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2022 appeared to be the year that North Carolina legalizes sports betting, but the most recent vote on June 22 fell flat on the House Floor. North Carolina needed to pass two separate bills in order for sports betting to legalize in 2022. SB 38 is the new bill that made amendments to the original bill, SB 688.

SB 38 was able to to pass the Senate 51-50 and must win in the House next.

SB 688 had earned the green-light from the Senate previously but lost by one vote in the House, 51-50. This is devastating news that will likely push sports betting in North Carolina into 2023. The only hope of a sooner timeline is if lawmakers push one more time before session adjourns before this year’s elections.

Rep. Jason Saine, who is the main proponent for sports betting in North Carolina, said he’s not sure whether he’ll push for a bill before the end of session yet. But he does know this will remain an issue for the state because North Carolina is watching their peers around their state continue to profit off sports betting.

“I think it is about time for us to step up and do it,” Cooper, a Democrat, had previously told the ACC Now podcast on February 8.

Cooper said North Carolina needs to act fast to avoid falling behind.

“It’s here whether we like it or not,” Cooper said. “The issue is will North Carolina try to be on the cutting edge for the technology jobs and other employment that it will create and plus be able to get state taxpayers their cut or are we just going to let it happen all around us?”

Neighboring states are benefitting from the legalization of sports gambling in Virginia and Tennessee. A report last year said North Carolina could receive nearly $350 million in tax revenue from sports betting in its first five years.

A bill that would legalize mobile North Carolina sports betting continues to work its way through the state legislature and would allow people 21 and older to legally wager on professional, college, amateur (Olympics), and esports/competitive video gaming. Senate Bill 688 was approved by the House Commerce Committee in early November, though sports betting won’t come to the state until 2022. 

Sports betting is technically legal in North Carolina, but bettors are restricted to making wagers in-person at one of the two Cherokee-owned and operated casinos located in the western region of the state. A third tribal casino outside Charlotte has been approved to offer sports betting but has not yet begun operations. The new bill would allow sports fans throughout North Carolina to bet on college and professional sports among other events.

North Carolina Mobile Sports Betting Updates

Filed in spring of 2021, Senate Bill 688 passed the Senate vote 26-19 in August and has advanced to the House for further deliberation. It was approved by the House Commerce Committee, 12-4 on November 4. The bill allows for mobile sports betting and calls for offering 10-12 licenses. All of this pointed to legal mobile sports betting launching in the state in 2022.

Unfortunately, on June 22, Senate Bill 688 failed to receive enough votes to proceed forward. This came down to one vote, a shocking and disappointing development for a state that needed to progress the sports betting business in their region. SB 38 did pass by that same one vote, though, and will proceed to Senate alongside 688 once that has been amended or a new batch of lawmakers are sworn in next year.

If the bill passes and is signed into law by Cooper, the North Carolina Education Lottery would be responsible for issuing a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 12 licenses. Each license holder would be taxed 8% on its adjusted gross revenue. Cooper indicated he would like to see a higher tax rate.

“I think [there] probably … needs to be more state tax dollars involved in this, a bigger cut for the people,” he said.

An additional element to the proposed bill would be the creation of the North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund which would aim to drive economic development and create employment opportunities in the state. 

Fiscal analysis suggests annual revenue could be in the $8-24 million range, and likely toward the higher end of that estimation. Half of that revenue would be earmarked for the new fund with the remaining half ticketed for the state’s general fund.

Sportsbooks Coming To North Carolina

It is unclear at this time which sportsbooks will operate in North Carolina when legalized sports gambling launches. However, we can make some educated guesses as to who some of the top candidates will be when that time comes.

FanDuel North Carolina

FanDuel provides daily fantasy sports (DFS) to North Carolina residents, perhaps making for an easy transition into the gambling market. FanDuel has a user-friendly app accessible on both iOS and Android devices. It features live streaming, in-play betting, and a variety of sports on which to wager. Additionally, FanDuel also offers promotional odds for select games/events and sign-up bonuses for new users.

