House Approves North Carolina Sports Betting; Bill Now Off To Senate

North Carolina’s sports betting bill is heading to the state Senate. The state’s House of Representatives voted Wednesday to give the bill its final approval.

It took four committee hearings and three readings, but sports betting in North Carolina is making serious progress. At this rate, North Carolinians might be able to bet on sports starting Jan. 8, 2024.

North Carolina sports betting receives third reading

The House voted 64-45 on Wednesday to approve the state’s sports betting bill during its third reading. It was the final checkpoint needed before crossing over to the Senate.

The bill managed to snag its second reading less than 24 hours earlier on Tuesday. That process was contentious, with opponents of the bill introducing eight amendments to try and gut the proposed legislation.

Wednesday’s third reading also had its fair share of opposition, as many of the same lawmakers from the day before made the rounds again to try and alter House Bill 347 with amendments. Those amendments included:

  1. Making it illegal to air sports betting ads on school grounds;
  2. Requiring sports betting companies to pay for the costs of regulating the industry;
  3. Conducting a study to create a North Carolina Gaming Commission to regulate sports betting;
  4. Banning credit card payments for online sportsbooks;
  5. Removing promotional tax deductions for online sportsbooks;
  6. Raising the tax rate for sportsbook revenue from 14% to 36%;
  7. Banning online sports betting, but still allowing it at in-person locations;
  8. Placing spending limits on potential sports bettors;
  9. Expanding the list of HBCUs receiving tax money from sports betting.

All of the proposed amendments during the bill’s third reading failed.

Plenty of time to pass in Senate

The bill has already cleared some major hurdles, but there’s still a long way to go before it hits Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.

Now that the bill is past the House, there will be an entirely different batch of committee meetings to get through in the Senate. The legislative session doesn’t end until Aug. 31, so the bill has plenty of runway to clear its second chamber.

Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, who is the bill’s main sponsor, rallied over 50 co-sponsors on the House side. However, now the bill is out of friendly territory.

The Senate passed a sports betting bill last year, but things have changed. New lawmakers are in the statehouse, so anything could theoretically happen.

It’s expected that the bill still will have plenty of support on the Senate side of the process, but there’s no way to know for sure until the process gets underway.

Last year’s legalization efforts were expected to succeed before last-minute changeups caused the bill to fail by a single vote. The new bill has made impressive progress in a short amount of time, but as it makes its way through the Senate, it’s important to keep in mind that there are no guarantees in the statehouse.

Update: In June 2023, Governor Roy Cooper inked the online sports betting legislation into law. The eagerly awaited legal sportsbooks are poised to make their debut in the first half of 2024, bringing with them a myriad of attractive NC online sports betting promotions and sign-up bonuses for the state’s avid bettors.

About the Author

Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.