North Carolina Sports Betting Handle, Revenue Stay Hot In April

North Carolina Sports Betting Handle, Revenue Stay Hot In April
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The strong start North Carolina sports betting enjoyed in March carried over into April in a big way.

On Friday, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission reported bettors wagered $648.9 million in April, the first full month the eight licensed operators had in the state. That was down roughly 1.6% from the total handle the commission reported for March.

However, thanks to a significant drop in promotional wagers, the paid handle, or bets made using funds deposited by the account holder, actually increased by 24.7% to $569.3 million in April.

Bettors' use of North Carolina promos wagers dropped from $202.6 million in March to $79.8 million last month.

Operators and the state itself also enjoyed significant increases in revenue. Operators reported earning $105.3 million last month, a 58.2% increase from the $66.5 million they won in March.

North Carolina taxes sports betting operator revenues at 18%, so $18.9 million went to the state in April. That’s an increase of nearly $7 million.

The state only releases total numbers. It does not break down its monthly report by operator.

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North Carolina Sports Betting, April vs. March


Total handle

Revenue (GWR)








Down 1.6%

Up 58.3%

Why North Carolina Stands Out In April

This year is a bit of an anomaly for North Carolina sports betting, which is still in its nascent stages. Typically, total handles drop significantly from March to April. For example, Tennessee’s sports betting traffic dipped by 19.3%, Indiana’s fell by 21.3% and Kansas’ tumbled by 24%.

The drop-off is due to the fact that most of the wagering on the NCAA basketball tournament and the preceding conference tournaments takes place in March. Betting in North Carolina didn’t start until March 11.

In addition, having both the North Carolina State men’s and women’s basketball teams making the Final Four also gave the April handle a boost. In future years, we’ll likely to see North Carolina follow a similar pattern to other states.

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Sports Betting Better Than Expected For North Carolina

When North Carolina lawmakers passed the sports betting bill last year, the fiscal note tied to the bill forecasted the state would receive about $65 million in tax revenue during the first year.

However, as BetCarolina noted earlier this year, the state’s projections were based on how sports betting operators worked in the early years of nationwide sports betting. In the last couple of years, operators have marketed their parlay products, especially same-game parlays, to their customers. Those wagers are harder to win because they require the bettor to be correct about multiple selections. In turn, that means operators are seeing their revenues increase.

That’s been the case so far in North Carolina. April’s figures show the North Carolina sports betting apps had a combined win rate of 16.2%, and March’s revealed a 10.1% rate. Traditionally, a win rate of 7% has been considered the industry standard.

As operators’ revenues increase, so does the state’s as it collects an 18% tax off those winnings. For April, the state received $18.9 million in taxes. That’s roughly 30% of the state’s original forecast, and when you combine both month’s tax collections, the state is nearly halfway to the $65 million mark. The tax figures are more in line with BetCarolina’s projections that the state could see more than $128 million instead.

As monthly handles will drop during the rest of the spring and summer, it stands to reason that revenue figures will as well. However, they’re expected to start rebounding in September, when college and pro football get into full swing.

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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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