North Carolina Sports Betting Legalized, Market Launching in Early 2024

Spread the Word:

North Carolina will be getting a legal sports betting market in 2024.

House Bill 347 was signed into law yesterday by Governor Roy Cooper (D) during a special ceremony at the NBA Charlotte Hornets’ Spectrum Center.

It legalizes online and retail betting on professional and college sports in the Tar Heel State, as well as amateur markets and esports betting.

Under the new legal framework, 12 online sportsbook licenses will be issued alongside a further eight for retail venues.

The state’s Native American tribes will also be allowed to open two online sportsbooks to go with their existing two retail sportsbooks at tribal casino venues.

“This is a historic moment for the state of North Carolina, and this will benefit our economy for generations to come,” Gov. Cooper said after signing the bill.

Bipartisan Accomplishment

This week’s legalization is the result of several years of hard work from North Carolina’s politicians who favored sports betting.

The bill had cross-party support for the most part during its journey to the governor’s desk.

“This is truly a bipartisan accomplishment, one of many over the last few years,” Cooper said. “This certainly will help North Carolina compete, and that is critical.”

The primary sponsors were Representatives Jason Saine (R-97), John. R. Bell (R-10), Ashton Wheeler Clemmons (D-57), and Zack Hawkins (D-31).

The bill was introduced in March of this year, passing the House with a 64-45 vote in favor. It then went to the Senate on June 1, where it passed 37-11, but with a few amendments.

Those changes went back to the House last week, which passed the final version, 69-44.

It then landed on the Governor’s desk on June 9. He signed it into law on June 14.

Time Line to Launch

Under the new legislation, the North Carolina Lottery Commission must have a regulatory framework in place for the market by January 8, 2024.

The first licenses must be issued by June 2024.  

Online operators will pay a $1 million license fee, which will need renewing every five years.

Retail sportsbooks will pay $50,000 for a five-year license, with their partner technology suppliers paying a further $30,000.

The eight potential physical sportsbook locations include the very same Spectrum Center Stadium in which Governor Cooper signed the bill into law.

Also on the list of potential sports betting venues are NASCAR’s famous Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Bank of America Stadium, also in Charlotte.

Outside of the state’s largest city, North Wilkesboro’s Speedway and Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro also make the list.  

Tax Affairs

When it comes to the state’s interest in the market, there will be an 18% flat tax on gross gaming income. That does not include allowances for promotional credits.

That second clause is interesting, as lawmakers in neighboring Tennessee recently voted to change their sports betting tax structure after they found they were losing out on tax due to the operators’ promotional losses.

The state expects to see a North Carolina sports betting market worth $100 million a year when it matures.

Some $2 million in taxes will be earmarked for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to offer problem gambling services.

An additional $2 million will be put aside for youth sports and outdoor heritage funds. The remaining tax money will contribute to North Carolina’s Events, Games and Attractions fund, the general state fund, and a program to help smaller colleges and universities.

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