Expansion of North Carolina Sports Betting Almost at the Finish Line

USA Legal Betting


  • North Carolina bettors can only bet in a couple of retail locations as is
  • The Senate already approved HB 347
  • If the House votes in favor of the bill, the Governor just needs to sign off on it to legalize it

Widespread sports betting in North Carolina has never been closer to the finish line than it currently is.

The North Carolina House is meeting Wednesday to discuss a plan to expand legal sports betting outside of a couple of retail establishments with the use of online and mobile sportsbooks. At the end of the discussion, a vote will determine if the plan is approved and goes to the Governor’s desk.

There was a vote without debate on Tuesday, which saw the pro-sports betting bill turn up 68-41 support.

Contrasting viewpoints

The House vote comes after the Senate amended and approved HB. Technically, sports betting is legal in North Carolina as is, but it is tightly restricted to a couple of brick-and-mortar locations on the west side of the state’s jurisdiction.

Mobile and online sports betting have resulted in the largest bettor turnout and monetary contributions nationwide. States have been able to produce monthly betting handles of over $1.5 billion at their best, and that is only likely to continue given the momentum of the industry and constant innovations.

But while there is a groundswell of support for the expansion of sports betting, not all North Carolina officials are on board.

“I just can’t support a state-sponsored activity that is statistically proven to harm my fellow North Carolinians,” Rep. Deb Butler (D-New Hanover) said in a statement. “There are those who will enjoy it and manage it well, but others who will suffer the addiction of it… The House always wins.”

There is also concern for the younger generation of sports fans that are being forced to enter the world of sports betting by television stations, broadcast networks, and social media pages that constantly push the gambling agenda.

A study found that roughly 10% of North Carolina youths are already dealing with gambling problems, and another 15-20% are at-risk of developing an issue. That comes with the NCAA revealing in a recent survey that close to 60% of college-aged students are sports bettors, and many of that group bet on sports frequently. That survey included all ages 18-22 despite the legal gambling age being 21 in most states and also includes states without legal sports betting.

Details and Infrastructure

If the bill is passed via vote and Gov. Roy Cooper signs off on it, it will set the legal gambling age at 21. Prospective bettors will have their choice of professional, amateur, and collegiate sports at retail, online, and mobile sportsbooks.

Revenue will be allocated to various local organizations, including $2 million annually to the Department of Health and Human Services for problem gambling, $1 million annually to North Carolina Amateur Sports for the development of youth sports programs and facilities, $1 million to the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council to help fund local teams and attract out-of-state competitors, and $300,000 annually to athletics departments at in-state universities.

Up to 12 licenses would be available for sports betting agencies to purchase, assuming they were approved by the local regulator. Each license would cost $1 million and would grant the recipient eligibility for five years.

North Carolina sports are on the uptick, making the potential sports betting market more lucrative. The Carolina Panthers recently had the number-one pick in the NFL draft and selected Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, who they hope will be their cornerstone piece for a decade-plus. 

The Charlotte Hornets also have the second pick in the upcoming NBA Draft and will likely pair one of Brandon Miller or Scoot Henderson with All-Star LaMelo Ball in what is a young and exciting squad.

College sports, specifically those involving the University of North Carolina and Duke University, are also tremendously popular in North Carolina.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.