Following the legalization attempts in Minnesota and Missouri state lawmakers have revived their efforts to introduce online sports betting in North Carolina. This week the North Carolina Senate Commerce & Insurance Committee passed the sports betting bill HB 347 through a voice vote. The bill had been stagnant since it was approved by the House in March. However some modifications were made to the bill during this process, including an increase in the tax rate and an inclusion of a challenging provision related to horse racing.

Despite these changes there is still optimism among industry sources that North Carolina can successfully pass sports betting legislation before the legislature adjourns at the end of June. Tuesday the bill will proceed to the Senate Finance Committee before eventually reaching the floor for further discussion most likely next week.

In terms of amendments made during this process while no changes were made when HB 347 was passed by the House lawmakers decided to raise the tax rate on sports betting revenue from 14% to 18%. Additionally an amendment was added to prohibit deductions.

Furthermore on Wednesday legislators introduced another amendment with regards to legalizing horse racing. The bill also includes provisions for horse racing and historical horse racing (HHR) if a track is constructed within North Carolina.

According to Ches McDowell, a lobbyist representing sports teams, in North Carolina proponents of this legislation anticipate minor adjustments as it moves through the Senate. However the tribes in the state which currently hold rights to casino gaming are against the inclusion of live and historical horse racing items. It is anticipated that their opposition will pose a challenge for the bills passage and might result in their removal from the version as confirmed by several industry sources.

The original proposal put forth by Rep. Jason Saine aims to legalize sports betting and allow for 10 to 12 North Carolina sports betting operators in North Carolina.

Additionally professional sports teams and organizations within North Carolina would also have the opportunity to establish North Carolina sportsbooks. Currently there are already three North Carolina betting apps operating within tribal casinos in the state.

It is noteworthy that this years House bill closely resembles sessions Senate bill that narrowly failed to pass in the House by one vote. Governor Roy Cooper has expressed his intention to sign sports betting legislation if it successfully makes its way to his desk.

Furthermore lawmakers are engaged in discussions about expanding gaming options in North Carolina. A separate House bill seeks to legalize and regulate video gambling machines across the state.

Moreover there have been talks about allowing casinos near the Virginia border due to new establishments popping up there. However it is likely that these issues will be dealt with separately to ensure a legislative process, for North Carolinas sports betting industry according to an industry insider.

“I believe the Senate will take action on this matter ” Saine mentioned to WUNC when discussing the possibility of expanding gaming. “I have had conversations with those individuals. It seems like this year could be the right time, for it.”

Saine also hinted that North Carolina sportsbook promo codes could help drive engagement with legalized sports betting in the state.

✅ Fact Checked on January 17, 2024 by Ken Weaver