Online NC sports betting legislation took a giant leap forward Wednesday.
The North Carolina House, which killed online sports betting legislation last year, voted in favor of HB 347, 64-45, Wednesday. The online North Carolina sports betting legislation now heads to the Senate, which passed a similar bill last session.
Gov. Roy Cooper also supports the legislation and included sports betting in his budget. The bill was introduced two weeks ago, and a Senate timeline is not yet clear. North Carolina’s legislative session ends August 31, although bills can carry into the following year.
Hurdles clear in North Carolina House
Similar to its path to the House floor, legislators voted against any amendments to HB 347 during debate Tuesday and Wednesday. Legislators proposed 17 amendments on the floor this week.
That likely keeps the bill clean in how it was negotiated and how it gained enough support that proponents were confident of its passage at introduction.
Last year, Senate legislation fell a vote short in the House, where legislators added an amendment prohibiting betting on college sports. Rep. John Autry introduced the same amendment Tuesday and the chamber voted against it, 68-40.
Proposed sports betting amendments in North Carolina
Proponents fought off eight amendments before the bill’s second reading Tuesday evening. Wednesday’s session included nine more proposed amendments.
Those failed amendments included:
- Autry also proposed significantly limiting where advertising can be seen (73-36.)
- Rep. Cynthia Ball proposed increasing license fees from $1 million to $10 million (81-27).
- Rep. Pricey Harrison proposed delaying the launch from 2024 to 2026 (81-28.)
- Rep. Tim Longest proposed increasing the tax rate to 51%; (84-26.) Longest also proposed increasing the tax rate to 36% (73-35.)
- Longest also proposed eliminating promotional deductions, which the bill phases out in 2027 (67-41.)
- Rep. Marcia Morey proposed banning promotional credits (81-29.)
- Morey also proposed to eliminate mobile wagering and shifting it to in-person betting at sports venues (86-22.)
- Rep. Julie von Haefen proposed increasing regulatory fines from $10,000 to $1 million (86-25.)
Coordinated path through committees
HB 347 moved swiftly through three House committees last week.
During the committees, multiple amendments were proposed in each. All of them were voted down, including many similar to the ones proposed on the floor this week.
The clean path suggested the support on the House floor was in place. There are 56 bipartisan House sponsors on the bill.
NC sports betting already legal
Legal in-person NC sports betting began at two Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians casinos in March 2021. A Catawba Nation casino opened an in-person sportsbook in September 2022.
The bill moving through the legislature would create 10 to 12 online sports betting licenses. The legislation also includes a 14% tax on online sports betting revenue.
Cooper’s two-year budget includes $85 million in tax revenue from online sports betting.