The new push for online sports betting in North Carolina is set to begin next week.
According to multiple industry sources, a bill to legalize online NC sports betting will be introduced as early as Monday. Retail sports betting is legal at tribal casinos in North Carolina.
The legislation will essentially mirror a 2022 effort that passed the Senate, but stalled out in the House, in part because of the addition a ban on betting on in-state college sports. There will be no in-state college ban in the new bill.
Sportsbooks onboard this year in North Carolina?
The legislation will carry similar language to last year’s, including creating 10 to 12 mobile sports betting licenses. The tax rate will likely be 14%, along with a $1 million license fee, according to a trailer bill passed last year to adjust final figures before the main bill failed.
Last year, sportsbook operators were late to the game in supporting the NC effort. An industry source said companies should be on the ground in greater force this year.
“Opposition can be overcome with the right conversations with the right people,” the industry source told LSR earlier this month. “There is an opportunity for compromise, but it will likely be razor-thin margins.”
Sports organization support for North Carolina sports betting
Professional sports organizations in North Carolina lobbied extensively in previous years to support their inclusion in the industry. Earlier this year, the organizations expressed their desire to control eight of 12 operator licenses created in legislation.
Pro sports organizations in North Carolina include:
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Carolina Panthers
- Charlotte FC
- Charlotte Hornets
- Charlotte Motor Speedway
- NC Courage
- PGA Tour
Wider support for North Carolina expansion
Gov. Roy Cooper supports sports betting and recently told local reporters he heard the legislation has support to pass. Rep. Jason Saine, who sponsored the House effort that failed by one vote in 2022, echoed Cooper’s optimism in The News & Observer.
“Last session’s process helped identify matters that needed to be worked on with the legislation, as well as giving members (time) to talk to their constituents about the possibility of legalized sports betting,” Saine told The News & Observer.
Lobbyist Ches McDowell, who is representing NC teams, told LSR this week he also believes the legislation has a strong chance to pass after the extra year of work, and it is likely to move quickly following introduction.