Huge Growth In Igaming Could Compel NC To Legalize Online Casinos

Igaming is the most successful form of gaming in terms of generating revenue. It is more lucrative than sports betting, social casinos and retail casinos.

“Igaming has been the most productive revenue generator of any gaming launch in history,” said Light & Wonder Head of Government Affairs and Legislative Counsel Howard Glaser Monday at the Global Gaming Expo education session.

Online casinos produced about the same amount of revenue, $500 million, as sports betting.  But . . . sports betting is legal in 36 states, while online casinos are legal in only six states.

So, what state would not want a piece of this massive pie? And does this mean North Carolina online casinos are coming anytime soon?

Are NC online casinos a possibility?

The short answer to that question is a solid ‘yes’ for North Carolina online casinos.

Several legislators are pushing the agenda for online casinos in North Carolina. Republican Rep. Jason Saine, senior chair of the NC House Appropriations Committee, is among them. He recently laid out his argument for legalizing online casinos in North Carolina in the The Charlotte Observer:

“Permitting iGaming would ensure North Carolina maximizes tax revenue now and into the future, regulate and make safe a thriving illegal market, and complement traditional brick-and-mortar casinos,” Saine said.

At this time six states have legal online casinos, including:

– Connecticut.

– Delaware.

– Michigan.

– New Jersey.

– Pennsylvania.

– West Virginia.

Rhode Island’s Governor Dan McKee signed an online casino bill into law on June 20, 2023.

NC online casino revenue projections

Michigan has a similar population to North Carolina. The Great Lakes State launched online casinos in January 2021. There are now fifteen online casinos that have produced in excess of $3 billion in revenue and more than $817 million in taxes for the state.

These numbers give an attractive and tempting glimpse of what could be possible if North Carolina online casinos become legal. But would online casinos in North Carolina yield similar results as Michigan? Possibly. According to Saine,

“Industry experts project that full iGaming would yield nearly $300 million annually for the state creating a new, reliable revenue stream that broadens the tax base and aligns with the smart fiscal policy the General Assembly has worked diligently to maintain.”

These numbers are getting the attention of online gaming platforms as well. Fanatics Betting and Gaming, which launched in 2021, is betting on NC casinos in the near future. It hopes to secure market share in the Tar Heel State when (if) online gaming becomes legal.

Ari Borod, the Fanatics Betting & Gaming chief business officer said,

“We want to make sure this [NC online casinos] is another thing we can add to the Fanatics ecosystem of product. But longer term, as a gaming company, iCasino obviously is a very good business,” and that North Carolina online casinos “will definitely be part of our long-term strategy.”

Other top sports betting brands, like Caesars NC, have also launched into the gaming stratosphere.

Player expectations driving NC online casinos

Access to the digital world is not just part of most people’s everyday lives, it’s expected and frustrating if unavailable. Anika Howard, president and CEO of Wondr Nation explained it well,

“Right now, digital, from a player perspective, is an expectation. There are all of these things you can do in your traditional life with your mobile phone, so players don’t necessarily understand that there are all of these challenges. What they see is that they can buy coffee from Starbucks on their cell phone and check all their really important financial transactions, from investments to banking, online. So why not igaming?”

Online gaming is overwhelmingly popular in part because it can be enjoyed remotely. Anywhere you have access to an internet connection and a phone, tablet, or laptop, you can play.

It involves more than just picking numbers and buying a ticket as with the lottery, but less knowledge and research than sports betting. You also don’t have to wait for the game you’ve bet on to start. Igaming can be done on your schedule and at your leisure.

Given the trifecta of people, government and business seeing the value of online gaming, coupled with the growth in legal online casino markets, NC has a strong argument for putting forth igaming legislation in 2024.

About the Author

Walter Yuhl

Walter (Way) Yuhl is a freelance writer and business professor. Way has written for the Arizona Daily Sun, Flagstaff Business News, Bangkok University, and Shandong University of Science and Technology as well as edited content for the U.N., Thailand International airports, and other organizations. He has worked with Cantena Media since 2019.