North Carolina House Passes Bill to Legalize Sports Betting

The North Carolina House of Representatives recently voted to authorize sports betting, overturning an earlier decision made by a single vote. 30 new House lawmakers in the lower bicameral chamber for the state’s 2023 legislative session were influential in the change of heart. House Bill 347, introduced by state representatives Jason Saine, Zack Hawkins, Majority Leader John Bell, and Ashton Clemmons, seeks to allow both online sportsbooks and in-person retail sportsbooks at professional sports stadiums. Revenue from the betting will be taxed at 14%, and licenses will cost $1 million every five years.

The decision to legalize sports betting follows the US Supreme Court’s ruling in May 2018 that states should be allowed to determine their own rules on gambling on professional and college sporting events. Prior to this ruling, North Carolina had firmly opposed the idea of expanding games of chance. In 2005, North Carolina became the last state on the East Coast to establish a lottery. Now, the state is home to three tribal casinos, and sports betting is allowed in-person at Harrah’s Cherokee, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River, and Catawba’s Two Kings Casino.

The bill passed the House with a 64-45 vote, with 35 Republicans and 29 Democrats voting in favor. With 18 of the 26 senators who voted in favor of the bill still in office, HB 347 needs just 8 additional votes to reach the Governor’s desk. Gov. Roy Cooper has said he would sign a sports gambling bill if it reaches his desk.