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Legalized statewide sports wagering in North Carolina began two weeks ago with eight interactive sports wagering operators able to take bets. Preliminary monetary numbers for the first day and first week of sports wagering were presented, with over $23.9 million wagered by midnight on the first day. By the end of the first week, over $198.1 million had been wagered, and $141.6 million in bet winnings had been paid out. Gross wagering revenue totaled close to $42.7 million, which is the base upon which the state will receive its 18% tax cut.

The executive overseeing sports gambling in North Carolina stated that it was too early to make comparisons to other states but said that the launch seemed to be on par with Massachusetts’ rollout last year. Mobile sports wagering in North Carolina was reported to be off to a strong start, with early bet winnings potentially driven by strong performances from North Carolina State and North Carolina in the basketball postseason. The legislation also allows for future in-person wagering, statewide betting on horse races, and permitted live horse racing. Before this legislation, sports gambling was only legal at three casinos operated by two American Indian tribes.

In addition to sports wagering, the North Carolina Education Lottery also discussed the popularity of “digital instants”, which have been available since November. These games, accessed through a protected computer or smartphone screen, play similarly to slot machines and have become increasingly popular. Sales of digital instant games have exceeded projections and have helped increase overall lottery gaming revenue compared to the previous year. The high sales numbers have been attributed to the lottery’s online ticket sales for other games and a longstanding player rewards program on its website.

The North Carolina Education Lottery saw record sales of over $4.3 billion in the fiscal year ending last June, resulting in net earnings of $1.015 billion. The success of the lottery has been attributed to engaging players through digital platforms for an extended period. The legislation signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper in 2023 has not only legalized sports wagering but has also led to increased interest in other digital games offered by the lottery. Overall, the state appears to be benefiting from the introduction of legalized sports wagering and other digital gaming options. The success of these initiatives has been welcomed by state officials and is likely to continue to grow in the coming years.

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