Revenue Figures Show NC Online Sports Betting Is “Off To A Strong Start”

Online sports betting is “off to a strong start” based on betting revenue figures released by the North Carolina Lottery Commission this week. Total betting revenue, the amount in dollars of sports wagers and promotional wagers made on mobile sports wagering in the state during the first week, came in at $198 million.

Sterl Carpenter, the NCLC’s deputy director of sports betting, provided the agency with a financial glimpse into the first week and the first 12 hours of North Carolina online sports betting on opening day, March 11.

He underscored his rosy view with a statement that operators also reported a robust start: “Some operators have said as much in interviews and other public comments.” For example, BetMGM Sportsbook’s first day in NC was a “smash success.”

A snapshot of the numbers

The sports betting tax rate in North Carolina is 18% of gross wagering revenue. The gross wagering revenue is the total wagering revenue minus the amounts paid in winnings to players before deductions for expenses, fees and taxes.

First day numbers

On the first day of sports betting, total wagering revenue totaled approximately $23.9 million. That led to roughly $2 million in tax revenue to the state

First week numbers

In the first week, total betting revenue swelled to nearly $200 million on the back of Men’s ACC Tournament betting and Men’s and Women’s March Madness betting. As expected, promotional bet spending from all the NC sportsbook promos at launch contributed 40% of that spending.

Carpenter projected that tax revenue from the first week would come at around $7.6 million.

Carpenter noted that it was “too early to make any informed comparisons about how the launch versus the launch is in other states.” However, he did provide some insights as to how the first day compared to Massachusetts, the state he arrived from after helping its gaming commission launch sports wagering.

“The best I guess, to compare it to would be Massachusetts, and in their first month they had a handle of $548,230,000. So, we are projecting $594,306,000. So, we’re on par with Massachusetts. A little ahead.”

Devices and gambling activity

Using map data provided by GeoComply, the NCLC can see what devices bettors use and their locations for seven of the state’s eight operators.

On launch day there was a flurry of betting activity across the state with borders showing devices that were blocked due to geolocation errors. In some cases, people who were at the border of states that don’t have legal sports betting like South Carolina could not place wagers due to geolocation restrictions.  In other cases, the exact location of the user couldn’t be detected due to the usage of a (VPN) virtual private network.

The white pins on the map represent Apple iOS devices. Green pins represent Android devices and blue dots represent access from a computer. The map clearly shows that iPhones and iPads are the overwhelming favorite devices of bettors.

Future reporting

The NCLC will release to the public an aggregate monthly report of revenue with the exact timing to be decided.

“Staff intends to publish a preliminary report of the previous month’s numbers by the second week of each month,” said Carpenter. “From time to time, the commission staff may provide limited reports on special events or topics. Please note that reported numbers are estimates and that they can vary from the actual numbers that will be submitted to the NCDOR (North Carolina Department of Revnue) by our operators.”

March Madness betting frenzy continues

Since March 11, North Carolinians continue to place bets in high numbers surpassing GeoComply’s expectations. There was a 56% week-over-week increase in geolocation checks from March 14 through March 17, the first weekend of NC sports betting.

Men’s and women’s teams from the state are still in the Big Dance after earning spots in the Sweet 16.


  • Thursday 3/28; 9:39 p.m. on CBS: Alabama (4) vs. UNC (1)
  • Friday 3/29; 7:09 p.m. on CBS: NC State (11) vs. Marquette (2)
  • Friday 3/29; 9:30 p.m. on CBS: Duke (4) vs. Houston (1)


  • Friday, 3/29, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN: Stanford (2) vs. NC State (3)
  • Saturday, 3/30, 8 p.m. on ESPN: UConn (3) vs. Duke (7)
About the Author

Cheryl Coward

Cheryl Coward started her career as a news reporter in Washington, DC. She's a die-hard women's basketball fan and founded the website as a result of that passion. She loves writing about sports on all levels and has previous experience covering sports betting regulations, operator marketing campaigns and women's sports gambling topics.