The state Senate made significant amendments to North Carolina’s online sports betting bill, House Bill 347, altering the rules around sports betting lounges to facilitate cash bets during live games.
A Senate amendment to the bill authorizes in-person wagering at public venues associated with professional sports teams and organizations.
HB 347, which received resounding approval on the Senate floor, now returns to the House for concurrence on in-person wagering locations and other Senate changes.
Senate expands in-person betting venues
Some retail sports betting would be permitted at places of public accommodation, including at locations on stadium and arena grounds or within a 1.5-mile radius around the facility. These retail sportsbooks would be limited to accepting cash bets.
That’s a significant difference from the House-approved version, which allowed betting through mobile devices at those same sports lounges. Under the Senate amendment, sports betting lounges would take on more of a destination status, offering fans at the games a unique opportunity to place cash bets with a live betting agent. While not for everybody, placing an in-person bet could attract a specific customer more comfortable placing a cash bet with an actual human being than a credit card bet through an app.
However, despite the changes to the bill, by and large, the gist remains the same. Should HB 347 become law, sports betting in North Carolina will be legal for professional, college and other sports online as early as Jan. 8. Meanwhile, explore the types of North Carolina sports betting bonuses expected in state by visiting our dedicated promotions page.
Who the retail sports betting lounges target
It appears that the modifications would entice more bets from casual players who aren’t looking to download an app on their phone but wouldn’t mind placing a wager on the game they’re attending. Again, this could be due to a desire to bet within one’s means; a nostalgic interest in stepping up to a window, looking at a menu of options, placing a bet and receiving a ticket; or enjoying the human side of sports betting.
According to the amended legislation, venues that could allow in-person sports wagering lounges must host a NASCAR national race or professional golf tournament where “more than 50,000 live spectators are anticipated to attend.” The retail lounges also can be located at a venue for a pro sports team in the MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL or NWSL.
The specific stadiums that currently qualify for a retail betting facility are:
- 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
- WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary
A look under the hood at Senate changes to retail betting in HB 347
Under Section 18C-926, titled Places of public accommodation, the Senate revised some wording.
The original House bill read that “permanent places of public accommodation for the purpose of accessing the registered player’s interactive account, either directly or with assistance from a person, may be associated with each sports facility.”
The amended Senate version of HB 347 replaces the words “of accessing the registered player’s interactive account, either directly or with assistance from a person” with a more succinct phrase: “of placing sports wagers.”
In subsection (d), more alterations can be found. The March version of HB 347 contained the following sentence: “All sports wagers made at a place of public accommodation shall be placed via an interactive account as described in G.S. 18C-912.”
This segment has been omitted in the amended Senate version so that visitors who don’t have interactive accounts can also place bets during an event they are attending.
Subsection (f) has also changed. The Senate added the following portion, “if a permanent place of public accommodation is not located at the sports facility as defined in G.S. 18C-901 (17)b. that hosts the professional golf tournament, no more than one temporary place of public accommodation may be established at the sports facility as defined in G.S 18C-901 (17)b.
Two more subsections were added to the original bill: g and h.
Subsection (g) reads, “Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, no sports facility shall be open for placing sports wagers during the eight hours before or during any college sports events at the sports facility or adjacent to the sports facility.”
“The Commission may adopt rules as necessary governing the placement of any place of public accommodation on the property of a sports facility.”