North Carolina sports fans interested in adding a little juice to the on-field action and their in-arena entertainment may soon have the opportunity to do so.
A bill that would legalize sports betting in the state continues to work its way through the legislature and would allow people 21 and older to wager on professional, college, amateur (Olympics) and e-sports/competitive video gaming.
North Carolina Politicians Embracing Changing Landscape
Sen. Jim Perry (R-Lenoir County), one of the lead sponsors of the bill, believes it’s time for the state to embrace the evolving landscape. “I’ve been surprised about the ability of anyone to log on and place a bet today. I don’t think we should ignore that. It is a fact that does exist today. So I think we’re choosing to regulate it rather than just ignore it.”
The North Carolina Lottery Commission would assume the role of regulating sports betting and be responsible for issuing up to 12 licenses to companies to offer sports bets. If the bill passes this year, it could become law as soon as October 1, 2021.
Plentiful Sports Landscape
North Carolina has cultivated a rich sports culture, and serves as home to NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLS (2022) franchises along with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. Additionally, the state plays host to a number of high-profile collegiate contests across multiple sports.
Prospective sports bettors will want to pay close attention to the fine print as it pertains to gambling on college sports. Betting on college games will be allowed under the proposed bill, but certain restrictions may apply. Illinois, for example, does not allow betting on Illinois-based schools.
Should the bill pass, fans will be required to register with the sportsbook(s) they will use. At that point, they would be able to make bets online or in-person at the facility — provided the venue holds a capacity of at least 17,000. North Carolina venues meeting the capacity requirements include Spectrum Center, Bank of America Stadium, PNC Arena, and Greensboro Coliseum.
Revenues To Be Reinvested
Half of the NC sports betting revenue collected — companies making bets would be required to pay an 8% tax to the state — would go toward funding a North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund. Discussion regarding how the remaining funds would be utilized continues. The bill calls for the money to go to the general state fund.
While momentum is certainly moving toward the legalization of mobile gambling, steps remain before a fan can walk up to a window at a Charlotte Hornets or Carolina Hurricanes game to place a wager. The bill needs to pass, in succession, the Committee of Commerce and Insurance, the Senate Rules Committee, and finally, the North Carolina House. Bipartisan support boosts the odds that the bill eventually crosses the finish line, but there is still distance to cover before North Carolina becomes the latest state to lower its sports gambling restrictions.