There was progress made on Wednesday regarding the legislation for online sports betting in North Carolina.

The North Carolina House, which had previously rejected sports betting legislation last year voted in favor of HB 347 on Wednesday with a 64 45 vote. This legislation will now be sent to the Senate, where a similar North Carolina sports betting bill was passed during the session.

Governor Roy Cooper has expressed support for this legislation. Has even included provisions for sports betting in his budget. The bill was introduced two weeks ago. While the timeline for Senate action is not yet clear its worth noting that North Carolinas legislative session ends on August 31st although bills can carry over into the following year.

The path to success in the North Carolina House was similar to what happened. Legislators voted against any amendments to HB 347 during debates on Tuesday and Wednesday. This means that the bill remains intact as it was negotiated and enjoys support from its proponents who were confident about its introduction.

Last year Senate legislation fell short by just one vote in the House due to an amendment that prohibited betting on college sports. On Tuesday Representative John Autry proposed an amendment but it was rejected by a vote of 68 40.

In total eight amendments were successfully defeated by supporters of the bill before its reading, on Tuesday evening. Wednesdays session discussed nine amendments that were proposed but ultimately failed.

These unsuccessful amendments included;

  • Autry also suggested a restriction on where advertising can be displayed with a vote of 73 36.
  • Representative Cynthia Ball proposed an increase in license fees from $1 million to $10 million. It was voted down 81 27.
  • Representative Pricey Harrison recommended delaying the launch from 2024 to 2026 which was also rejected with a vote of 81 28.
  • Representative Tim Longest put forward two proposals; one to raise the North Carolina sportsbook promo codes tax rate to 51% (84 26) and another to raise it to 36% (73 35).
  • Longest additionally suggested the elimination of deductions, which are set to phase out by 2027. This proposal did not gain support and was voted down with a tally of 67 41.
  • Representative Marcia Morey presented a proposition to ban credits but it received minimal support and was defeated by a vote of 81 29.
  • Morey also recommended discontinuing wagering and shifting towards in person betting at sports venues. This proposal faced opposition and ended up being rejected with an overwhelming majority of votes against (86 22).
  • Representative Julie von Haefen suggested increasing fines from $10,000 to $1 million. However this proposal failed well with a vote count of 86 25 against it.

HB347 quickly passed through three House committees week following a coordinated path.

During these committee discussions numerous amendments were proposed; however all were voted down. Many of these rejected proposals shared similarities, with those brought up during this week’s floor session. The proposed plan indicates that there is support on the House floor. A total of 56 House sponsors from both parties have backed the bill.

It is worth noting that sports betting is already legal in North Carolina with in person betting starting at two casinos operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in March 2021. The Catawba Nation also opened a North Carolina betting apps sportsbook at their casino in September 2022.

The current legislation being discussed in the legislature aims to issue 10 to 12 licenses for sports betting. Additionally it includes a provision for a 14% tax on revenue generated from sports betting.

Governor Coopers proposed budget for the two years incorporates an estimated $85 million, in tax revenue generated from online sports betting.

✅ Fact Checked on January 17, 2024 by Ken Weaver