WRAL News reported that North Carolina lawmakers have approved a bill to legalize mobile sports betting, allowing people to place bets on professional and college sports using electronic devices. A final vote is expected on march 29, and if passed, the bill will move to the Senate, which has already passed similar legislation.
Mobile Sports Betting Legalized in North Carolina to Boost Revenue and Athletic Programs
HB 347 allows licensing for 10 to 12 mobile operators to accept bets from people in North Carolina. It authorizes betting on professional, college, electronic, and Olympic-style sports and taxes the operators’ adjusted gross revenue at 14%, with the money going towards a variety of purposes, including athletic departments at public colleges and a new fund to attract major sporting events to the state.
North Carolina had already legalized sports gambling, but it was restricted to in-person betting at tribal casinos in the state. The new bill would expand the market to mobile devices, making it more accessible to people throughout the state.
More than two dozen states have legalized mobile sports betting since a 2018 US Supreme Court decision granted states the authority to legalize such gambling. Proponents, including North Carolina’s professional sports teams and some venues, have cited a loss of revenue from gamblers who use out-of-state or offshore accounts.
The latest version of the bill, modified before the House rules committee Tuesday morning, does not include parimutuel wagering on horse or dog races, moves the start date to January 8, 2024, and increases the amount of money for athletic departments at the 10 UNC System schools that do not compete at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
Lawmakers Pass Bill to Expand Gambling in North Carolina Despite Opposition
Despite the bill’s passage, some lawmakers remain opposed to it, warning of potential societal ills and a significant increase in problem gambling. Others have argued that the state should not be sanctioning more gambling and that millions in revenue are not sufficient justification for expanding gambling in a state with a $29.7-billion budget.
Critics have also raised concerns about advertising by the operators and the possibility that it will be ubiquitous, attracting the attention of children and luring problem gamblers onto apps. However, the legislation quickly cleared four House committees over the last week, and supporters defeated several proposed amendments to change or weaken parts of the bill.
If passed, the bill must still clear the Senate and be signed by Gov. Roy Cooper, who has indicated his support and included revenue from sports gambling in his latest two-year budget proposal. Overall, the passage of this bill would represent a significant change in North Carolina’s gambling landscape and could provide a significant boost to the state’s economy.