Fans of the Carolina Panthers might not have to wait much longer for legal sports betting at a home game.
On Tuesday, the House Commerce Committee voted 17-10 in favor of a bipartisan plan to legalize and regulate ten to twelve online sports betting applications like FanDuel and DraftKings in North Carolina. On Wednesday, the bill passed the House Finance Committee. The House may take up the bill later this week or early next.
If House Bill 347 passes this legislative session, internet sports betting might begin in January of 2024.
Sports wagers could also be placed in person at North Carolina’s professional sports arenas, NASCAR racetrack, and professional golf tournament sites.
Although the Eastern Band of Cherokee Peoples’ Harrah’s casino in western North Carolina and the Catawba Indian Nation’s casino west of Charlotte currently provide retail sports betting, online betting would be geo-fenced outside of North Carolina tribal territories. In addition to the maximum of 12, the tribes would be awarded their own online sports betting licenses.
North Carolina CBS17 reported on Tuesday that Rep. Zack Hawkins, D-Durham, the bill’s chief co-sponsor, said the legislation’s purpose was to seize funds that were being diverted to illicit sports betting operations.
“We know that it exists, but instead of ignoring it, we want to bring it from the shadows into the light,” Hawkins was quoted as saying by CBS17. As with the legalization of alcohol and tobacco, this new tax revenue source could be used in the state.
Taxes and licenses for sports betting in North Carolina could bring the state $60 million a year
Under HB 347, licenses for conducting sports wagering online would be valid for a period of five years. The state may get $12 million from the initial licensing of up to 12 potential operators ($1 million total, or $1 million per licensee) plus $1 million from each renewal. Suppliers and service providers would also need to be accredited.
Online and in-person sports betting at the types of facilities envisaged by the law would be subject to a 14 percent tax on adjusted gross revenue. Professional, collegiate, and Olympic sports, along with esports, parimutuel, and other amateur competitions, would all be open to wagering.
According to a report by ABC 11 on Wednesday, the state might get $60 million in tax and license revenue in FY 2024-25. Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed budget, unveiled last week, included that projection.
ABC 11 reports that Cooper, a Democrat, supports bill HB 347. Leader Hawkins and Republican Lincoln Representative Jason Saine are among the bill’s fifty cosponsors in the House.
The NC Sports Betting Law Will Help Problem Gambling, HBCUs, and Events Fund
The issue of problematic gambling is not ignored in Bill 347. Should sports betting become legal in the state, two million dollars yearly would be donated to programs run by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The rest of the state’s annual tax take from sports betting would be split up as follows.
North Carolina’s Department of Parks and Recreation will receive $1 million to distribute as grants for youth sports programs, with each county receiving up to $10,000.
The North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory has $1 million to give away in awards of up to $5,000. County requesting funding to support county clubs and teams’ away-from-home trips
Each of seven HBCUs will receive $300,000 to put toward their athletic departments.
The rest, if any, of the money: Sixty percent goes to the state’s general revenue, ten percent to the aforementioned seven HBCUs, and thirty percent goes to the North Carolina Big Events, Games, and Attractions Fund, which was established to entice major events to the state.
Activities other than athletics would be eligible for funding from the state’s Big Events, Games, and Attractions Fund. Any large event, whether musical, political, sporting, or other, might be funded with the help of local authorities and site selection committees.
Even still, not all legislators support the bill. CBS17 reports that Rep. Deb Butler (D-New Hanover) testified against Bill 347 on Tuesday in committee. She was clear that she thinks the measure would worsen problem gambling.
According to CBS17, Butler warned that “Online sports betting is going to expand dramatically if we go down this route.” “We are consciously endorsing even more aggressive, outrageous, out-of-control, and sad conduct.”