Called "a historic moment" for the state

North Carolina Gov. signs sports betting into law; market to launch by mid-June 2024 at the latest

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Sports betting is now legal in North Carolina after Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 347 into law on Wednesday, opening the door to regulation of the practice. Under the approved plan, which Cooper said will benefit the state’s economy “for generations,” gambling could begin as early as next January 8, and mid-June 2024 at the latest.

The Governor signed House Bill 347 at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center, home to the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, and was joined by lawmakers from both parties at the event. "This is a historic moment for the state of North Carolina," Cooper said. "This will benefit our economy for generations to come."

Bill 347 passed through both chambers of the NC General Assembly earlier this month. The law calls for the state Lottery Commission to award 12 licenses for operators to take online sports bets. Additionally, eight facilities in the state will be able to operate a sportsbook.

Those facilities allowed to conduct sports betting include Bank of America Stadium, Spectrum Center, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Quail Hollow Country Club, North Wilkesboro Speedway, PNC Arena, WakeMed Soccer Park, and Sedgefield Country Club.

"It will benefit taxpayers by giving them a portion of the earnings," Cooper said, as reported by WCNC. "Sports wagering is already happening in our state. Surrounding states here and across the country are already taking advantage. This legislation allows the state of North Carolina to regulate it and to put safeguards on it, as well as provide funding for helping people with problem gambling." 

In addition to wagering online through computers and mobile phones, North Carolina adults will be able to bet at sportsbooks offered at or near pro sports venues, race tracks and golf courses. People can bet on pro, college, electronic and amateur sports. Betting on youth sports is not allowed.

Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing will also be allowed, although through separate operators. Codified in Article 10 of HB 347, this element of North Carolina sports betting faces a longer timeline for implementation while legislators iron out key details, notes Forbes.

The legislation taxes sports betting at a rate equal to 18% of gross betting revenue minus winnings. Several public universities will receive $300,000 annually from license fees and taxes collected from the law. The bill also allocates $2 million to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, $1 million to North Carolina Amateur Sports, and $1 million to the North Carolina Heritage Advisory Council. 

North Carolina joins more than 30 states that have allowed online sports gambling in the five years since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a nationwide ban in 2018. The state could generate about $100 million from sports betting by its fifth year, according to estimates.

“Today is a very exciting day for sports fans across the state of North Carolina,” the Hornets said in a statement released shortly after the bill was signed. “We are honored that Governor Cooper chose to sign today’s historic sports wagering legislation at Spectrum Center and we thank him for his leadership regarding this issue.”

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