Rep. Jason Saine Files a Bill That Would Legalize Online Sports Betting in North Carolina
Numerous states have made the push in an effort to legalize sports betting in their respective states. On Monday, Rep. Jason Saine of North Carolina filed HB 347, which could allow up to 12 mobile sportsbook operators in the Tar Heel State.
Will North Carolina Have More Support This Time?
Currently, the only form of legal sports wagering in North Carolina takes place in the two tribal casinos that are located in the western part of the state. This time, there is some optimism around the bill as a similar bill fell short in the House chamber by one vote.
College sports betting was included in this year’s bill, which caused significant pushback during the previous session. The jurisdiction is known to have some of the best collegiate programs in the nation, especially during March Madness. For the first time in ten years, UNC will not be featured in the tournament.
The details are simple: adding college sports betting to the mix would increase the potential tax revenue for the year. Recent data provided by GeoComply, residents in the state have been crossing state lines to place bets in Virginia.
Bringing legalized sports wagering in North Carolina would generate tax revenue within its borders, which could be used to fund different programs. This would also reduce the number of bets that are placed on offshore betting sites that don’t follow any rules set by the United States.
What Are the Licensing Deals in the Jurisdiction?
In the writing of the bill, up to 12 mobile sportsbook licenses would be available in the state, and the license fees would cost an operator $1 million for five years. Tribes that are federally recognized in the state can offer mobile betting, and licenses for those tribes don’t count toward the 12 allowed.
There are multiple professional sports franchises in North Carolina that could have sports betting lounges within a half mile. The adjusted gross revenue in the state is set at 14 percent, which is surprisingly low.
The bill allocates $2 million to the Department of Health and Human Services each year for gambling education and treatment programs. Like other states, responsible gambling has been the primary focus as advocates try to inch closer to their goal.
According to segments of the bill, a lot of potential generated revenue would be set aside for programs such as youth sports, athletic departments for a number of universities, the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council, and a general fund. Sportsbook operators that conduct business in the state can use promotional deductions, but that aspect of the bill ends in 2027.
When Could the Market Launch in North Carolina?
If the bill is signed into law, lawmakers will have a couple of options to choose from. The legislative session is set to end towards the end of August, but the House has two months to push it to the Senate chamber.
The goal might be to launch during the NFL season as the target date is January 1, 2024. This is similar to what Ohio did to start off 2023.