North Carolina sports betting bill clears House and heads to Senate

North Carolina Statehouse in Raleigh, NC
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After a lengthy debate and a host of attempted amendments during the second reading of the North Carolina sports betting bill HB347 yesterday, the measure faced another gauntlet of amendments on Wednesday. None of the nine amendments proposed on the third reading, including a credit ban, ad ban, and promotional credit ban, were successfully attached to the bill.

After an additional round of debate, the bill passed its third reading by a 64-45 measure, the same tally as the second reading. It now moves on to the Senate.

Meanwhile, a bill introduced in the Senate on Tuesday would augment the tax structure for the bill from 14% on gross gaming revenue to also include an additional 6.75% tax on handle. The measure, SB388, currently sits with the Senate Rules Committee. This is the second bill of the year seeking to shift from revenue-based taxation to handle-based taxation, joining Tennessee.

The motivation behind the bill could be related to a measure in the state constitution brought up in debate on Tuesday that does not allow state income tax to exceed 7%.

Here is a look at the amendments that tried and failed to be attached to HB347 and the vote tally:

  • Strictly limiting advertising and prohibit ads on TV, radio, billboards, and other media (36-73)
  • Requiring operators to put up bonding (34-74)
  • Establishing a study on creating a gaming commission (25-84)
  • Banning credit cards (36-72)
  • Removing promo credit deductions (41-67)
  • Raising the tax rate to 36% (35-73)
  • Limiting sports betting to retail only (22-86)
  • Putting caps on amounts a customer can wager (31-76)
  • Adding funding for four private HBUs from sports betting proceeds (31-76)

Rep. Abe Jones, who was vocal in his opposition yesterday, compared the gambling industry to Exxon in its indifference to the people of the state. He was also highly critical of the fact that not a single amendment was adopted.

This is our moment. This is the opportunity to put this to rest, and by putting this to rest, I mean voting no,” implored Rep. James Autry.

Other representatives voiced concerns about problem gambling and how much the bill is set up to benefit sportsbooks as opposed to residents within the state.

“We are not going to cure or stop illegal offshore betting by legalizing gambling in North Carolina, we are just opening doors much wider,” said Rep. Marcia Morey.