To Top

Geolocation Data Indicates North Carolina Could Be A $1B Sports Betting State

Written By J.R. Duren on March 14, 2024
Fox Sports Broadcaster Greg Olsen Placing First Ceremonial Bet In North Carolina

With an estimated 10.8 million people, a diehard devotion to its sports teams and the potential for nine online sportsbooks, North Carolina is poised to charge into the country’s top 5 sports betting markets.

The initial data from the first 48 hours of North Carolina’s sports betting launch on March 11 confirms that massive potential. GeoComply, a geolocation service that, among other things, tracks how many bets are placed in a given area and how many active accounts there are, revealed data that indicates the Tarheel State is well on its way to being a top-10 state for handle (total amount bet) and possibly become part of a select group of markets to generate $1 billion in handle in a single month.

“It’s early, but North Carolina is already delivering on lawmaker expectations when they legalized online sports betting last year,” GeoComply SVP of Compliance Lindsay Slader said in a news release. “The state’s well-structured approach to mobile sports betting safeguards consumers and opens up significant revenue streams. With March Madness around the corner, we are excited to see continued growth.”

GeoComply revealed that North Carolina sports bettors had nearly 370,000 active accounts in the first 48 hours of sports wagering. Additionally, users logged into their accounts around 5.4 million times during that time.

Why is North Carolina’s initial betting data important?

Looking into how many active online sports betting accounts a state has, as well as the number of times users logged into their sports betting accounts, provides some insight into what we can expect from a sports betting market in the future.

Essentially, the more accounts and log-ins, the more money people gamble and the more revenue, in theory, sportsbooks and the state will make.

While it’s hard to pinpoint how much handle and revenue North Carolina’s sportsbooks will generate, comparing its geolocation data helps project the numbers.

National data suggests North Carolina will join the billionaire’s club

GeoComply noted that North Carolina’s northern neighbor, Virginia, had more than two million account log-ins and 134,000 accounts during the same time period (the first 48 hours after NC online sports betting launch). North Carolina had roughly 2.5 times the geolocation checks and active accounts than Virginia.

Those data points are staggering for two reasons. First, Virginia has a mature sports betting market that’s been live for more than two years. Second, Virginia brought in more than $652 million in handle in January.

If we use Virginia’s handle numbers as a starting point for North Carolina’s handle projections, we could easily see Tarheel State sportsbooks bring in more than $750 million at some point this year. Not only that, but North Carolina has the potential to become one of only a handful of states to generate more than $1 billion in monthly sports betting handle.

Here’s a snapshot of the top 12 states by handle in January, along with each state’s handle per capita, according to Legal Sports Report:

StateJanuary 2024 HandleEstimated 2023 population (per Census Bureau)Handle per capita
New York$1.97 billion19.6 million$101
New Jersey$1.72 billion9.3 million$185
Illinois$1.31 billion12.5 million$105
Pennsylvania$858.11 million13 million$66
Ohio$806.15 million11.8 million$68
Nevada$782.98 million3.2 million$245
Arizona$693.31 million7.4 million$94
Virginia$652.88 million8.7 million$75
Massachusetts$650.28 million7 million$93
Michigan$601.59 million10 million$60
Colorado$596.69 million5.9 million$101
Maryland$544.97 million6.2 million$88
Average$932.2 million9.6 million$107
North Carolina (estimated)$1.16 billion10.8 million$107

Based on the per capita numbers above, it’s likely that North Carolina will become just one of four states to consistently post a billion dollars in handle and one of just five to surpass the $1 billion mark.

When could North Carolina hit the $1 billion mark?

Predicting March’s handle totals for North Carolina is tricky. All but one of the state’s sportsbooks will have less than three weeks to bring in bets in March (Caesars Sportsbook launched on Eastern Band of Cherokee land on March 1).

That being said, March Madness should boost betting above $500 million. The late spring and early summer months tend to be slow for sportsbooks.

We won’t know North Carolina’s full potential until the NFL season begins in September. At that point, the market will hit its stride. Handle numbers should hit $750 million by October and approach (or surpass) $1 billion by January.

Now that online sports betting has launched and North Carolina is seeing some success (most states do right after launch), could efforts to legalize North Carolina online casinos be next? Follow online casino legislation through our online casino bill tracker.

Photo by AP Photo/Erik Verduzco
J.R. Duren Avatar
Written by
J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

View all posts by J.R. Duren
Privacy Policy