Governor Urges Action On North Carolina Sports Betting

North Carolina needs to act and act quickly to pass legislation legalizing sports betting, Gov. Roy Cooper said recently.

While acknowledging the reality of legal sports betting in and around North Carolina, Gov. Cooper in an appearance on the ACC Now podcast earlier this week, “It’s here whether we like it or not.” Then he added, “It’s time for us to step up and do it.”

A bill making sports betting legal in North Carolina passed the State Senate in August of 2021. Three months later a State House committee passed a similar bill, one which would allow 10 to 12 mobile sports betting licenses. All that needs to happen now is a full vote on the floor of the House, passage of the bill, and a signature from Cooper.

North Carolina Losing Tax Revenue To Neighboring States

The governor, a Democrat from Nashville, N.C., has long supported regulated sports betting markets. In 2019 he signed legislation that allowed sports betting on tribal lands. He frequently noted that tax revenue from sports betting by North Carolina residents is currently being lost to neighboring states Virginia and Tennessee, both of whom allow sports betting. 

In 2021, a report by Spectrum Gaming predicted that North Carolina could receive close to $350 million in tax revenue from sports betting in the first five years after implementation.   

As in other states, the legislation in North Carolina earmarks a specific amount of tax revenue for educational programs. The bill passed last year in the North Carolina State Senate called for 8% of sports betting revenue to be paid to the North Carolina Education Lottery Commission, which is mandated to oversee the gaming market. Though Cooper would prefer to see a larger cut for his state.

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

The tax range carries across the U.S., from as low as under 7 percent in Nevada, to as high as 51% of gross adjusted revenue in New York. Most states set aside a portion of the tax revenue to fund problem gambling treatment programs and education.

As of now, 20 states have legalized online sports betting and launched it since the landmark 2018 U.S. Supreme Court case that cleared away the federal ban on sports gambling. The most recent new markets, coming in 2022, were New York and Louisiana, both of which launched prior to the busy Super Bowl surge in sports wagering.

Legislation Milestone: In June 2023, Governor Roy Cooper signed HB 347, a groundbreaking online sports betting bill, into law. As the countdown begins for the launch of legal online sportsbooks, scheduled to take place from January 8 to June 14, 2024, make sure you’re in the know about the latest betting offers through our comprehensive guide to the best online sportsbook promotions in North Carolina.

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NCSharp contributors work in collaboration to produce this story.