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Tax coffers swell by $2M first day, $7.6M first week via sports wagering

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(The Center Square) – An estimated nearly $2 million the first day and more than $7.6 million in the first week is the unofficial gain in North Carolina tax revenue at the launch of legal wagering.

The North Carolina Lottery Commission, in its Wednesday meeting, said gross wagering revenue for the first day of legal betting – March 11 – was $11,030,957.65. At an 18% tax rate, that’s $1,985,572.26.

For the first week, gross wagering revenue was $42,683,281.73.

Other first day numbers released included paid sports wagers ($11,581,197.81) and promotional wagers ($12,364,57.08) for a total wagering revenue of more than $23.9 million. The amounts paid as winnings were more than $12.2 million.

First week numbers released for paid sports wagers was more than $116.7 million and promotional wagers more than $81.3 million, for total wagering revenue of more than $198.1 million. The amounts paid as winnings exceeded $141.5 million.

All amounts are preliminary aggregates. The Department of Revenue will determine official taxable amounts.

A legislative fiscal analysis estimated the state’s 18% betting tax will generate $64.4 million next fiscal year, with other estimates ranging from $47 million after three years to $126 million in year one.

The state budget passed last fall includes a requirement online sports books secure a written designation agreement with one of 11 professional sports entities in North Carolina. The state is home to the NFL Carolina Panthers, NHL Carolina Hurricanes, NBA Charlotte Hornets, MLS Charlotte FC, NWSL’s North Carolina Courage, as well as multiple NASCAR tracks and golf pro tour stops.

Announced agreements are Bet365 with the Hornets; ESPN Bet with Quail Hollow Club; Fanatics with the Hurricanes; FanDuel with the PGA of America; DraftKings with NASCAR; BetMGM with Charlotte Motor Speedway; Underdog Sports with Sedgefield Country Club; and Caesars with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed legislation into law in June.

Distribution of tax revenue collected is $500,000 to the Department of Revenue to offset collection costs; $2 million to fight gambling addiction; $1 million to the Division of Parks and Recreation for youth sports; $300,000 each to 13 University of North Carolina System schools for college athletics; and $1 million for sports grants through the Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council.

Any leftovers would be distributed 20% to the UNC System schools, 30% to the North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund, and 50% to the general fund.

Per Session Law 2023-42 for House Bill 347, the 13 public state system universities profiting are Appalachian State, East Carolina, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, N.C. A&T, N.C. Central, UNC Asheville, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Pembroke, UNC Wilmington, Western Carolina and Winston-Salem State. The other two institutions in the UNC System are the UNC School of the Arts, which doesn’t play intercollegiate athletics, and a high school, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

The language of the bill says $300,000 “to support collegiate athletic departments.” One thing it can’t be used for is name, image and likeness money to athletes.

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