HB347 will allow between 10 to 12 online sports betting operators.
HB347 has advanced out of the North Carolina House.
Representative Jason Saine and a bipartisan group of lawmakers filed House Bill 347, which has now been approved by a vote of 64-45 in the North Carolina House. The bill will now advance to the Senate for further consideration. Governor Roy Cooper has indicated that he will sign the bill into law if it is passed by the Senate.
If passed, HB347 would legalize online sports betting by January 1, 2024, allowing for up to 12 operators to obtain renewable licenses for $1 million each. The bill would permit betting on a variety of sports, including professional, college, electronic, and Olympic sports. Currently, sports betting is only permitted at tribal casinos in North Carolina, but if the bill is passed, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission would regulate sports betting within the state.
Under the proposed legislation, a tax rate of 14% would be established. Of the revenue generated, $2 million annually would be allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services to support gambling education and treatment programs. Additionally, $1 million would be provided to the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation to provide equal grants of up to $10,000 for upgrades to youth sports equipment and facilities in counties throughout the state.
In addition to the aforementioned provisions, the bill would also provide up to $300,000 annually to the athletic departments of seven universities in North Carolina, namely Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T University, North Carolina Central University, University of North Carolina at Asheville, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Winston-Salem State University. Furthermore, $1 million of the tax revenue generated by the bill would be allocated to the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council, which would award grants to support various projects related to outdoor recreation and conservation throughout the state.
Under the proposed legislation, the remaining tax revenue generated by sports betting in North Carolina would be distributed as follows: 10% would be allocated to the athletic departments of the seven universities listed above, 30% would be directed to the North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund, and the remaining 60% would be deposited into the state’s general fund.
Representative Jason Saine, who introduced House Bill 347, stated that it is conservatively estimated that the state of North Carolina would generate at least $50 million in revenue per year if the bill is passed into law. This comes after previous efforts to legalize sports betting in North Carolina failed by a single vote in 2022.