North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed the state’s mobile sports betting bill into law during an appearance at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on Wednesday morning.
Gov. Cooper’s approval follows the NC House’s June 7 passage of House Bill 347 by a vote of 69-44. This third and final vote approved amendments made in the Senate.
Pursuant to one of those amendments, mobile sports betting in North Carolina will launch within 12 months of Cooper’s signature. The North Carolina Lottery will determine the specific go-live date.
“This is a historic moment for the state of North Carolina,” Cooper said at the Spectrum Center moments before signing the bill. “This will benefit our economy for generations to come.”
Gov. Cooper was joined on stage by several representatives of North Carolina sports teams.
Sports Betting in North Carolina
Sports betting had already technically been legal in North Carolina. However, bettors are currently restricted to making wagers in-person at one of three retail sportsbooks in the state. House Bill 347 significantly expands the availability of sports betting within the Tar Heel state.
The North Carolina Lottery now has the authority to issue betting licenses to up to 12 gambling operators. Eight of those licenses will be tethered to professional sports facilities, leaving the opportunity for four standalone mobile sports betting licenses. The tribes currently operating the retail sportsbooks will also be allowed to offer their own mobile sports betting apps, and those licenses do not count against the 12 put forth in this law.
The NFL Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte), Charlotte Motor Speedway, North Wilkesboro Speedway, NHL Hurricanes’ PNC Arena (Raleigh), Quail Hollow Country Club (Charlotte), Sedgefield Country Club (Greensboro), NBA Hornets’ Spectrum Center (Charlotte), and WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary) can all apply for both retail locations and digital platforms.
House Representative Jason Saine’s (R, Lincolntown) bill cleared the Senate by a vote of 37-11 on June 1, after the Senate added language that would also authorize horse racing and horse race betting in North Carolina.
How North Carolina Will Apply Sports Gambling Taxes
Tax proceeds from Rep. Saine’s bill are assigned to support gambling addiction education and treatment programs, local governments, or nonprofit organizations dedicated to amateur and youth sports, and athletic departments across the state’s universities, as well as provide grants to draw entertainment, musical, political, sporting, or theatrical events to the state’s venues.
“It will benefit North Carolina taxpayers by giving them a portion of the earnings,” Cooper said. “Let’s face it, sports wagering is already happening in our state. Surrounding states here and across the country are already taking advantage.”
He added, “This legislation allows the state of North Carolina to regulate it and to put safeguards on it, as well as providing funding for helping people with problem gambling.”
That support will be greater due to the Commerce & Insurance Committee’s recent decision to raise the sports betting revenue tax rate to 18% and eliminate deductions for promotional credits. The tax applies to the gross wagering revenue of the interactive sports wagering operator.
State projections show that by the third year of legalization, total bets are expected to exceed $6.6 billion, generating $100 million in tax revenue.
Kris Johnson contributed to this story from Charlotte.