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North Carolina Makes Another Move In Online Gaming By Setting Up Incubator Fund



North Carolina recently made further advancements in the gaming industry. On December 11th, news broke that EBCI Holdings, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ commercial gaming arm, will establish a gaming technology incubator. The incubator will create a diversified revenue stream for the North Carolina tribe, and it will invest between $10-$12 million in start-up companies.

The fund is the latest move in the Eastern Band’s plans to expand its gaming portfolio, not just in North Carolina, but in other states too. For instance, in 2020, the North Carolina tribe broke ground at its 200-acre project in Tennessee, located between Knoxville and Asheville. The news of the fund also comes nine months after the Eastern Band partnered with a UK-based online gambling company to open retail sportsbooks at its two Harrah’s casinos in western North Carolina.

The Fund’s Finer Details

The incubator fund will allow EBCI Holdings to invest directly into several gaming-related businesses. CEO Scott Barber said EBCI is looking at six companies as potential investments, and a couple of these businesses could become partners. It’s suspected much of this fund will be invested in gaming operators.

However, we may also see part of the venture fund invested in those companies that provide new technologies to online casino operators. That’s an intelligent plan, considering across the United States, gambling has become more popular through different technological innovations, such as live streaming.

For instance, online casinos like BetMGM offer live games developed by Evolution Gaming, the largest supplier of live dealer streams to virtual casinos. Technology has also enabled players to use an online casino bonus to their advantage which can extend playing time and allow individuals to try more games, which is a luxury not found at land-based casinos.

What About South Carolina?

Not every state in the country has embraced gaming, including South Carolina. But, that could change, and it wasn’t always like that in South Carolina. Until the late 1990s, the state had been expanding its gaming scene. In fact, there were dozens of video poker machines operating across the state. However, they were shut down in 2000.

Times are changing, though. There’s a push for the introduction of gaming in South Carolina, as demonstrated by the Palmetto Forum. The intended purpose of the forum examined alternative revenue sources in South Carolina. It also looked at how gaming could deliver a new revenue stream in the state.

Figures cited by the forum indicate that South Carolinians wouldn’t mind if gaming increased in the state. For instance, a poll by Winthrop University found that 68% of South Carolinians were in favor of casinos. What’s more, in 2019, the forum cited the American Gaming Association and said that previously, the gaming industry created 1.8 million jobs and has a $261 billion economic impact. Considering the industry has grown even more in the two years, this impact could be greater.

EBCI Holdings’ new gaming technology incubator fund is the latest example of how North Carolina is expanding its gaming portfolio through acquisitions and developments. EBCI isn’t restricting itself to North Carolina either, setting up a project in Tennessee, so it’s possible the commercial gaming arm may look at expanding in South Carolina. It wouldn’t be the first time the two states worked together in some form, as we recently covered. Plus, the Palmetto Forum is proof there would be economic benefits of such a project. `

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