UPDATE: Kentucky became the first state to legalize sports betting in 2023 after the state Senate passed legislation on the final day of the legislative session on March 30 and Gov. Andy Beshear signed the bill into law on March 31.
Sports betting has become legal in over half of the states across the US. Expansion has been rapid in recent years, but every state moves at its own speed.
At its current pace, North Carolina could be the first state to legalize sports betting in 2023. The state’s new bill is already halfway through the legislative process.
North Carolina sports betting already exists, but only at three in-person locations. This new bill would expand that by opening the floodgates for online betting.
North Carolina sports betting bill making quick progress
Momentum has snowballed for the Tar Heel State’s sports betting bill. Things moved quickly once lawmakers introduced House Bill 347.
The bill cleared four committee hearings and passed in the House in a little over a week. The House sent the bill to the Senate on Wednesday.
Sports betting hopefuls can credit the fast movement to the state’s first attempts at legalization. Since lawmakers already tried to legalize sports betting during previous years, they were able to learn from their mistakes and streamline the process in 2023.
Gov. Roy Cooper has also voiced his support for the bill.
In other words, if the bill manages to slide through the Senate as quickly as it did through the House, online sports betting could become legal in North Carolina before May.
That’s great news for bettors in the state, but sports fans in other areas might be on the outside looking in. North Carolina could be the only state to legalize sports betting this year.
Others states on the path to legal sports betting
Kentucky and Missouri are two of the states still trying to legalize sports betting in 2023.
Things are coming down to the wire in Bluegrass State, and the situation is rocky at best.
A sports betting bill managed to clear Kentucky’s House of Representatives, but it’s running out of time. Thursday is the final day of the state’s legislative session. The sports betting bill needs to clear a vote on the Senate floor, but it might not have the support it needs.
Missouri, on the other hand, is in a better situation.
The state’s House overwhelmingly voted March 22 to pass a sports betting bill. It still has some hurdles to clear in the Senate, but hope remains abundant.
Georgia was also on everyone’s sports betting bingo cards heading into 2023, but unfortunately for bettors in the state, those efforts fell short. Lawmakers introduced a handful of different sports betting bills that all failed.
Texas, Minnesota and Vermont are also in the sports betting mix this year, but no guarantees exist in any of these states.
Of course, things aren’t set in stone regarding North Carolina, either. Anything could happen now that the bill is in the Senate.
Despite that, the outlook is hopeful for the Tar Heel State. North Carolina’s bill has plenty of support, which could make it the first state to legalize sports betting in 2023.