Online Sports Betting Bill Headed for North Carolina House Debate

An online sports betting bill continues to chug along in the North Carolina House, and with bipartisan support.

Last Updated: Mar 28, 2023 2:38 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
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A bill that would legalize online sports betting sites in the Tar Heel State is inching closer to passage by an entire legislative chamber. 

House Bill 347 received a favorable report from the North Carolina House of Representatives’ rules committee on Tuesday and will now head to the full House for debate and a possible vote. 

Among other things, H.B. 347 would authorize 10 to 12 operators to provide a mobile form of North Carolina sports betting. The state already has legal sports betting at three casinos but no legal online sportsbooks. 

The legislation still has a ways to go before it passes the House, then the Senate, and then makes it to the desk of the supportive Gov. Roy Cooper. However, one of its backers noted Tuesday that there is support for the bill from both parties in the legislature, which could bode well for its prospects.

“It is a bipartisan bill,” said Rep. Jason Saine, one of H.B. 347’s primary sponsors, during Tuesday’s committee meeting. “We have been very intentional in this process and have tried to incorporate a lot of the feedback that we've received from members.”  

Constructive criticism 

The latest version of the bill did incorporate some of that feedback, as it added a section prohibiting professional sports venues from opening to bettors eight hours before or during any college sports event at or near that facility. Saine then asked and received the favorable report for H.B. 347, “and then we get this to the… floor for the debate.”

The bill was already approved by three other committees before it reached the rules committee on Tuesday, and some of the earlier discussions suggest there will be pushback to the legislation during a broader House debate.

Some opposition could come from more socially conservative lawmakers, but there have also been arguments against specific portions of the legislation, such as allowing operators to deduct the value of free bets and other bonuses.

At any rate, the sizable population and sporting culture in North Carolina make it an attractive target for the sports-betting industry. There is also recent geolocation data that suggests there are North Carolinians interested in online sportsbooks being legalized in their home state.

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