North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Signs Sports Betting Bill

Posted on: June 15, 2023, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: June 15, 2023, 10:52h.

North Carolina sports betting off of tribal lands was legalized Wednesday afternoon. That’s when Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed legislation authorizing up to 12 commercial online sportsbooks. The law additionally allows the state’s professional sports venues to seek retail sports betting privileges.

North Carolina sports betting Roy Cooper
North Carolina Roy Cooper speaks after signing the state’s sports betting bill into law on June 14, 2023. The bill allows the North Carolina Education Lottery Commission to award as many as 12 online sportsbook licenses. (Image: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s Office)

House Bill 347 passed the North Carolina General Assembly on June 6. The statute requires interactive sportsbooks to pay a $1 million fee after being deemed suitable to possess such an online sports wagering license in the Tar Heel State. Licenses are good for five years, with renewals set at another $1 million for another five years.

Online sportsbooks will share 18% of their gross income with the state. Oddsmakers will be able to offer odds on professional and college sports, plus pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing.

The professional sports venues that qualify to seek an in-person sportsbook permit are PNC Arena in Raleigh, WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, Bank of America Stadium and Spectrum Center in Charlotte, Charlotte Motor Speedway, North Wilkesboro Speedway, Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, and Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte.

The North Carolina Education Lottery Commission will be responsible for reviewing applicants and issuing licenses, as well as regulating their operations. HB 347 allows online sportsbooks to commence as early as Jan. 8, 2024.

Economic Stimulator

Cooper expressed his support for North Carolina joining the more than 30 other states that have legalized gambling on sports. That’s since the US Supreme Court in May 2018 struck down a federal ban that had limited single-game wagering to Nevada.

North Carolina was already home to in-person sports betting at the state’s three tribal casinos. They started those ventures after the Native American tribes that own Harrah’s Cherokee, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River, and Catawba Two Kings Casino reworked their Class III gaming compacts with the state in 2021.

HB 347 makes legal sports betting more accessible, as next year anyone aged 21 and older who is physically located inside the state will be able to place a wager from their mobile device or computer. Cooper believes expanding gambling by way of sports will provide an economic boost to the state, and one that will endure for many years.

This is a historic moment for the state of North Carolina and this will benefit our economy for generations to come,” Cooper said after signing the sports betting bill.

“Let’s face it, sports wagering is already happening in our state,” Cooper said of the tribal sportsbooks and offshore websites that illegally target bettors. “This legislation allows the state of North Carolina to regulate it and put safeguards on it, as well as provide funding for helping people with problem gambling.”

Athletics Benefit

States with legal sports betting use the associated tax revenue in a variety of ways, but none do so as North Carolina plans. Tar Heel lawmakers decided to direct the state’s 18% sports betting tax to support college and amateur athletics.

After sports betting taxes are paid to the Lottery Commission to cover its administrative and regulatory costs in governing sports betting — and $2 million a year is set aside for gambling addiction education and treatment programs — the remaining taxes will support college and youth athletics.

Some $1 million a year will be allocated to a forthcoming grant program “to expand opportunities for persons up to age 18 to engage in youth sports.” $300K annually shall be appropriated to 13 college athletic departments.

Those beneficiaries are Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, North Carolina Central University, University of North Carolina at Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Pembroke, and Wilmington, Western Carolina University, and Winston-Salem State University.

If the funds aren’t enough to provide each of the 13 university athletic programs with $300K each, the pool will be broken down equally.

Should sports betting taxes be left over after paying each school $300K, the money will go to the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council to issue sports-related grants.