North Carolina House Advances Online Sports Betting Bill After Previous Failure

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
Mobile Betting


  • The bill would allow up to 12 online operators entry into the market
  • North Carolina has limited in-person sports betting options
  • The pro-sports betting crowd is backed by members of local professional sports teams

A bill that would legalize online sports betting in North Carolina passed a House Commerce Committee vote 17-10 Tuesday afternoon.

Per the terms of the bill, online sports wagering would become legal for pro and amateur sports, along with esports. 12 licenses would be available to online sportsbooks at $1 million a pop, and all revenues would be taxed at a rate of 14%.

Despite the majority vote in the committee, however, lawmakers in the rest of the House and Senate are not uniformly behind the bill, leaving its future in question.

Similar to a previous bill

HB347 would allocate a portion of funds to developing in-state Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), gambling addiction programs, and the development of parks and recreation.

The proposal is set to go before more members of the house Wednesday, where it will be subjected to further scrutiny. Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Greensboro) is one of the key members that will be arguing against the bill and the creation of a legal sports betting market.

“I’m still very much against this proposal,” she said Tuesday. “It’s pretty much the same bill as last year. I feel very strongly about this. … It’s bad policy to depend on pro sports gambling for revenue.”

Harrison also argued that the bill would create more problem gamblers and refuted the idea that professional sports teams such as the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets would leave their homes if sports betting was not legalized, citing California as an example of a state with prominent sports teams despite not having a sports betting market.

Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln County) countered by saying that there is “big money in sports” and that the bill laid out an agreeable path forward.

North Carolina is one of 36 states that have legalized sports betting in at least some form, although the options are restricted to a few in-person outlets. Online sports betting has been more divisive, largely due to the debate over betting on college sports.

A bill similar to the one making its rounds failed in the senate last year after receiving House approval in 2021. North Carolina is the ninth-most-populous state in America and in a region where sports betting is already taking off, so the expansion to the online market would be influential.

Contrasting viewpoints

The bill is receiving both bipartisan support and disdain, which makes its path to legalization unique. Rep. Ashton Clemmons (D-Greensboro), one of the bill’s main sponsors, also represents an area right next to Harrison, who has been outspokenly negative towards the bill. 

Last year, anti-gambling Democrats and Republicans fought against the sports betting bill for moral reasons, many of which resurfaced this week.

“Why do we want to facilitate something that we know has the capacity to destroy that many people’s families?” said Rep. Deb Butler (D-New Hanover). “We are knowingly sanctioning additional abusive behavior, obsessive behavior, uncontrollable behavior and heartbreaking behavior.”

That is not to say that there is not also profound support for the legalization of online sports betting. Namely, Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper and officials from the state’s professional sports teams believe that this is the right time to bring change to the Tar Heel State.

Many in favor of legalization believe that online sports betting is already happening throughout North Carolina, and failing to legalize it will create a larger criminal issue and also cause the state to lose out on valuable taxable income.

“We know that some believe that gambling is a vice and we shouldn’t consider legalizing it,” said Rep. Zack Hawkins (D-Durham County), one of the bill’s 50 sponsors. “But much like we allow for taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, we can use this revenue from activity that is widely happening in our state for good.”

Tuesday’s round of voting also saw amendments that would limit betting to professional sports teams and deny customers the opportunity to make deposits with credit cards fail.

Early estimates revealed that North Carolina would recoup an extra $60 million in tax money in the fiscal year 2024-25.

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.