A second vote in the Senate was successful in advancing the state’s digital sports betting bill to a final reading in the House. It appears there will be no issues getting this iteration of HB 347 to the governor’s desk, leading to an official expansion of North Carolina sports betting.
Senate Votes Yes
On Thursday of last week, the North Carolina senate voted 37-11 to approve HB 347, an online sports betting bill, that will now be sent to the House for concurrence.
The Senate made several amendments to the bill including changing the launch date, prohibiting sports betting operators from writing off promotional play in the form of tax deductions, and an increase in the rate at which digital sportsbooks will be taxed.
The House is poised to give the green light to the bill this week. House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters he had been unclear as to the timeline of events, “We’re going to concur Tuesday and Wednesday. It wasn’t really a change. It was more me not reading the notes properly.”
A few noteworthy changes are the tax rate reportedly increasing from 14 to 18%, while the launch date is now a year from the time the bill gets signed by the governor. This means online betting would presumably go live on or around June or July 2024 instead of January 8th, 2024.
How Many and Where?
There will be up to 12 online and eight retail sportsbooks throughout the state not including the two tribal retail books currently operating in the Tar Heel State. The eight land-based sportsbooks are reported to be:
- Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte)
- Charlotte Motor Speedway
- North Wilkesboro Speedway
- PNC Arena in Raleigh
- Quail Hollow Country Club
- Sedgefield Country Club
- Spectrum Center (Charlotte)
- WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary)
Governor Supports Bill
Governor Roy Cooper is in his second term and very much aware of the way the political winds blow.
Now that online sports betting has become inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture, and nearly 70% of the states are reaping impressive financial gains because of it, Cooper realizes the moral objections that once drove North Carolina politicians to oppose gambling have been overwhelmed by the majority who want access to it.
When asked about sports betting last year, Governor Cooper said, “It’s here whether we like it or not. The issue is will North Carolina try to be on the cutting edge for the technology jobs and other employment that it will create and plus be able to get state taxpayers their cut, or are we just going to let it happen all around us? I think it’s time for us to step up and do it.”
Two of the four states bordering North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, are already operating online sportsbooks. The other two show Georgia as on the fence but South Carolina is a definite no for now. It will be just a matter of days before we get the final word from the House and Bookmakers Review will keep you posted as events unfold.