Kentucky Geo Data Predicts Booming First Day Of NC Sports Betting

If the strong start to legal sports betting in Kentucky is an indication, North Carolina sports betting can expect a robust launch in 2024. This according to data from GeoComply, a leading geofencing and security company in the industry.

Kentucky sports betting got off to a fast start per GeoComply data, signaling strong sports betting support in the region for an NC launch.

Online sports betting in North Carolina will change the way many consumers experience their sporting events. The NFL, college basketball, college football, NASCAR and the NBA have devout fanbases among North Carolinians.

That will be good news for sports betting operators entering a new top-10 market. The Tar Heel State ranks ninth in population, and it could be argued that it belongs higher than that in any ranking of passionate sports fans.

What Kentucky predicts for first 24 hours of NC sports betting

Kentucky launched online sports betting statewide on Sept. 28. Within the first 24 hours, according to GeoComply, Kentucky sports bettors logged 2 million geolocation check-ins.

That represents more than double the number of check-ins seen in Louisiana, a similarly sized market, when it launched sports betting. Louisiana, to note, does not have sports betting in nine of its 64 parishes.

With that said, 2 million check-ins on Day 1 of legal sports betting in Kentucky signals a likely booming debut for North Carolina online sports betting. In Kentucky, with its population of 4.5 million, an estimated 200,000 sportsbook accounts checked in during the first 24 hours. In North Carolina (pop. 10.5 million) that figure could more than double.

When a customer registers a new account, logs in, logs back in or places a bet, a geolocation check-in gets recorded. In Kentucky, according to the state, 60,000 accounts pre-registered before the Sept. 28 launch.

North Carolina sports betting must launch between Jan. 8 and June 14, 2024, by statute.

What to expect for the launch of NC sportsbooks

With more than twice the population, we can expect North Carolina sports betting revenue to be at least double the figures we’re seeing in Kentucky, as it matures. Ohio (pop. 11.8 million), another comparable market to North Carolina, saw 11.3 million geolocations in its first 48 hours of sports betting. It’s fair to assume that GeoComply could record as many as 4-5 million check-ins for Day 1 of NC online sports betting.

However, timing will be crucial: if North Carolina launches after the NFL Super Bowl, scheduled for Feb. 11, 2024, activity could drop. In March and April, sporting events like March Madness, the NBA and NHL are popular, with Major League Baseball following. But, the NFL is by far the most popular and most-wagered sport in the U.S.

Kentucky launched after the “sports promo bubble.” As a result, special offers in the form of bonus bets were smaller there than in states that launched several years ago. North Carolina sportsbook promos will include bonus bet offers, but the state does not give operators tax deductions on promo offers, so these may be tempered.

When the North Carolina Lottery Commission, regulator of the industry, sets a launch date for NC sportsbooks, users may find themselves choosing between FanDuel or DraftKings, leaders in most other states. No matter which operator they choose, bettors should be in for a spirited first 24 hours when that day comes.

Moreover, NCSharp projects that the first year of online sports betting will generate between $6 and $7 billion in total bet spending.

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes writes about sports betting, sports media, and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.