The push for a full-fledged iGaming package in North Carolina is on, even though the state has yet to approve the expansion of land-based gambling. Lobbyists advocating for iGaming are questioning lawmakers: since online sports betting and lottery games have already been legalized, why shouldn’t North Carolinians also have access to online casino games?
iGaming supporters hope to add the issue to a late-session proposal that aims to legalize retail casinos and video lottery terminals. The proposal is part of the ongoing discussions among lawmakers to pass a long-delayed budget, and these discussions also include the possibility of legalizing statewide video lottery terminals.
Scott Ward, the vice president of the Sports Betting Alliance, stated that adding online casino games to the existing legal online sports betting and lottery offerings is a logical step. The Alliance, which counts DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, and Fanatics among its members, operates online sportsbooks and offers casino gaming in several states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and West Virginia.
North Carolina’s Senate leader Phil Berger has mentioned that online casino gaming is being considered alongside the proposal to add four new casinos in rural areas of the state. Meanwhile, House Speaker Tim Moore reiterated that House Republicans have not yet reached a consensus on the casino issue. He also acknowledged that digital gaming is not just a future trend but is already here.
After the long awaited sports betting bill was signed into law this June, Online sports betting is set to launch in North Carolina next year, and the North Carolina Lottery Commission plans to begin selling digital lottery games by November 15. Scott Ward further emphasized the importance of including online casinos in the upcoming gaming legislation, pointing out that it would generate immediate revenue, estimated at up to $300 million for the state. In contrast, retail casinos and lottery terminals are still in the planning stages.
The North Carolina Lottery Commission, which currently offers draw games online, projects that digital instant games could bring in over $415 million in revenue within five years.
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