Total handle down by 19%

North Carolina's online sports betting activity drops in May

Reading time 1:17 min

North Carolina's online sports betting market, which launched in March, experienced a decline in wagering activity in May. According to the North Carolina Lottery Commission's latest report, the total handle for May was $525.5 million, down 19% from April's $648.9 million. This decrease follows the conclusion of major sports events, including March Madness and the Final Four in April.

Promotional spending by sportsbooks played a significant role in the initial surge of wagers. In the first three weeks after the market opened on March 11, operators distributed $202.6 million in promotional credits, followed by another $79.7 million in April to attract bettors. Without these bonus bets, the difference in wagers for May was a 13% month-over-month decrease.

Gross revenue for North Carolina operators in May was $63.08 million, a 40% drop from April's $105.25 million. Despite the decline, sportsbooks saw a high hold rate of 12%. This marked the third consecutive month of double-digit hold rates, although it was below April’s unusually high 18.5% win rate.

Since the launch of legal sports betting, North Carolina has accumulated $1.8 billion in wagers or $1.5 billion excluding promotional credits. This has resulted in nearly $1.6 billion in earnings and operator revenue exceeding $234.8 million in the first three months.

The state's sports betting tax revenue has also been significant. With an 18% tax rate, North Carolina has generated over $42 million in tax revenue since March 11, including $11 million from May. These figures are estimates and are subject to adjustments by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Analyst Steve Bittenbender from provided insights into betting trends for the state. “Don’t expect much positive movement in the coming months, despite how fresh the market is in North Carolina,” he said. “The state strategically legalized betting in time for March Madness, resulting in an impressive start, but the months after do not provide much action for sports fans to wager on.”

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