North Carolina Senate Passes Sports Betting Bill For Final Time

North Carolina Senate Passes Sports Betting Bill For Final Time
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Mobile sports betting in North Carolina now stands just a couple steps away from legality. On Thursday, the state Senate voted 37-11 to pass House Bill 347 after its third reading. That seemed elementary after lawmakers in the chamber voted 38-11 in favor of the bill after its second reading late Wednesday afternoon.

However, some concerns for North Carolina betting apps were raised after Wednesday’s vote when House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters he would reject the Senate’s amended version of the bill and pursue legislation that would also incorporate casino gaming and video lottery terminals with the expansion of sports betting in the state.

Less than a day later, though, Moore walked back those comments and, according to WRAL’s Brian Murphy, said he would vote to concur with the changes the Senate made over the last couple of weeks.

Those changes include raising the proposed tax rate from 14% to 18% and removing a provision letting operators deduct promotional credits from their taxable revenues. The Senate also inserted language that would allow some facilities to host brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and to legalize horse racing in the state. Legalizing horse racing would also enable operators to offer online parimutuel wagering accounts.

The North Carolina sports betting bill would allow the State Lottery Commission to approve up to 12 operators that would be allowed to take wagers online across the state. Approved operators would pay $1 million for a five-year license.

Tax revenue would support several programs, including collegiate athletic programs, youth sports initiatives, a major events fund, problem gambling services and the state’s General Fund. Forecasts expect more than $100 million in tax revenue a year within five years of sports betting launching in North Carolina.

Sports betting is currently available in person at the state’s tribal casinos. The tribal nations would also be able to participate in online wagering.

Speaker: House Will Concur

Thursday’s vote marks the first time a sports betting bill has passed both chambers in the same General Assembly session. The House will need to approve the changes made by the Senate, and based on Moore’s comments Thursday that could happen as early as next week.

Moore told reporters his comments Wednesday were due to him “not reading the notes properly.” Once the House concurs, the bill will go to Gov. Roy Cooper, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

Once Cooper signs the bill, North Carolina would join 27 states (or 28, if Vermont’s governor signs that state’s bill) and the District of Columbia that have legalized online sports betting.

HB 347 calls for the state lottery to have online sports betting regulations in place by Jan. 8. However, it gives the lottery up to a year after the law becomes enacted to allow operators to start accepting wagers. The law would officially take effect 60 days after the legislature adjourns for the year.

BetCarolina commissioned an online survey last month to gauge sports betting interest in the Tar Heel State, which showed promise for future operators like BetMGM North Carolina.

Lottery Pledges to ‘Work as Quickly as Possible’

A spokesperson for the North Carolina Education Lottery told BetCarolina the full scope of the launch will not be known officially until HB 347 is signed into law.

However, some prep work is already underway to assess the scale of the project, Director of Communications Van Denton said.

“This will be a new responsibility for the lottery, and the lottery is evaluating how much there will be to do and how quickly it all can be done,” Denton said. “The full responsibilities won’t be known until legislation is signed into law. Then, the lottery will work as quickly as possible to meet its responsibilities in licensing operators so that sports betting can be conducted fairly and responsibly in North Carolina.”

quote

Author

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

Cited by leading media organizations, such as: