The repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection (PASPA) dating to May 2018 marked the start of sports betting expansion in the United States. That expansion has been rapid as lawmakers in different states identified the benefits legal sports wagering can bring such as tax revenue, support for local teams and reduction of illegal offering. Five years into the expansion of betting, now, more than 30 US states offer the activity, while few are in the process of legalization.
North Carolina would be one of the latecomers into the mobile sports betting vertical, although it won’t be the last state to introduce such activities. This legislative season, a proposal has been gaining traction in the Tar Heel state, planning to introduce mobile sports betting and expand retail activities at the start of the new year. Only recently, the North Carolina state Senate passed the proposal, calling for the legalization of betting on horse racing, professional, college and other sports.
Now, legalization has never been closer, given that the state’s General Assembly greenlighted the proposal Wednesday. In a 68-45 vote, the bill successfully cleared the House. This pushed the proposal further to its final destination, as it will now require the signature of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. Once Cooper signs the bill into law, North Carolina will set a date for the expansion of its sports betting market.
Mobile Betting Expected Early in 2024
The bill would significantly expand sports betting in the state, which is currently limited to only three land-based casinos run by Tribal operators. But under the bill, North Carolina would open up to mobile sports wagering and expand retail betting options.
Per the proposal, the state’s Lottery Commission would be in charge of licensing and will be able to award up to 12 mobile sports betting licenses. However, there’s a restriction implemented that requires eight of 12 licenses to be tied to retail sports wagering outlets. Still, this leaves four licenses for mobile betting operators that aren’t tied to a retail outlet.
Given the recent traction of the proposal, it is likely residents in North Carolina to have a chance to place legal mobile bets early in 2024. The bill’s effective date is January 8, 2024. Yet, under the proposal, the Lottery Commission can set a different date within 12 months of the bill becoming law. In other words, if everything goes as planned and Gov. Cooper signs the bill into law, residents in the state may be able to wager on sports legally before the next Super Bowl.
The legislation plans an 18% tax on gross gaming revenue for sports betting operators. Early estimations predict that for the first three years of the activity, some $100 million in tax revenue would be raked by bets that may exceed $6.6 billion. Similar to other states, North Carolina plans to use the tax revenue to support sports programs, fund gambling education and addiction programs, as well as other programs.