This past Tuesday, North Carolina lawmakers passed two sports betting bills that would make online sports betting completely legal throughout the state. During the House Judiciary 1 Committee, minor adjustments were made to these bills, which will allow for 12 sports betting apps to be used by bettors in North Carolina.
A Long Road Ahead
These bills have also increased the prior amount stated to go towards gambling problems within the state. The amount now sits at $2 million per year, while it was around $1 million before. On Wednesday, the bills will go through two more committees, and once the bill goes through the House, it will be returned to the Senate, as it is Senate Bill 688. It might finally be voted on later that night.
There are two different bills that must be passed for online and mobile wagering to be legal throughout the state. There is Senate Bill 688, which was introduced in the Senate last year, but had a difficult time finding the approval of all of the senators. There is also Senate Bill 38, which was used for another law at one point, but was discarded and rewritten to affect sports betting.
Once these bills are signed off on and turned into laws, sports betting is expected to begin statewide on January 1st, 2023. This would allow North Carolinians to jump into online betting at the end of the NFL season. Bettors will be able to wager on esports, college sports, horse racing, and, of course, professional sports.
An Unconventional Path
As of right now, sports betting in North Carolina is only legal at the two Cherokee casinos on the state’s western border. Many people find the legalization of online betting interesting for this reason, as there will be a lot more online opportunities before in-person wagering is widespread throughout the state at all.
In a statement, Representative Pricey Harrison said:
“I think it’s really an irregular way to enact a really substantive policy in our state…To do it this way, I can’t vote for this bill, but I appreciate y’all amending it to make it slightly more palatable.”
The House has until June 30 to pass the bill and get Senate approval. Many are worried that this may take a while due to the issue stated above. If the bills do pass and gain approval, North Carolina will finally have a chance to start sports betting operations in the new year.
Behind the Bills
SB 38 is not the main bill that needs to be passed, but it has some important stipulations. This bill raises the tax on sports betting revenue to 14%, as it was previously at 8%. It also doubles the cost of sports betting licenses from $500,000 to $1 million per license.
SB 688 is the main bill that must be passed for operations to be legalized. It would allow for 10 or 12 online licenses to be offered throughout the state, and it outlines how facilities can use these licenses. If the Cherokee casinos want to join in the online betting, they will be allowed to, but their licenses wont count towards the total approved by SB 688.