North Carolina legislators expect to file a mobile sports betting bill in the imminent future, as bettors in the state seek increased sports wagering access. While the state allows retail sports betting at three tribal casinos, mobile sportsbooks are illegal in the state.
That’s led to some bettors traveling across state lines to wager, according to data from GeoComply. The geolocation security and compliance company shared data with Sports Handle that shed light on the desire of some North Carolinians to wager on their phones.
Bettors seek mobile options
During the 2022 NFL season, which spanned from Sept. 8 through Feb. 12, GeoComply identified 1.75 million transactions from North Carolina accessing legal mobile sportsbooks in other states. The attempts came from 166,000 unique player accounts.
Clearly, there’s an appetite of bettors to use legal mobile betting platforms. The GeoComply data doesn’t even account for the bettors who used illegal platforms to place mobile wagers during the 2022 NFL season.
The majority of attempts from within North Carolina to use other sports betting platforms were trying to use Virginia sportsbooks. Virginia allows mobile sports betting, and major operators like BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel are active there.
Since the start of the NFL season, GeoComply processed 5,422 transactions of bettors who tried to log into a Virginia betting platform from just across the state border in North Carolina before then traveling into Virginia and placing a bet. That data makes clear that some customers in North Carolina are willing to drive across state lines to use a regulated sports wagering platform.
North Carolina came close to legalizing mobile sports betting in 2022, but a bill broke down toward the end of the legislative session. There’s significant optimism among sports betting stakeholders that 2023 will be the year the state legalizes mobile betting.
“It is something I believe has the support of the majority of both chambers,” Sen. Phil Berger told WCNC Charlotte in January. “It is something the public overall supports. If you have a telephone, you already have access to it. You’re not supposed to, but it’s there.”
The topic of allowing betting on collegiate sports was an issue last legislative session and could become a debate again in 2023. North Carolina’s legislative session ends at the end of August, but there’s a May crossover deadline and stakeholders likely want to move quickly in hopes of launching at or near the start of the 2023 NFL season.