DraftKings North Carolina

Like FanDuel, DraftKings provides DFS to North Carolina residents and is a major sportsbook provider in most US states that have legalized sports betting. Both iOS and Android users will be able to operate DraftKings on mobile, and like FanDuel, DraftKings Sportsbook offers a deep selection of betting options. New users are rewarded with a sign-up bonus here as well.

BetMGM North Carolina

With a strong presence on the East Coast and plans to continue expanding in the region, BetMGM is a likely sportsbook to set up shop in North Carolina. BetMGM operates in neighboring states, Tennessee and Virginia, along with Washington DC and West Virginia among others.

Up to 12 companies would receive licenses to operate in North Carolina as part of the proposed bill, so there will be room for more operators to make their way into the state.

Projected Sports Betting Revenue In North Carolina

A report issued in North Carolina last year said the state could receive nearly $350 million in tax revenue from sports betting in its first five years.  While those who oppose the bill are pessimistic on the financial projections, other analysts suggest legal sports gambling could generate between $8-24 million annually, with the ultimate number likely falling toward the upper end of that range.

North Carolina Compared To Other States

While North Carolina awaits the legalization of mobile sports betting, residents can try to glean an idea of the eventual landscape by looking at what their neighbors have done in their own legalization efforts. 

Virginia launched in January 2021 as an online-only sports betting industry. While there were no retail locations in the state at the time, that is likely to change as plans to build casinos have begun to take shape. Richmond, Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth are the five cities in consideration to add retail locations. Betting on Virginia-based college teams is not allowed in the state, a restriction that is not uncommon among the states that have launched mobile gambling. There are eight online betting apps in Virginia, including FanDuel, which partnered with the Washington Football Team, which became the first NFL team to obtain a betting license.

Legal sports gambling in Tennessee also launched as online-only. There aren’t any retail locations in the state, but statewide mobile gambling is available through four licensed operators (FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings, Caesars).

The bill that would legalize mobile gambling in North Carolina suggests betting on professional and college sports would be allowed. While Virginia and Tennessee currently have eight and four licensees operating, respectively, the North Carolina Education Lottery commission would license up to 12 companies to offer sports gambling. 

North Carolina Betting Successes And Failures

  • June 2022 – Senate Bill 688 failed 51-50, and Senate Bill 38 passed 51-50. This will push legal sports betting back into 2023, barring an unforeseen push before session ends this year.
  • February 2022 – Governor Roy Cooper said 2022 could be the year that North Carolina legalizes sports gambling. “I think it is about time for us to step up and do it,” Cooper, a Democrat, told the ACC Now podcast.
  • November 2021 – The House Commerce Committee approved Senate Bill 688 in a 12-4 vote. The bill will still need to go through several committees before it reaches the House floor.
  • August 2021 – With a 26-19 tally, the NC Senate voted to approve the bill that would legalize mobile gambling in the state. The bill now moves to the House for further consideration.
  • April 2021 – The NC Senate filed SB688, a bill that would allow statewide mobile betting.
  • January 2019 – Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill that would allow sports and horse race wagering on tribal lands. Not to be confused with state-wide online betting, all wagers must be placed in-person at one of the two Cherokee-owned retail locations in the western region of the state.
  • August 2005 – While not directly related to current efforts to legalize sports gambling, the signing of the North Carolina State Lottery Act was a significant development in the state. The North Carolina State Lottery commission would be responsible for regulating online sports gambling in the state.

Sports Teams In North Carolina

North Carolina has cultivated a rich sports culture and serves as home to NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLS (2022) franchises. Additionally, there are a number of popular college programs in the state. As of now, it appears the bill would allow betting on college sports, but it will be worth monitoring the fine print on this particular detail.

