North Carolina One Signature from Legalizing Online Betting

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Mobile sports betting is now closer to getting legalized in North Carolina than ever after the online betting bill cleared its last legislative hurdle.

House Bill (HB347) seeks to lay the foundation for the establishment of an online betting market in North Carolina. It was passed in the House on March 29 and sent to be voted upon by the North Carolina Senate.

On Tuesday, the House received the amendments proposed by the Senate, which include adding horse racing to the betting options and increasing the state’s share of wagering revenues.

By a vote of 69-44, the House has now approved the Senate’s changes, and the bill is on its way to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has publicly expressed support for authorizing and regulating sports wagering.

According to HB347, online wagering in the state will go live on January 8, 2024. The bill also gave the state lottery the authority to oversee the implementation, licensing, and regulation of online sports betting and retail and commercial wagering at professional sports facilities, including PNC Arena and the two NASCAR tracks within the state.

The state is set to issue operating licenses to 10-12 online sportsbooks, which would be required to pay a $1 million licensing fee for a five-year license. The companies will also be subjected to an 18% tax rate with no deductions for promotional credit.

The bill will also regulate ADW horse betting mobile platforms in the state.

It is important to note that sports wagering is already technically legal in North Carolina. This is due to Senate Bill (SB154) introduced in 2019 and subsequently signed into law by Governor Cooper.

According to the Sports Betting Alliance, the chief lobbying group for sportsbook operators, the approval of HB347 represents a “big day for North Carolina sports fans!” as well as “the culmination of years of hard work by North Carolina legislators, education and community stakeholders, and fans.”

Although forwarded to Gov. Cooper, the legislation was not without some objections in the House. There were concerns that expanding the scope of gambling in the state beyond the current state house lottery would lead to an increase in addictions and other societal issues.

However, HB347 supporters countered that a good number of North Carolina residents are already betting underground or offshore, and it was best for the state to regulate the activity and tax it, which would lead to a safer gambling environment and increased revenue for the state.

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