Cooper Signs NC Sports Betting Bill; Launch By Mid-June 2024

Legal online sports betting will launch in North Carolina between Jan. 8, 2024, and June 14, 2024, after Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 347 on Wednesday morning.

Cooper signed the bill in a ceremony at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte. It expands North Carolina sports betting from retail sportsbooks at the state’s three tribal casinos to eight professional sports facilities and up to 12 online sportsbooks. Possible sports betting operators in North Carolina include FanDuel NC, DraftKings NC, Caesars NC, BetMGM NC and Bet365 North Carolina.

“This is a historic moment for the state of North Carolina, and this will benefit our economy for generations to come,” Cooper said Wednesday in his remarks.

The North Carolina Lottery Commission (NCLC) will regulate sports betting. It has 12 months from Wednesday to get the industry off the ground, but no sooner than Jan. 8. With the sports betting expansion comes legal betting on horse races and more retail betting options.

NC sports betting includes pari-mutuel horse racing

Horse race pari-mutuel betting will now be legal in North Carolina. Pari-mutuel betting is a system in which bets are pooled together. Winners are paid out with money from the pool. The bill also establishes licensing for advance deposit wagering (ADW).

ADW allows people in North Carolina to bet on horse races online before an upcoming race. This means North Carolinians can bet on horse races such as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes through a horse race betting app like FanDuel Racing.

Retail sports betting expansion in North Carolina

The state’s three tribal casinos – Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel in Murphy and Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain – have been home to the state’s three retail sportsbooks. That changes in the new law.

Retail sports betting can expand to eight sports facilities across the state or within a 1.5-mile radius around the facility. Those facilities include:

  • Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte;
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway;
  • North Wilkesboro Speedway;
  • PNC Arena in Raleigh;
  • Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte;
  • Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro;
  • Spectrum Center in Charlotte; and
  • WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

New retail sportsbooks at these locations are limited to accepting cash bets.

North Carolina sports betting tax revenue

At 18%, North Carolina’s tax rate on operators falls between its neighbors with legal sports betting. Virginia’s tax rate is 15%. Tennessee’s rate is 20%. Tennessee, however, will start taxing operators’ handle on July 1 instead of operators’ revenue.

The Fiscal Research Division estimated revenue from North Carolina sports betting tax collections will start at $64.6 million in fiscal year 2024-25. The estimate jumps to $100.6 million in fiscal year 2027-28.

“[Sports betting] will benefit North Carolina taxpayers by giving them a portion of the earnings,” Cooper said.

Operators cannot write off promotional spending from their taxable income. When a sportsbook launches in a state, it often entices consumers by offering promotional credits or bonus bets for creating an account and depositing money. You can learn more about the exclusive North Carolina sportsbook promos currently on offer here. In states where they are allowed to, operators can subtract the money spent on these offers from their taxable income. This is not allowed in North Carolina.

Among the uses for sports betting tax revenue, $2 million will go annually to the Department of Health and Human Services to fight problem gambling. Cooper said Wednesday he’d like to see lawmakers divert more of the revenue to public education.

“As we implement this legislation, I urge the Legislature to focus more on investing funding in public education,” Cooper said. “Our teachers, our students, our public schools need us.”

When can North Carolinians bet legally?

The NCLC has 12 months from Wednesday to launch sports betting. However, the law stipulates Jan. 8 is the soonest launch can happen. It must develop rules and regulations for the industry. It also must vet operators that apply for licenses.

“The new law will give the N.C. State Lottery Commission and its staff the job of licensing and regulating sports betting on professional and college sports, as well as horse racing,” lottery Communications Director Van Denton told NCSharp last week. “Sports betting and horse racing are new to North Carolina, and it will be a new responsibility for the commission. The law gives the commission up to a year to get the rules and regulations in place so 12 sports wagering operators, as well as all their providers and suppliers, can get licensed.”

Image courtesy of WRAL.com screen grab

About the Author

Jason Schaumburg

Jason Schaumburg is a content manager for Catena Media with responsibilities for NCSharp, PlayFL and PlayTexas. He has more than 20 years of journalism experience and spent nearly four years as communications director at the Illinois Lottery.