North Carolina’s online sports betting bill will likely become law within the next 10 days, officially kicking off a 12-month countdown for the state to launch online sports betting.

The Tar Heel State’s sports betting bill, HB 347, yesterday received final approval from the House of Representatives and will be officially sent to Gov. Roy Cooper (D) for his signature on Friday, June 9. The House approved the bill by a 69-45 vote, effectively ending a two year journey to legalize online sports betting in the state.

Cooper will have 10 days to either sign the bill, veto the bill, or do nothing to the bill, in which case it will go into law automatically. Cooper has previously indicated that he will sign the bill into law.

Next steps for North Carolina online sports betting

Van Denton, director of communications for the North Carolina State Lottery Commission, said the regulatory commission will begin the process of developing sports betting rules and regulations once the bill is signed into law by Gov. Cooper.

“The new law will give the N.C. State Lottery Commission and its staff the job of licensing and regulating sports betting on professional and college sports as well as horse racing. Sports betting and horse racing are new to North Carolina and it will be a new responsibility for the commission. The law gives the commission up to a year to get the rules and regulations in place so 12 sports wagering operators as well as all their providers and suppliers can get licensed. Once the legislation becomes law, the commission will start work to meet those responsibilities so that sports betting can begin and so that it will be conducted as responsibly as possible,” he told Saturday Down South.

If the bill becomes law the state will legalize 12 online sports betting licenses and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at “places of public accommodation.” Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks will be allowed on the property of a stadium or arena, or within one-and-a-half miles of the facility. The sportsbooks will only accept cash bets.

These brick-and-mortar sportsbooks will be allowed at up to eight “places of public accommodation” in the state. Each of the licensed stadiums or arenas will be allowed to partner with up to one online sports betting operator.

The bill has been amended considerably since its House approval in March, namely by increasing the tax rate from 14% to 18%, allowing a brick-and-mortar betting element, adding pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing, and disallowing sports betting operators to deduct promotional bets from their gross revenues.

The approved bill sets a sports betting tax rate at 18% of gross gaming revenue and allows for pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing. It allows allows bets on professional sports, college sports (including in-state schools), eSports, and the Olympic games.

Healthy appetite for North Carolina sports betting

GeoComply, a company that provides geolocation services for online sports betting companies, identified over 1.5 million transactions from North Carolina residents attempting to access legal betting apps in outside markets between Jan. 1, 2023, through June 1, 2023. The company blocked all attempts to access the sports betting apps, but it shows the hunger North Carolina residents have for sports betting.

The attempts came from 155,000 unique sports betting accounts in the state, according to the company.

The interest in the Tar Heel State for sports betting is “undeniable,” John A. Pappas, SVP, Government and Public Affairs of GeoComply, said.

“Congratulations to the North Carolina legislature for responding to their constituent’s demand for legal mobile sports betting. Since the start of the year, our data shows more than 1.5 million geolocation checks from nearly 155,000 sports wagering accounts across the state. While our technology did not permit these individuals to bet, the interest is undeniable. It is also undisputed that regulation will give adult bettors in North Carolina safe and accountable options to wager and the state an important new revenue stream,” Pappas said.