Mobile sports betting is coming to North Carolina in 2024, and state lawmakers are in the process of discussing legal casino expansion. Could iCasino be next?
“It’s a natural fit and should be included in the conversation,” Scott Ward, vice president of the Sports Betting Alliance, told WRAL. The alliance is a collaborative group advocating for legalized gambling expansion on behalf of FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Fanatics.
Rapid gambling expansion
After sports betting legalization efforts stalled in North Carolina in 2022, gambling expansion discussions took off in 2023.
Mobile sports betting was approved, and the North Carolina Lottery Commission is in the process of crafting digital sports wagering regulations. Mobile sportsbooks will go live in the Tar Heel State in the first half of 2024.
Additionally, state legislators are debating the possible expansion of retail casino gaming. The state has tribal casinos, but a few commercial casinos could be created if lawmakers give the go-ahead.
IMO, if NC considers wholesale gambling legalization, then iGaming should be part of the discussion. The reality is that unregulated iGaming is already happening in NC (see image!); legalization turns it into something accountable & taxed. https://t.co/ZHj2reMdia pic.twitter.com/T8tgmut86C
— John A Pappas (@yanni_dc) August 18, 2023
Gambling expansion in North Carolina is coming, which has some stakeholders clamoring for online casino legalization. Those early discussions appear preliminary.
Roadblocks to iCasino
Some North Carolina legislators worry that any potential retail casino business in the state would be harmed by online casino legalization, which would provide fewer benefits.
Brick-and-mortar casinos represent “the only form of gaming where you’re going to see a significant creation of new jobs to the state, whereas you’re not going to see that with something on people’s phones,” Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger told WRAL.
Another possible roadblock to iCasino is the concern among some state legislators about problem gambling in North Carolina. That was a topic of discussion this year when sports betting was legalized, with some legislators being against gambling entirely.
“Something done on an app on a phone like that, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for some real problems there,” House Speaker Tim Moore told CBS 17. “I’ve got real concerns with the iGaming right now, I really do.”
Unlike sports betting, only a handful of states have legalized online casino gaming. North Carolina legislators may prefer a wait-and-see approach to adding digital casino options, similar to what they did when legalizing mobile sports wagering.
Photo: Getty Images