The prospect of legal North Carolina sports betting appears more likely with the latest version of Senate Bill 688 raising the state’s tax rate from 8% to 14% and doubling licensing fees for sportsbooks to $1 million.
North Carolina lawmakers are expected to vote on a bill by the end of June. Rep. Jason Saine (R- Lincoln) said the decision was made to negotiate more money for the state’s coffers.
“I think we’ve addressed that,” Saine said. “We’re certainly in the realm of other states and what other states are doing. I think this is a lot more substantial.”
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Legal Sports Betting Has Gubernatorial Support
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has expressed his support for legal sports betting in the state, but he had concerns about the modest tax rate that was originally proposed. It was estimated then that legal sports betting would generate between $8 million and $24 million annually in tax dollars.
“I think it is about time for us to step up and do it,” Cooper, a Democrat, told the ACC Now podcast. “[But] I think [there] probably … needs to be more state tax dollars involved in this, a bigger cut for the people.”
The latest development in the legislative process should assuage those concerns. Saine noted that a separate bill will be introduced to reflect the proposed change in tax rate and how the North Carolina Lottery Commission will serve as a regulating body.
“The reality is it’s going to take a while for the Lottery Commission to get geared up and get regulations into place and ready to go,” Saine said. “I’d love to have it done by the Super Bowl.”
That was an optimistic projection, as Saine added that it might not be possible until the spring of 2023.
Currently, sports betting is available in North Carolina only at two Cherokee-owned casinos in the Western part of the state.