The North Carolina legislature is submitting a bill to legalize mobile betting

A highly anticipated bill legalizing mobile sports betting in North Carolina was introduced Monday by Rep. Jason Saine. HB 347 could result in bringing up to 12 legal mobile sportsbooks to North Carolina, which currently allows retail sportsbooks in tribal casinos.

The bill resembles a 2022 attempt that failed by a single vote in the House of Representatives, but sports betting stakeholders are optimistic this year could be different. College sports betting is included in HB 347, an issue that some lawmakers pushed back significantly in 2022.

Wow. An amendment passed in the North Carolina House will ban wagering on collegiate sports.

Mobile sports betting bills may pass in the coming days, but legal bets on Duke, UNC, other college competitions are no longer included.

— Bennett Conlin (@BennettConlin) June 22, 2022

North Carolina’s universities are of great interest to sports fans in the state, with the UNC and Duke basketball teams being two of the most famous programs in the state. Allowing bets on these teams would increase the state’s potential tax revenue.

While there will be debates over the language in the bill in the coming weeks, there is an appetite for legal mobile betting in North Carolina. Recent data provided by GeoComply showed that some North Carolina residents travel to Virginia to place legal sports bets on their phones.

Legalizing mobile betting would bring North Carolina tax revenue while reducing the number of sports bettors in the state using unregulated sites.

License Details

The bill would allow for up to 12 mobile sportsbooks, and the licenses would cost $1 million for five years.

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Federally recognized tribes in the state could offer mobile betting, and licenses for those tribes would not count among the 12 under the bill. The 12 mobile operators are not allowed to accept bets when a bettor is on tribal land.

Sports facilities – North Carolina is home to several professional franchises – could have sports betting lounges within a half mile of the facility. This would allow for a retail betting component in the state in addition to the currently legal sports betting in tribal casinos.

The North Carolina State Lottery Commission would regulate sports betting in the state, and sportsbooks could accept wagers on professional, collegiate, Olympic and eSports sports. Leagues may require operators to use official league data to settle in-game bets.

Breakdown of Tax Rates

The bill would tax adjusted gross receipts at 14%, and tax receipts would be spread across a handful of different entities.

The legislation sends $2 million annually to the Department of Health for gambling education and treatment programs. Responsible gambling has become a focus for states introducing sports betting or hoping to legalize it in the near future.

An additional $1 million would go to the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation to provide counties with $10,000 in grants for youth sports equipment and facility upgrades. If there were insufficient funds for each district to receive a $10,000 grant, each district would receive an equal amount of funding under $10,000.

The bill also provides that the athletic departments of Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T University, North Carolina Central University, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Winston-Salem to provide $300,000 annually to State University. As with the youth athletic scholarships, if there are insufficient funds to give each school $300,000, each school would receive an equal, reduced amount.

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An additional $1 million in tax revenue would be distributed to the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council to award various grants.

The remaining tax revenue would be split between the athletic departments of the seven universities listed above (10%), the North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund (30%) and the state general fund (60%).

Operators will initially be allowed advertising tax deductions, but the bill will phase them out by 2027.

Next Steps

The crossover deadline in North Carolina is May 4, which gives the House of Representatives almost two months to introduce the bill to the Senate. The state legislature ends at the end of August.

North Carolina lawmakers have plenty of time to make a decision on legalizing mobile sports betting. However, stakeholders would likely prefer a speedy legalization process. Depending on how quickly lawmakers legalize mobile betting, it could go live during the 2023-24 NFL season. The bill lists January 1, 2024 as the start date, which would mean North Carolina would have legalized mobile sports betting ahead of the next Super Bowl.