There hasn’t been activity regarding the legislation for online sports betting in North Carolina but supporters remain optimistic about its chances of passing this year.

Month HB 347 was passed by the North Carolina House with a vote of 64 45 creating a path for potential legalization through the Senate. It’s worth noting that NC sports betting legislation had made progress in the Senate year but fell short by one vote in the House during the 2022 session.

Although there hasn’t been any movement on the legislation since its passage in March reliable sources have indicated that there is still momentum behind the 2023 version. If sports betting legislation fails to advance during this session it can be carried over into the 2024 session without an end date for the 2023 legislative session.

“We anticipate a few modifications that couldn’t make it in time during House discussions ” stated Ches McDowell, a lobbyist representing sports teams in NC. “I don’t foresee any issues.”

What has caused delays in NC?

In times North Carolina lawmakers have been focused on addressing other matters such as proposed changes to tenure policies at the University of North Carolina system and multiple bills related to transgender rights. Additionally the General Assembly took their spring break this month.

“I anticipate that there will be action from the Senate within the few weeks ” shared an insider source, with us earlier this month.

“They’re not in a hurry…. In my opinion they’ll likely continue the discussions until the very end.”

According to McDowell there isn’t a timeline for when the bill will be passed. Despite 17 proposed amendments HB 347 remained unchanged in the House. However if there are amendments made in the Senate it will require another vote in the House before being sent to Governor Roy Cooper, who supports sports betting.

Could talk of casinos hinder sports betting?

Several lawmakers in North Carolina are interested in discussing the expansion of casino gaming within the state as reported by WRAL. Currently there are three casinos in North Carolina that offer in person sports betting. However this new proposal would allow commercial entities to establish their casinos and may also include provisions for sports betting.

This discussion arises as multiple casinos are being developed near the border between Virginia and North Carolina. Some politicians are concerned that this could divert revenue away from North Carolina and view it as an opportunity for economic growth.

“I believe that the conversation around casinos in NC is complicating matters for the sports betting bill unexpectedly ” shared an industry insider with us this month. “It seems like Senate leadership is, at least willing to listen.”

The political group Greater Carolina is leading this initiative according to WRAL.

Carolinas collaboration with Spectrum Gaming Group on a study suggests that the three casinos located in Anson, Nash and Rockingham counties could potentially generate a $1.6 billion. Additionally there is a proposal to legalize video lottery terminals in North Carolina.

Representative Jason Saine, who is leading the sports betting sponsorship in the House expressed his belief that attitudes towards casinos are evolving in North Carolina. He doesn’t see any conflict between the two issues.

“I anticipate that we’ll witness some progress on this matter from the Senate ” Saine shared during an interview with WUNC Politics Podcast regarding expansion of gaming. “I’ve had discussions with those individuals. It seems like this year might be the right time for it.”

There is momentum behind sports betting in North Carolina. Supporters are optimistic about building upon efforts that narrowly missed approval during the 2021 22 sessions. The current bill introduced in the House aligns closely with years unsuccessful attempt and originated from the NC Senate.

The bill swiftly passed through three House committees. Received approval on the House floor before encountering some delays in the Senate. If passed this legislation would pave the way for 10 to 12 online sports betting licenses alongside a 14% tax, on online sports betting revenue.

Professional sports teams based in North Carolina are supportive of this legislation.
Cooper also allocated $85 million from sports betting taxes as part of the two year budget.

✅ Fact Checked on January 17, 2024 by Ken Weaver