Issues Handle Forecast For First Year Of North Carolina Sports Betting Issues Handle Forecast For First Year Of North Carolina Sports Betting
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The Tar Heel State is well-positioned to be a market leader once online North Carolina sports betting launches in less than two weeks. The state has many important factors going in its favor.

For instance, the state has a population of more than 10 million people, making it the sixth-largest U.S. marker that will offer mobile wagering. It also has an economy that’s regarded as one of the best within the United States, thanks to growth that’s taking place in and around both Raleigh and Charlotte.

That’s all before you add in North Carolina’s sports scene. It is home to five major professional sports teams, one of the biggest college basketball states in the country, and the hub for NASCAR.

And don’t just expect North Carolina residents to take part. The Midlands and Upstate regions of South Carolina have large population centers within a short drive of the North Carolina state line. Don’t be surprised to see more people from the Palmetto State crossing the border to get gas, a quick bite to eat, and to place a wager on their Gamecocks or Tigers.

North Carolina's First-Year Handle Projection

State Population 1st-Year Handle
North Carolina 10.8 million$6.47 billion*
Arizona 7.28 million$5.43 billion
Colorado 5.8 million$2.3 billion
Illinois 12.67 million$5.5 billion
Indiana 6.8 million$1.2 billion
Iowa 3.2 million$391 million
Louisiana 4.66 million$1.85 billion
Michigan 10.1 million$1.98 billion
Montana 1.1 million$27.8 million
Pennsylvania 13.0 million$1.165 billion
Tennessee 6.9 million$2.3 billion
Virginia 8.6 million$3.22 billion
Washington, D.C. 689,545$34.7 million
Wyoming 576,851$135.8 million

* Projection

Getting A Handle (Projection) On North Carolina Sports Betting

There are easier things to do than predict just how much sports bettors will wager in the first year of a legalized market, but the team at doesn’t back away from a challenge. forecasts the first year of North Carolina sports betting will generate a handle of nearly $6.5 billion. That would place the state among the top 10 markets, if not higher, in the U.S.

When trying to predict handle, seeing how a similar-sized state performed in its first year can serve as a good measuring stick. For North Carolina, the best comparison is likely Ohio, a slightly larger state (11.8 million population vs. 10.8 million) that just wrapped up its first sports betting year at the end of 2023.

Ohio’s first year generated a handle of $7.7 billion, the sixth-largest handle in the country last year.

When North Carolina lawmakers passed House Bill 347 last year, the fiscal analysis estimated the state would generate nearly $65 million in tax revenue for the first year. Our researchers at believe the state could come close to doubling that figure.

In Ohio, the state’s sportsbooks generated $936.5 million in revenue off the $7.7 billion wagered. That’s a hold rate of 12.2%. If North Carolina’s sportsbooks earn an 11% win rate of a $6.5 billion handle, that would produce $711.4 million for the operators. With an 18% tax on those revenues, that means the state would get more than $128 million.

The main reason why predicts significantly higher revenues is due to changes that have occurred in the U.S. sports betting landscape in the last couple of years. Operators, including market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings, are promoting parlay products to their customers. While those wagers can offer lucrative payouts for a smaller wager, the multi-leg bets require the bettor to get all of their selections right in order to win. That makes it harder for bettors to win. North Carolina betting apps will certainly feature all bet types as they do nationally. 

Big Day For North Carolina Sports Betting Later This Week

North Carolina sports betting is set to launch on March 11. However, starting this Friday, operators that have been approved for licenses by the North Carolina State Lottery may preregister players ahead of the big start date.

Statewide sports betting will be online only. However, there are brick-and-mortar sportsbooks open at North Carolina’s three tribal casinos. Additional retail outlets are expected to open later this year, with potential sites including the Spectrum Center, Charlotte Motor Speedway and PNC Arena.

Up to eight operators are expected to start taking wagers on the first day. Those operators are bet365, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, ESPN BET, Fanatics, FanDuel and Underdog.

Check out our reviews for these sportsbooks at to help you decide which apps you want to utilize. Bookmark our North Carolina sportsbook promos page for all of the best promotions NC sportsbooks have to offer as soon as they are available. 



Steve Bittenbender
Sports Betting Expert & Insider

As a writer and analyst for, Steve not only covers gaming news and developments in North Carolina but also provides insights into what they mean for bettors, licensed operators and the state. A veteran journalist with 25 years of experience covering sports, politics and business, Steve has reported on the gambling industry intently over the past five years.

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