North Carolina has taken several steps toward legalizing mobile sports betting after the state’s House Committee passed two separate bills on the matter.
Yet, there are still many hurdles that must be overcome before any bill becomes law, and the state’s legislative session ends on June 30.
Currently, North Carolina has only permitted retail sports betting at tribal casinos. On Tuesday, Senate Bill (SB) 688 and SB 38 each passed through the state’s House Judiciary I Committee by a 6-3 vote with one abstain. Each bill looks to legalize mobile sports betting in the state.
SB 688 is a Senate-passed bill from last year. The bill would allow 10 to 12 online sports betting operators in the state, and it features an 8% tax rate, a $1m licensing fee, a $100,000 renewal fee, and it would send $1m annually to the Department of Health and Human Services to help those with gambling addictions.
The bill would also allow online sports betting to be offered by casinos, professional sports venues, race tracks, and golf courses. 50% of the tax revenue would also go into a fund to attract major sporting events to North Carolina, but not NASCAR events.
SB 38 differs slightly from SB 688, as it increases the tax rate to 14%, the renewal fee to $1m, and it doubles the amount the Department of Health and Human Services receives to help those with gambling addictions to $2m.
There is a ban on amateur sports wagering in SB 38, which includes the Olympics, but betting on horse racing and college athletics is allowed. The bill also includes NASCAR events in the funding set aside to attract major sporting events to the state.
Before each bill is discussed in the state House, it will go through the House Finance Committee and House Rules Committee. Since SB 688 was already passed by the Senate last year, it will not have to go through the Senate again, whereas SB 38 will have to if approved.
With the state legislative session ending on June 30, time is running out for mobile sports betting to be legalized this year.
Sponsors of SB 688 had hoped online sports wagering would be legalized in time for or during the early portion of the NFL season.
However, it seems more likely that, if either bill is signed into law, mobile sports betting will be operational in North Carolina in 2023.