North Carolina takes another shot at legalizing online sportsbooks

Image of empty UNC basketball court
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North Carolina very nearly passed an online sports betting bill in 2022 but the state Senate blocked the efforts at the last minute.

This year, Rep. Ashton Clemmons is sponsoring the charge. She introduced HB347 on Monday, which is a bill that retains many of the elements from the 2022 effort.

The bill would allow between 10-12 online sports betting licenses and would allow for sportsbook lounges at the following facilities:

  • NASCAR tracks
  • Large golf courses
  • Pro team facilities of the MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, and NWSL

These lounges would not be retail sports betting facilities but would allow customers to engage with support staff about their account.

Licenses would cost $1 million and would be renewable every five years. Sports betting would be taxed at 14%. There are also limitations on promotional credit deductions. Operators would be allowed unlimited deductions until Jan. 1, 2025. For the following year, deductions cannot exceed 2.5% of revenue. In 2026, that number drops to 2%. After Jan. 1, 2027 promotional deductions are no longer allowed.

The bill also has mandates for the use of official league data for live betting on US-based sports. There is no mandate for pre-game wagers or leagues with home bases outside of the US.

One of the things that hampered the bill last year was a late addition of a prohibition on in-state college wagering. North Carolina is a state known for its passion for college basketball, with 18 Division 1 programs in the state, including perennial programs like UNC and Duke.

North Carolina already has legal sports betting at tribal casinos in the state. Those sportsbooks opened at Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos in Cherokee and Murphy, NC. The bill would require operators to geofence online betting apps so that wagers could not be placed on tribal lands.