Lawmakers are making another attempt to bring legal sports betting to the Tar Heel State.
On Monday, House Bill 347 — chief sponsored by Rep. Jason Sane — was introduced to legalize online wagering on professional and college sports in North Carolina. The proposed bill would authorize between 10 to 12 online sports betting sites to operate in NC.
HB 347 would require sports betting operators to pay a $1 million fee for a five-year license in addition to a 14% tax from the adjusted gross incomes. Operators are also allowed to deduct bonus and promotional credits from their taxable revenue at declining rates through 2026.
HB 347 calls for wagering to be regulated by the North Carolina Lottery Commission. The bill, which would legalize betting by Jan. 1, 2024, also allows sportsbook lounges at certain venues across North Carolina, including PNC Arena, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bank of America Stadium, and the Spectrum Center. HB 347 will now head for a House committee discussion.
Try and try again
The introduction of HB 347 comes after previous bills failed to make sports betting in North Carolina a reality.
Senators Paul A. Lowe and Jim Perry introduced Senate Bill 688 in April 2021 — a bill that proposed both online and retail betting under regulation by the North Carolina Lottery Commission. SB 688 also proposed a state Major Events, Games, and Attraction Fund.
The fund would use revenue from sports betting to promote major events in North Carolina.
SB 688 was approved by the state’s Senate but failed in the House. As a result, Senate Bill 38 was introduced in June 2022 — an amended bill that addressed several concerns.
SB 38 would have required sports betting operators to pay a monthly 14% privilege tax on wagering instead of an 8% income tax. The bill would also require $2 million annually to be allocated toward problem gambling initiatives plus disbursements to HBCUs and public parks.
North Carolina’s Senate voted in favor of SB 38, but only after wagering on college sports was prohibited. Despite the approval, the legislation failed to pass in the House by a 50-51 vote.
If HB 347 is passed, North Carolina will have a promising additional stream of revenue. In December, neighboring Virginia generated $50.7 million in gross revenue from sports betting, which marked the Old Dominion’s fourth consecutive month of over $50 million in revenue.
Results are poised to be strong in the Tar Heel State.
North Carolina residents made 1.75 million transactions across legal sportsbooks in other regions during the 2022 NFL season, according to data from GeoComply.