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North Carolina moves closer to legalizing mobile sports betting

North Carolina sports betting bill - Governor Roy Cooper expands gambling

North Carolina is edging closer to legalizing mobile sports betting as House Bill 347, aimed at expanding the state’s sports betting market, received approval from the House. The bill aims to expand the existing sports betting market in the state, which currently only permits retail sports betting at tribal casinos, by introducing mobile wagering.

Following its initial approval by the House in March, the bill underwent substantial revisions in the Senate, requiring the House to re-approve the amended version. On Tuesday, the House concurred with a majority vote of 68-41, signaling strong support for the bill’s provisions. If it successfully secures one final vote, the bill will progress to Governor Roy Cooper’s desk for consideration.

House Bill 347 encompasses various aspects of sports betting, including wagering on professional and college sports as well as horse racing. The proposed legislation would allow North Carolinians to place bets using their mobile devices, expanding the options available beyond traditional retail locations.

The Senate introduced several amendments to the bill, including raising the tax rate from 14% to 18% for sports betting operators. Additionally, mobile operators, of which up to 12 would be permitted, would no longer be able to deduct promotional play from taxable revenue. The bill also outlines the provision of up to eight tethered licenses, with an opportunity for four standalone mobile licenses.

If the bill becomes law, notable venues such as Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte Motor Speedway, PNC Arena, Quail Hollow Country Club, Sedgefield Country Club, Spectrum Center, and WakeMed Soccer Park would be eligible to apply for licenses to offer both retail and digital sports betting platforms.

Revenue generated from mobile sports betting would be allocated to various purposes, including funding problem gambling treatment measures with an earmarked amount of $2 million. Additionally, over a dozen universities in North Carolina would receive an annual allocation of $300,000 for their athletic departments.

Governor Roy Cooper has expressed support for legalizing mobile sports betting in the state, increasing the likelihood that he will sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk. Once the bill receives final approval, mobile sportsbooks could be launched within a year, offering North Carolinians a convenient and accessible way to engage in sports betting.

The timeline for the implementation of mobile wagering would be determined by the state’s lottery, which would need to prepare regulations and award licenses to operators. While the original language of the bill specified a start date of January 8, 2024, the Senate’s amendments provide flexibility to accommodate any necessary preparations, potentially allowing mobile sports betting to commence during the upcoming NFL season or even ahead of the 2024 March Madness tournament.

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