North Carolina online betting bill headed to Gov. Cooper

North Carolina Gov Roy Cooper
Image: Shutterstock / Evan El-Amin

As anticipated, the North Carolina House concurred with the Senate-approved version of HB347 on Wednesday by a vote of 69-44. The legislation now moves on to Gov. Roy Cooper, who has publicly indicated he intends to sign the measure.

HB347 stipulates that online wagering in the state will not begin before Jan. 8, 2024. The state lottery will oversee the implementation and regulation of online sports betting and retail commercial wagering at eight professional sports facilities like PNC Arena and the two NASCAR tracks in the state. Betting at retail sportsbooks at the state’s tribal casinos is already legal.

There will be 10-12 online sportsbook operators in the state, each of which will pay a $1 million licensing fee for a five-year license. The online licenses will be issued independently of the retail venues. Sports betting will be taxed at 18% with no deductions for promotional credit.

The bill also legalized ADW horse betting apps in the state.

The Sports Betting Alliance, which is the chief lobbying group for sportsbook operators, issued the following statement about the bill’s House concurrence:

“This is a big day for North Carolina sports fans! Today is the culmination of years of hard work by North Carolina legislators, education and community stakeholders, and fans, and we extend our sincere gratitiude to each for their tireless efforts. Because of that work, North Carolinians are just one signature away from joining the tens of millions of Americans who can bet on their favorite teams using our safe, legal, and regulated sports betting platforms.”

Unlike the second reading of the bill in the House, the third reading did feature a limited debate of the bill which gave the bill’s detractors to reiterate many of the arguments they presented when the bill was first debated in the House, including Rep. Abe Jones doubling down on the notion that legalizing sports betting would bring “prostitution” and “cock fighting” to the state.

Rep. Pricey Harrison also brought up the elephant in the room regarding this bill, which is the 18% tax rate potentially being ruled unconstitutional. She wondered what would happen if a court rules that this tax rate violates the 7% cap on income tax rates in terms of the money it would bring in to the state.

Concerns aside, the lawmakers have decided that they will put forward the legislation to Gov. Cooper and North Carolina will join Kentucky and Vermont on the list of states to legalize online sports betting in 2023.