There were a handful of states attempting to legalize online sports betting in 2023, and nearly all of them have failed to get that done. North Carolina appears to be getting close to the finish line, but they were also starting from a point in which retail sports betting was available.
The Senate is expected to hold a vote to officially approve online sports betting at some point this week, and that is expected to pass. That would send the bill back to the House of Representatives for another vote because there have been some amendments made to the original bill.
North Carolina is not expected to become a major sports betting market, but it should be competitive with surrounding states. The hope is that online sportsbooks can launch at some point in early 2024, with January being the ultimate target.
There is still some work to be done, but things continue to trend in the right direction. Senate committees have looked over the bill, and it appears that there is enough support to get an affirmative vote.
Governor Cooper Supports the Industry
Roy Cooper is the Governor of North Carolina, and he is someone that supports legalizing online sports betting. Cooper is likely to sign any sports betting bill that lands on his desk, especially if there aren’t any major changes made.
Cooper worked with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to get a new gaming compact signed that allowed for retail sports betting in the state. The EBCI have provided some retail sports betting options in the state, but bettors continue to prefer wagering online.
The tribe would also be able to offer online sports betting if this bill passes, and that’s a big reason as to why they support this measure. Sports betting has been shut down by governors in some states, but that’s not likely to happen in North Carolina.
More Betting Options Added
While the Senate committees haven’t made huge changes to the original bill, the amendments that have been added should benefit bettors. The only real change that might impact the financial structure of the new industry is that sports betting revenue would now be taxed at 18% as opposed to 14%.
The Senate committees have also added horse tracks and parimutuel betting to the bill, and that’s something that should still work with what the House had planned. This will create additional betting options and allow for more groups to be involved with the industry.
There will still be 12 online sports betting licenses available in the state, and that’s going to create a decent-sized market. Online-only operators will be able to enter the state after applying for a license, and North Carolina should attract some of the biggest names in the industry.
More Casinos in NC?
While sports betting has received much of the attention from lawmakers in North Carolina, there have been discussions about other forms of gambling as well. North Carolina is currently a state with limited gambling options, but that could soon change in a big way.
There is also a bill on the table in the North Carolina House that would legalize video gambling machines. That bill was kept separate from sports betting to ensure that the bigger issue passes.
At some point, lawmakers are expected to bring up the possibility of legalizing commercial casinos, but that’s a bit further down the road. This could also create some issues with the Native American tribes that currently control casino gambling.