and North Carolinians will surely see them throughout the state as leading sports betting operators.
FanDuel Casino and DraftKings Casino products would be among the earliest to launch if the state were to legalize online casinos.
The state has yet to legalize commercial casinos, but 2023 indicated that North Carolinians may be open to a deluge of legal gambling options with the passage of online sports betting and the attention being shown to the potential revenue available through iGaming.
While the lottery may not be able to bring North Carolinians Vegas-style online casino games, it may not be long before major legal gambling operators do.