Promising North Carolina Sports Betting Effort Quietly Shifts Course

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North Carolina sports betting

Efforts to support legalized mobile sports betting in North Carolina likely will be more robust in 2023 after falling short last year.

While lawmakers have yet to introduce mobile NC sports betting legislation, proponents and industry sources are optimistic a 2023 effort will be successful. Lobbyist Ches McDowell, who is working with NC sports teams, told LSR earlier this year the plan is to move forward with a similar bill as last year’s, which nearly gained enough support to cross the finish line.

Last week, McDowell said lawmakers are still working on the final bill language, and votes are being gathered.

New approach for NC sports betting

Last year, a successful Senate bill reached the House, but ultimately fell short by a few votes. A ban on college sports betting all but doomed the legislation, an industry source said. 

Last year, sportsbooks started some lobbying efforts late, after legislation was killed. The industry source said to expect the sports betting industry to “get in and talk in a way they didn’t” last year.

“Opposition can be overcome with the right conversations with the right people,” the industry source said. “There is an opportunity for comprise, but it will likely be razor-thin margins.”

There are 28 new House members and 12 new Senators in North Carolina. In the past, former Charlotte Hornets Muggsy Bogues and Dell Curry spent time in the Capitol lobbying for sports betting.

North Carolina bill likely similar to 2022

If the bill carries similar language to 2022, the legislation would create 10 to 12 mobile sports betting licenses in North Carolina. It would also start with a tax rate of 8%.

In last year’s legislation, sports betting lounges would also be created for professional sports venues in the state. Recently, a coalition of professional sports organizations has sought control of at least eight licenses, according to WCNC. Organizations in the coalition include:

Retail sports betting opened at tribal casinos in the western part of the state in 2022.

Sports betting support in North Carolina

In April 2022, a WRAL News survey found 52% of North Carolinians wanted online sports betting, while a Spectrum News/IPSOS poll showed just 36% of registered voters supported online sports betting.

Last month, Senate leader Phil Berger told The Carolina Journal there is likely enough support for mobile sports betting to pass this year.