North Carolina lawmakers confident in online sports betting by fall
A Senate-approved North Carolina sports betting bill has yet to be discussed during the state’s current legislative session, but lawmakers are confident in the bill’s chances to be approved by the House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 688, sponsored by Sen. Paul A. Lowe, Jr. (D-32), was approved by the Senate last year in August by a vote of 26-19. Because the state legislative session runs for two years, the bill can still be considered in 2022. It currently resides in the House Judiciary Committee, but lawmakers are confident it will be discussed in the House this session.
North Carolina currently allows retail sports betting at its brick-and-mortar casinos. Two Caesars Sportsbooks opened in late 2021 at tribal casinos in the Western part of the state.
Does North Carolina online sports betting have the votes?
In an interview with WRAL News, Lowe expressed his confidence that the bill has enough support, and votes, in the House to pass. If approved and signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper (D), the bill will allow between 10 to 12 online sports betting operators and set the online sports betting tax rate at 8%. In addition to casinos, the law includes language that will allow North Carolina professional sports facilities, race tracks, and PGA-event golf courses to offer online sports betting.
An online sports betting license will cost an applicant $500,000 if approved.
Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) said once the bill is brought up in session, it should have a clear path to legalization.
“We’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve not heard any new opposition,” Saine told WRAL News. “I think we have a pretty smooth glide path once we do kind of start rolling into session.”
If approved, Saine said online sports betting could be launched in the beginning of the NFL season, or certainly by mid-season.
Online Sports Betting Financial Impact
It’s anticipated that online sports betting will generate between $1 million and $3 million annually per percentage point of tax on gross gaming revenue, according to a financial impact analysis of the proposed bill.
Revenue is anticipated between $2.6 million and $8 million in the first year of operation, which takes into to account the necessary time to implement the new form of gaming into the state.
When fully operational, annual online sports betting revenue is estimated between $8 million to $24 million. This would generate $3 million to $11 million for the North Carolina general fund, $4 million to $12 million for the North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund, and $1 million for problem gambling treatment and education. according to the analysis.