In less than 24 hours, two North Carolina online sports betting bills moved through three committees and now find themselves on the House floor.

Bill SB 688 and bill SB 38 both today received favorable reports from the House Finance Committee and House Rules Committee. SB 688, the already approved Senate online sports betting bill, only needs to be affirmed by the House to be sent to Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to be signed into law. SB 38 needs to be approved by members of the House and then be sent to the Senate for concurrence.

The bills are working in tandem to legalize online sports betting in the state.

North Carolina online sports betting details

If both bills are approved and signed into law by Gov. Cooper, the Tar Heel state would see online sports betting launch no earlier than Jan. 1, 2023. The bills allow 10 to 12 online sports betting licenses and sets the tax rate at 14% of gross gaming revenue minus promotional deductions.

Approved by the Senate in 2021, SB 688 originally called for an 8% online sports betting tax, set license fees at $1 million, and the renewal fees at $100,000. 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.

SB 38, which was first introduced and approved in yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee 1 meeting, raises the state’s online sports betting tax rate to 14% and increases license renewal fees to $1 million. It keeps the license fee at $1 million and allows the same facilities to apply for online sports betting licenses.

The bill does clarify details on the size of facilities that are eligible for apply for a license:

  • A motor sports facility or NASCAR facility must have a minimum seating capacity for at least 17,000 attendees
  • A professional golf event or golf facility must have the capacity for at least 50,000 attendees

A fiscal analysis of the original SB 688 bill estimated North Carolina could potentially see $8 million to $24 million in annual sports betting tax revenue. However, this revenue estimate was based on the 8% tax rate, so revenues will likely be greater than the original analysis believed.

Bill amended in committee

Several amendments to SB 38 were approved in both committees. Revenue distribution amendments were approved as follows:

  • $2 million for gambling addiction treatment and awareness
  • $5,000 for each state county to fund youth sports
  • 10% of revenue to state historically black colleges and universities
  • 30% to a “Special Event Fund.”
  • 60% to the general fund

The special event fund, Rep. Jim Perry (R-7), will devote funds to luring large sporting events to be hosted by the state. These range from major NASCAR events to the Super Bowl, he said.

An amendment was also approved to reduce the number of years online operators can claim deductions on promos from five to three years.