Path clears for NC sports betting bill to become law

Light at the end of the tunnel
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On Wednesday when the North Carolina Senate voted to move HB347, a bill to legalize commercial retail and online sports betting, it looked like the House could stand in the way. House Speaker Tim Moore warned the House might not concur since some lawmakers saw the bill as an opportunity to expand the scope of gambling in the state and were considering adding casino or VLT amendments.

Moore reversed course on that statement shortly before the Senate voted on the third reading of the bill, passing it by a 37-11 margin.

Sen. Lisa Grafstein, who spoke against the bill yesterday, attempted to attach an amendment today that stipulated if one section of the bill was deemed unconstitutional then the entire bill would be voided. That amendment failed.

Grafstein proposed the amendment because there is some debate around whether or not the 18% tax rate is constitutional. The state constitution limits personal income tax to 7%, so there are questions about whether or not this threshold would hold up against a court challenge.

The SBC Americas team discussed the latest North Carolina developments on a recent episode of iGaming Daily:

Grafstein argued that her amendment would diminish the likelihood an operator took the rate to court, as tethering the entirety of the bill together would mean a ruling in their favor would also render their license void. However, the amendment was tabled.

Next, HB347 heads to the House, which is expected to concur on it next week. From there, it heads to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. Cooper previously signed legislation that allowed retail sports betting at tribal casinos in the state. He has publicly indicated he would sign legislation that expanded sports betting on the commercial front.

To recap, HB347 would license between 10-12 online sportsbooks, legalize commercial retail sports betting, and introduce parimutuel racing to the state. The tax rate was bumped from 14% to 18% and there will be no deductions for promotional credits.