The House of Representatives is one more vote in the affirmative away from likely legalizing North Carolina online sports betting and expanding brick-and-mortar sports betting throughout the Tar Heel State.

This afternoon the House voted in favor of concurrence for the changes made by the Senate to HB 347 by a 67-42 vote. The bill will likely be heard and voted on in a third reading tomorrow before potentially being sent to Gov. Roy Cooper (D) for his signature.

The entire vote and discussion lasted all of five minutes, but expect the third reading and final vote to include more fireworks from sports betting opponents.

Final vote likely to include more opposition

Rep. Jason Saine (R-97), the original author of HB 347, opened up discussion on the bill and moved that the House concur with the bill’s changes.

The second reading and vote included no debate and little comment from House of Representatives members. However, Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-61), an outspoken opponent of the sports betting bill, questioned if she and other representatives would have the opportunity to discuss the changes made to the bill on the House floor.

House Speaker Tim Moore (R-111) said more debate would be allowed for on third reading, which he said could take place as early on Wednesday afternoon.

If approved by the House and signed into law by Governor Cooper, HB 347 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.

Sports betting will be launched in the state “no later than 12 months after the act becomes law.” This likely sets up a sports betting launch sometime in 2024.

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.

At an 18% tax rate on gross gaming revenue, the state estimates $22.1 million in total sports wagering tax and fee revenue by FY 2023-2024, which increases to $100.6 million by FY 2027-28.

Proposed sports betting revenue distribution

If approved, North Carolina sports betting tax revenues will be distributed as follows:

  • $2 million annually for gambling addiction and treatment services
  • $1 million annually to Division of Parks and Recreation for the purchase of youth sports equipment
  • $300,000 each annually to seven state universities for their athletic departments
  • $1 million annually to Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council for grants

If there is any remaining revenue, it will be distributed as follows:

  • 20% to 13 historically black colleges and universities for their athletic departments
  • 30% to a fund to attract major sporting events to the state (Super Bowl, March Madness, etc.)
  • 50% to the state’s general fund

Online sports betting licenses will cost $1 million for a five-year license.