North Carolina Sports Betting Bill Advances After Senate Vote

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The North Carolina senate voted 26-19 on Thursday to pass a legislation that would allow legal mobile sports betting and sports betting shops located at or near major spots venues.

Senate Bill 688 now advances to the North Carolina House of Representatives for action. A companion been has been stuck in the House for months but the bill’s proponents hope that the Senate’s vote will push their counterparts in the House of Representatives to help push it forward.

If the bill passes out of the Republican party controlled General Assembly, it would still have to go through the office of Gov. Roy Cooper for his signature before it becomes a law.

North Carolina Sports Betting Will Have One of the Lowest Tax Rates in the Country

If the bill is signed to a law, it will permit 10 to 12 online spots betting operators in the state. Owners of the state’s major sports venues like the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, and Carolina Hurricanes will also be allowed to open a retail sportsbook at their venues. The host of the PGA Tour can also establish its own brick and mortar shop.

The initial licensing fees for mobile operators would be $500,000 with a renewal fee of $100,000 every five years. Gross gaming revenue would be taxed at 8%, which is one of the lowest tax rates in the country. Because of the low tax rates, competition for the limited licenses is expected to be stiff.

Only eligible bettor aged 21 or over are allowed to register make deposits, and place bets from anywhere within the state’s borders. In-person registration is not required and bettors can place bets on in-state college programs and eSports events as approved by the regulators.

Tribal Online Sports Betting License Will Not Count Against the Total

The North American Tribes in the state could also apply for a mobile gaming license since their current compact with the state only permits in-person wagering.

Currently, legal North Carolina sports betting only takes place at its two casinos, the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Cherokee Valley River via retail sportsbooks operated by Caesars Entertainment. A third casino, which is owned by the Catawba Nation and is still under construction, is also expected to offer legal sports betting when it commences operations.

If the Cherokees and the Catawba both apply for a mobile sports betting license, which is expected, and get approved, their licenses will not count against the sports betting bill’s 10-12 limit.

NC Sports Betting Bill on the Move

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A bill that seeks to legalize online sports betting in North Carolina is expected to get a legislative committee hearing in the coming days. Although this is an early step in a long process, it’s a sign that the measure is gaining traction.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Tuesday after noon that SB 688 will finally move this week from from the Senate Committee on Rules and Operations, where it was referred to last April 8 after a first reading.

The movement means that the legislative measure got the nod from the Senate Republican caucus which is a key arbiter for the bill’s chances. Lead sponsor Sen. Jim Perry said that there’s a “reasonable amount of support from the caucus to move forward” with committee discussion. But he expects additions and changes, as bills often do in the House.

12 Online Licenses

Senate Bill 688 would permit 12 online licenses to be issues and allow sports professional sports facilities and venues that host more than 17,000 fans to receive licenses as well. These include facilities that are home to North American professional sports teams like the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.

Under the bill, the operators will be regulated by the state and taxed 8% of their sports betting revenues. Legal North Carolina sports betting is expected to generate tens of millions of dollars for the state. The revenue will go to areas in North Carolina that need development.

Legal Wagers Outside Tribal Casinos

North Carolina’s current law permits sports gambling but only at tribal casinos. Harrah’s Casino, located at the mountains of western North Carolina and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, recently opened a sports betting facility earlier this year inside the property.

The Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain, currently operating at a temporary site, will also be allowed to operate legal sports betting and it is expected to do once it is completed. The Casino Two Kings Casino’s main $273M facility will open with an introductory phase at the end of this year.