North Carolina Legislature Moves One Hurdle Away from Sports Betting Legalization

North Carolina residents are tantalizingly close to earning the right to legally wager on sports.

Last Updated: May 30, 2023 5:25 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
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North Carolina legislature’s attempt to finally legalize online sports betting sites has just one last hurdle to cross.

House Bill 347 cleared two others Tuesday by passing through the Senate Finance and Rules committees. The bill now heads to the Senate floor, where a vote will come this week to allow Tar Heel State residents to begin wagering via mobile and in person at select sports venues as early as January.

The House-raised bill has received strong support from the other side and should successfully pass. That could come as early as Wednesday. If passed, the bill would return to the House for concurrence and then move to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper, who has supported legal sports betting in the past.  

Changes to the bill

If sports betting in North Carolina does become legal this week, residents could be waiting longer than originally thought to start placing wagers. 

An amendment was added Tuesday that states no sports betting license can become effective prior to January 8, 2024. The Lottery Commission, which will run and regulate legal sports betting, will determine the date that sports betting goes live, which may be no later than 12 months after the bill becomes law. 

Other recent amendments that helped the bill reach this point in the Senate included raising the tax rate from 14% to 18% and eliminating deductions from promotional credits, which will greatly limit the offering of “free bets” from operators to bettors. 

In an amendment proposed by the Senate, professional sports teams will have partnerships with sportsbooks for in-person wagering at venues like Bank of America Stadium and Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

Journey of HB 347

The N.C. General Assembly has worked hard this session to finally bring mobile sportsbooks to a state that’s only allowed retail wagering at three tribal casinos. 

HB 347, which has undergone numerous amendments along the way, was passed by the House in late March. Those changes, including one that will not allow for slot-style historical horse racing, also helped garner more support from the Senate. 

Legal sports betting nearly became law in 2021 when the Senate passed a bill that the House rejected by one vote.

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