Finance Committee Green Lights North Carolina Sports Betting Bill

North Carolina’s House Finance Committee voted Wednesday morning to pass the state’s new sports betting bill; its second favorable recommendation in as many days.

House Bill 347, the North Carolina sports betting bill, cleared its first hearing Tuesday in the House Committee on Commerce. Things are moving quickly, which could be a good thing for sports betting hopefuls in the state. The bill is scheduled to be heard Wednesday afternoon during a Judiciary 1 Committee hearing.

Finance Committee approves sports betting bill

The Tar Heel State’s new sports betting bill has had a packed schedule. The proposed legislation had its first hearing Tuesday afternoon, before immediately heading to another committee Wednesday.

All things considered, the Wednesday meeting in the Finance Committee went well for the bill. The group voted to approve its current version during the hearing.

Rep. Deb Butler, D-New Hanover, put up some resistance to the bill during Tuesday’s heaeing. She was back again in the Finance Committee to introduce another new amendment to the bill.

The current version of the bill calls for the State Lottery Commission to regulate sports betting in North Carolina. Butler’s amendment would have required sportsbook operators to foot the bill for the commission’s operations, rather than having the commission deduct money from the industry’s tax earnings to pay expenses.

That amendment failed.

Rep. Tim Longest, D-Wake, introduced a promotion-related amendment during the hearing.

The current bill would allow online sportsbooks to deduct promotional credits from their tax burden. Longest’s amendment would have removed that possibility. Promotion-related deductions are common in other states with legal sports betting industries.

Longest’s amendment failed. He also introduced a second amendment during Wednesday’s meeting to raise the tax rate to 51%. That would have mirrored the tax rate in New York, which is by far the highest in the country.

That amendment also failed by a large margin.

Sports betting bill fiscal note

A new fiscal note accompanied the bill during its Wednesday morning meeting. That note is a financial impact statement that estimates the bill’s influence on North Carolina’s criminal justice system.

The new sports betting bill plans to establish a new Class G and I felony offense, plus two new Class 2 misdemeanors. These potential charges would go into effect for residents of the state who are charged with trying to bet illegally, bet underage or are charged with trying to illegally influence the outcome of a sporting event.

The report found that the new Class G felony, the most serious charge out of the new group, could cost the state up to $11,071 per sentence.

These types of fiscal notes are common for new bills, and more of them will be on the way in the near future.

What’s next for North Carolina’s sports betting bill?

Now that the bill has cleared the Finance Committee, it’s off to Judiciary 1, another standing committee in the House.

That committee meets at noon every Wednesday. In other words, it will be on the next committee’s plate in just a few hours.

The goal is to get North Carolina’s sports betting industry up and running by Jan. 8, 2024. The faster the bill passes through the statehouse, the more realistic that launch date becomes. State bettors can then look forward to taking advantage of a multitude of competitive NC sports betting promos and welcome bonuses from some of the industry’s top betting operators.

About the Author

Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.