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Online Sports Betting Bill Approved for North Carolina

After a lot of speculation, the much-anticipated online sports betting bill has been passed for the state of North Carolina. This has been in the pipeline for a number of months as state legislators proposed two bills that would allow residents in the state to place sports bets online.

Currently, the state of affairs in North Carolina allows residents to make bets online, but only at a land-based casino. Now, with online sports betting set to be fully approved, it is believed that this will be implemented by January 2023.

In the state, there are two Cherokee land-based casinos - the Catawba tribe did have its own sportsbook. However, this has since been closed and, as a result, there is a lot of excitement following this recent announcement.

Of the bills that were submitted to the House Judiciary 1 Committee, these were approved. However, they had some minor adjustments. It means that more funds will be committed towards monitoring and the treatment of gambling addiction, with $2 million set aside to action this.

In addition, there will also be restrictions for amateur sports wagering, including the Olympics; however, the legislation will allow betting for professional sports, college, horse racing, and also eSports.

Differences in Both Sports Betting Bills

While two online sports betting bills have been passed, there are a number of differences in these, and it is tax rates and fees for licensing that set them both apart.

The SB 688 bill is a Senate-approved bill that sets the tax rate for online sports betting at 8%, with license fees at $1 million, while renewal fees will be set a $100,000. Meanwhile, this new legislation will mean that professional sports facilities, race tracks, and golf courses used for PGA events in North Carolina will be able to provide online sports betting. As a result, between 10 and 12 operators will be allowed licenses in the state.

Passed by the Senate last year, SB 688 will be the main force moving forward for sports betting legislation in the state. Meanwhile, the SB 38 bill was passed by 6-3, with one person abstaining. This bill raises tax rates to 14%; however, it leaves license fees the same, though it increases renewal fees to $1 million.

Perhaps one of the biggest differentiators with this bill is that it creates a fund for ‘special events,’ that include NASCAR races and the Super Bowl so that these could potentially be hosted in North Carolina.

What Does This Mean for North Carolina?

In a state that is the ninth most populous in the US, with just over 10.5 million people, where the average household income is at just over $55,000 per year, there is certainly scope to suggest that passing an online sports betting bill is favorable.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether operators see it this way. While the big companies, such as FanDuel casino and sportsbook, DraftKings, and BetMGM, are likely to apply for a license, whether others see the value there makes for an interesting point of contention.

There are no major sports franchises to speak of in the state, which means that sponsorship opportunities as a way of raising awareness could be hard to come by - potentially putting smaller operators off.

Usually, when one of the big three operators applies for a license in a newly regulated state, it is often a good sign that they see value there. In terms of the income that could be generated for the state by way of taxes, in addition to the licensing fees, the impact this could have could be hugely beneficial.

Improving things like infrastructure, education and healthcare is likely to be a top priority for state officials, and no doubt, this would have acted as a major swing when influencing the legislature to vote in favor of passing both online sports betting bills.

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