Rep. Saine Wants Online Casino In North Carolina

With online sports betting to launch in North Carolina in 2024, some proponents of legal gaming want the industry to expand even further.

Republican Rep. Jason Saine, senior chair of the NC House Appropriations Committee, is among those advocating for iGaming. In an opinion piece he wrote for The Charlotte Observer, Saine laid out his argument for legalizing online casinos in North Carolina:

“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.”

The Existing online casino industry in the U.S.

Revenue from online casinos outpaces funds generated from online sports betting and retail casinos by a wide margin. Currently, six states offer legal online casinos including Michigan, which has about the same population as North Carolina.

The Great Lakes State was among the first states to authorize online casinos. Operators launched in January 2021, and now the state has fifteen online casinos. In the first quarter of 2023, online casino operators generated over $3 billion in revenue and over $817 million in taxes.

The windfall that Michigan enjoys from iGaming underscores Saine’s point about the monetary benefits of legalizing NC online casinos.

“Industry experts project,” Saine stated, “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.”

Saine is in a unique position to advocate for NC online casinos. Republicans in the state legislature are already discussing ways to expand legal gambling in the state. He also made the point that online casinos take a lot less time to launch than retail operations.

“What’s more, the state would realize iGaming’s tax revenue almost immediately, as opposed to waiting several years for brick-and-mortar casinos to open.”

Would online casinos cannibalize retail betting?

Taking Michigan as an example, there is little chance that iGaming operators would cannibalize the state’s retail casinos. Retail casinos and online sports betting operators continued thriving after iGaming became legal in the Great Lakes State.

DraftKings and BetMGM were two of the first brands to enter the Michigan iGaming market. These two companies also have plans to be among the first to offer online sports betting in North Carolina.

Saine’s take:

“Some might naturally assume that online casino gaming cuts into the market share of brick-and-mortar casinos. But repeated analyses and data from other states show iGaming complements, rather than cannibalizes, physical casinos. Why? Because physical casinos and iGaming attract different audiences, and the crossover effect creates a certain symbiosis.”

While it is unclear if iGaming is coming to North Carolina in the near future, it’s clear that legalizing online casinos would bring even more money to the state.


Image Credit: Gary D. Robertson / AP images

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.