North Carolina Online Sports Bill Advances Out of Senate Committee

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
North Carolina eventually gets Sports Betting Back on Course


  • HB 347 passes a Senate vote with a few amendments
  • North Carolina already has three retail sports betting facilities
  • The bill would allocate $2 million to fighting and treating problem gambling

A committee in the North Carolina Senate voted Wednesday to amend and advance a bill that would legalize online sports betting statewide.

The Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee delivered its verdict in favor of HB 347 roughly one month after the House of Representatives voted on the sports betting bill. The changes of note were to the tax rate and addition of pari-mutuel betting on horse racing events.

North Carolina has a limited sports betting market. As it stands, there are three retail facilities—two sponsored by Caesars and all run by the tribes.

Changes and additions

There is more momentum for online sports betting in North Carolina than ever before, including when general sports wagering was legalized in the first place. HB 347 entered the Senate committee with momentum and struck another victory by moving on to the next step.

One of the biggest additions was to allow sports betting at places of public gathering, which would most likely be a professional sports stadium. That lines up with the NFL’s decision to allow in-stadium betting at retail facilities on game day.

The proposed tax rate would see sportsbooks pay an 18% tariff on revenue instead of the previous 14%. Operators would not be allowed to subtract sports betting promotions from this total, a tactic commonly used by gambling companies throughout the country. 

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, East Carolina University, and Appalachian State University were also added to a list of college athletic departments that would receive $300,000 stipends with the money collected from sports betting.

The altered tax rate means that the bill must once again receive House approval before it can be signed into law.

“Betting on sports in our state is occurring right now. In order for us to regulate it, to tax it, and provide a public benefit with those taxes, we have to authorize it first,” Sen. Timothy D. Moffitt (R-48) said during a discussion of the bill.

The committee also added the availability of pari-mutuel betting to the bill to open the doors to live and even past horse race betting. Past horse betting is essentially watching back past broadcasts of races and placing bets on what will happen.

The next step for the bill is to receive approval from the Senate’s Finance Committee. If approved, it will make its way before the whole Senate and back to the House before Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper can sign off on it.

Push and pull

While the bill struck a victory in the Senate committee, it is not in universal good standing. Members of the state congress heard from the public, including religious leaders, before voting on the bill. Many of the sentiments expressed were in opposition to widespread legal sports betting.

“All the money in the world we might gain from this bill, even with what regulation it provides, can never replace the virtues that will be diminished because of its legalization,” said Rev. Mark Creech, Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina.

Executive Director of the Christian Action League, Mark Creech, and John Rustin, President of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, were also opposed to the idea of the expansion of sports betting. The former called it an “expression of recklessness” and the latter said it would detract from the state’s athletics history and increase problem gambling.

The counterargument is that sports wagering is already occurring at the retail locations and on an underground black market. State officials believe that regulating the market will help protect citizens more than continuing to leave it as it is.

“This is not legalizing it,” Moffitt said in the meeting on Wednesday. “This is just recognizing that this practice exists.”

The proposed bill also allocates $2 million annually to the Department of Health and Human Services to recognize and treat problem gambling. 

There is no timeline for the potential addition of online sports betting, but there will be plenty of interested suitors if the bill is signed into law. States in the past have used the start of football season in September as a target date, though New Year’s Day and March Madness are other major milestones further down the road.

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.