Charlotte Hornets

Owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan, the Hornets are one of the league’s most iconic franchises from a brand recognition standpoint. Upon entering the league as an expansion team in 1988, they soon became known for their teal and purple color scheme, a raucous home arena, and a number of star players that led the way to their first playoff appearance and series win in 1993.

Carolina Panthers

Debuting in 1995, the Panthers have enjoyed a respectable amount of success, reaching a pair of Super Bowls in addition to several additional playoff appearances. Owner David Tepper bought the team in 2018 and has taken steps to raise the profile of the organization.

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes moved from Hartford to Raleigh in 1997 and wasted little time giving their new fanbase a winner to back. They reached their first Stanley Cup Final during the 2001-02 season and hoisted the Stanley Cup Trophy in 2005-06. 

Charlotte FC

Also owned by David Tepper, Charlotte FC is a new MLS franchise that will begin play in 2022–a year later than originally planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Mostly recognized for their prowess on the basketball court, UNC has turned its football program around under head coach Mack Brown.

Duke Blue Devils

One of the game’s premier basketball programs, Duke annually tips off against some of the game’s heavyweights in the preseason, and their cross-town rivalry with UNC is among the best in sports.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Though often overshadowed by the higher-profile programs in their backyard, the Wolfpack aren’t without their own rich history, both on the hardwood and the gridiron. Additionally, baseball has recently become a pillar of their athletic program.

Charlotte 49ers

The basketball program has fallen on tough times, posting two winning seasons over their last nine. They’re still a relatively new football program, having entered the FBS (formerly D-1A) ranks in 2015.

How To Place A Bet In North Carolina

While mobile betting is not yet allowed in North Carolina, a favorable timeline could make sports gambling legal by October 2022. And while two Cherokee-owned brick-and-mortar locations currently exist, the state could certainly see the development of additional retail shops. A third tribal casino outside Charlotte has been approved to offer sports betting but has not yet begun operations. 

If the bill passes, North Carolina law will allow venues with a capacity of at least 17,000 to host a sportsbook on-site. That means fans of the Panthers, Hornets, and Hurricanes would theoretically have the opportunity to place bets at Bank of America Stadium, Spectrum Center, and PNC Arena, respectively.

It remains to be seen what the registration process will entail for the state’s prospective gamblers, who may be required to register in person or allowed to do so online.

Regardless of the manner of registration, bettors will need to provide information to verify eligibility and location before they’re able to deposit funds into their account and place bets.

North Carolina Sports Betting FAQs

Is online sports betting legal in North Carolina?

Online sports betting is not currently legal in North Carolina. If the state’s sports gambling bill successfully passes into law, online and mobile betting is very likely to be allowed.

How old do I have to be to bet online in North Carolina?

In the proposed bill, North Carolina residents who are 21 and older will be eligible to bet online.

Is it legal to bet on college sports in North Carolina?

It is not currently legal to bet on college sports in North Carolina. However, the proposed bill suggests that betting on college sports will be allowed if it passes into law. It will be necessary to consult the fine print to be sure of any restrictions related to gambling in college contests.

Who would regulate online sportsbook apps in North Carolina?

In the event sports gambling becomes legal in the state, the North Carolina Education Lottery commission would be responsible for regulating sportsbook apps. They would offer a minimum of 10 licenses and a maximum of 12.

Will I be able to bet on my iPhone in North Carolina?

Many sportsbooks have mobile apps that are accessible for both iPhone and Android users. On an iOS device, search for your app of choice in the App Store. On an Android device, check out the Google Play Store.

About the Author
Craig Williams

Craig Williams

Craig Williams is a Charlotte-based writer for Gaming Today, who has worked professionally in the gaming, fantasy sports, and sports business industries. He’s an avid fantasy football player, managing over 100 leagues across multiple formats. When he’s not pouring over Vegas odds and statistics, he’s indulging in soccer and enjoys anything from LigaMX to Champions League.

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