North Carolina’s sports betting regulator is gearing up for the online future as the bill nears passage

Online sports betting in North Carolina is poised for legalization this week, and regulators are poised to work quickly to get sports betting apps up and running.

House Speaker Tim Moore said last week that the lower chamber would approve Senate changes to North Carolina’s online sports betting legislation with votes Tuesday and Wednesday. The Senate advanced HB 347 last week.

Governor Roy Cooper has announced that he will sign the Sports Betting Act into law. Once Cooper signs, the North Carolina Education Lottery will work to launch online sports betting as close as possible to the effective date of January 8, 2024.

North Carolina Lottery is gearing up for sports betting

Although operators may not be up and running before January 2024, the lottery is ready to start work, according to a statement from the agency to LSR.

“Once the legislation is approved, the NC Education Lottery will know the full extent of its responsibilities under the state’s new sports betting law,” the statement said. “This will be a new responsibility for the Lottery and the Lottery is looking at how much work there is to do and how quickly everything can be done.”

“The full responsibilities will not be known until the legislation comes into force. Then, as soon as possible, the Lottery will work to meet its responsibilities in licensing operators so that sports betting in North Carolina can be conducted fairly and responsibly.”

What the lottery will monitor in North Carolina

HB 347 legalizes up to 12 mobile NC sportsbooks.

The legislation also allows in-person sports betting at eight professional sports facilities in the state. Operating partnerships with sports organizations, including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, are preferred for online licenses.

Three tribal casinos in North Carolina have been offering in-person sports betting for nearly three years.

How online NC sports betting got here

In the 2021-22 legislative session, a Senate bill failed to pass a vote in the House of Representatives. As a result of that close decision, lawmakers this year put forward a nearly identical proposal, albeit first in the House of Representatives.

Over the past year, several legislative changes, including a ban on betting in state colleges and a lack of industry support, have led to a drop in support. That year, the House of Representatives scrambled to pass the bill unamended, eventually passing it by a vote of 64 to 45.

In the Senate, lawmakers increased the tax rate on sports betting revenue from 14% to 18%. The Senate also added online horse racing to the proposal. Last week, senators finally passed the bill by a vote of 37 to 11.

Avoiding killer changes in North Carolina

When the Senate added horse racing, there was also language that potentially allowed slot-style historic horse racing (HHR) devices in the state. This part of the amendment was quickly deleted.

Throughout the session, there were also rumors about the expansion of other gambling activities in North Carolina, including a possible expansion of the bill once the Senate passes it. Those rumors were dispelled with Moore’s confirmation last week that the House of Representatives would agree and avoid a conference committee.

Lawmakers have also avoided banning betting on state college teams, which is a touchy subject in some states.