North Carolina’s sports betting bill received its second reading Tuesday in the state’s House of Representatives. It also cleared its final committee hearing during the same day. At this rate, the bill could cross over to the state Senate as soon as March 29.
North Carolina sports betting would become legal across the state if the bill succeeds. That includes online sports betting, plus betting at in-person locations.
Tuesday’s hearing in the Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House Committee was a quick one.
Sports betting bill passes through its fourth committee
This is a big week for North Carolina’s sports betting bill, and it all started with a hearing in the House Rules committee.
The bill faced little resistance during the hearing and ultimately passed through the committee with a favorable report.
The entire discussion around the bill Tuesday lasted only about two minutes. Bill sponsor Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, quickly presented an overview of the bill, and the committee quickly voted to give the proposed legislation the green light.
Saine did introduce a small change to the sports betting bill during the meeting. That change will not allow college athletes near a sports betting facility within eight hours of an event. The committee voted in favor of that change.
Bill receives second reading
House Bill 347 also received its second reading a few hours after its final committee hearing. That meeting was much more contentious than the first one of the day.
Despite that, the bill passed its second hearing with a 66-45 vote.
The bill faced some opposition during its numerous committee meetings, but those concerns were ultimately easy to dismiss.
Many of the same topics once again made an appearance during the second reading. College sports, addiction concerns and the morality of gambling were a few of the reoccurring concerns that lawmakers revived.
Lawmakers introduced eight different amendments to the bill during the hearing. None of them passed. The proposed amendments included:
- Banning betting on college sports;
- Increasing sportsbook licensing fees from $1 million to $10 million per year;
- Delaying the start of online sports betting until Jan. 8, 2026;
- Banning betting on Olympic sports;
- Raising the tax rate for sportsbook revenue from 14% to 51%;
- Banning sports betting promotions and deals;
- Banning family members of athletes from betting on their events;
- Raising sportsbook fines for violations from $10,000 to $1 million.
Two of the amendments were introduced by Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford. Harrison previously tried to alter the bill during the committee process, but those efforts also fell short.
Full House will vote on North Carolina sports betting
Tomorrow could be a make-or-break day for sports betting in North Carolina.
The bill now needs its third reading in order to move forward. The plan is for that to take place March 29. After that happens, the bill will be ready for a full House vote on the same day.
That will bring about another round of potential amendments and debates.
Opponents of the bill have been vocal during some of the bill’s earlier meetings, and many of them plan to again raise their concerns in front of the full House.
The sports betting bill has plenty of support in the House, but it’s important to remember there are no guarantees. Last year’s set of bills also had plenty of support, but they ended up falling short at the last minute once the bill was in front of the full House.
The Legislature can be unpredictable, so, hopefully, for sports fans in the state, the bill will pass the full House vote without too much trouble.