Bill to legalize sports wagering headed to NC House floor for final approval on Wednesday

Legalizing sports betting bill headed to House for final vote of approval
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 11:34 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - A bill to allow sports betting in the state of North Carolina could get it’s final legislative approval on Wednesday, which would send the legislation to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper.

If the bill becomes law, North Carolina would become the 37th state to legalize wagering on sports games.

The House voted in concurrence with the Senate’s amendments to House Bill 347 on Tuesday by a 67-42 count, leading to Wednesday’s third reading. However, not everyone is in favor of HB 347.

Rep. Deb Butler (D-New Hanover) is one of two local lawmakers who voted against the bill.

“I just can’t support a state-sponsored activity that is statistically proven to harm my fellow North Carolinians,” Rep. Butler said in a statement to WECT. “There are those who will enjoy it and manage it well, but others who will suffer the addiction of it...The only folks getting rich at the expense of others is the House. The House always wins.”

House Bill 347 essentially allows sports wagering and horse racing in the state starting in January 2024. The North Carolina Lottery Commission would be the entity overseeing both operations.

The bill states those 21 and older in the state of North Carolina will be able to bet on professional, collegiate and amateur sports at in-person sportsbooks, through mobile apps and online.

Sports betting is projected to generate a large sum of money for the state, with the revenue generated from taxing sports wagering, going toward problem gambling services, youth sports programs and college athletic departments, including the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

  • $2,000,000 annually to the Department of Health and Human Services for problem gambling.
  • $1,000,000 annually to North Carolina Amateur Sports for grants to purchase youth sports equipment or provide for public facility upgrades or improvements that benefit youth sports.
  • $300,000 annually to support athletic departments in thirteen colleges, including the University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • $1,000,000 annually to the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council, to be used for grants up to $5,000 per sports team per county for travel assistance and $25,000 to attract nonprofessional sporting events.
  • Any remaining proceeds would be credited 20% annually to the collegiate institutions listed in support of athletic departments, 30% to the North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund, and 50% to the General Fund.

The state would also issue up to a dozen sports wagering licenses statewide, each costing $1 million for a five-year license.

The final vote for the sports wagering bill is on the calendar for Wednesday’s session, which is set to begin at 9:45 a.m.