State lawmakers will resume their discussion of a bill to legalize mobile North Carolina sports betting when they return from the holiday break.
The Senate Finance Committee will meet Tuesday afternoon in Raleigh, and the only piece of legislation they’ll consider is House Bill 347, the bill sponsored by state rep. Jason Saine.
The Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee passed an amended version of that bill during its meeting Wednesday. Changes approved by the committee included an increase in the tax on operators from 14% to 18%, a provision allowing professional sports teams to host brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and the inclusion of language legalizing horse racing and online parimutuel wagering on races in the state.
If the Finance Committee clears the bill, which passed unanimously in the Commerce Committee, then it’s expected a final vote on the Senate floor would occur later next week.
More Changes Coming?
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Thursday, according to WRAL.com, more changes to the bill are looming.
BetCarolina has learned one of those changes is expected to be the removal of language allowing historical horse racing (HHR) machines in the state. HHR machines are slot-like games, but they use a series of previously run horse races instead of a random number generator to determine the outcome of the player’s wager.
The inclusion of HHR in the bill to launch North Carolina betting apps caught some by surprise and may have delayed the process in the Senate.
Should the full Senate approve the amended bill, it would have to return to the House. If the House agrees with the amended version, it would go to Gov. Roy Cooper, who would be expected to sign the bill into law. If not, the two chambers would create a conference committee to hash out differences and reach an agreement on a final bill before the session ends this summer.
North Carolina Sports Betting Bill Details
HB 347 calls for the North Carolina State Lottery Commission to approve up to 12 online operators. The Senate amendment also calls for sports betting licensees to show how they’ve created jobs and invested in the state — a nod that could mean sports betting operators may need to partner with a pro sports team, a NASCAR racetrack or a golf course hosting a professional tournament to get a license.
The Senate amendment would also allow certain sporting venues to host brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
North Carolina tribal gaming operators, which are currently allowed to have brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at their casinos, would also be allowed to partner with an online operator. Those would not count against the 12-license limit.
Approved applicants would pay a $1 million fee for a five-year license, and the Senate amendment not only increases the tax rate but also bans operators from deducting promotional credits from their revenues.
Revenues from sports betting would fund problem gambling services in the state, a grant program for youth sporting activities, athletic departments at 13 North Carolina universities, a major events fund that would be created by the law and the state’s General Fund.
The bill also calls for sports betting to launch in the state by Jan. 8, 2024, and only individuals aged 21 and older can wager or sign up for accounts.
Keep tabs on BetCarolina on the road to full legislation, and we're also home to North Carolina sports betting promos for new customers.