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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Signs Online Sports Betting Legislation

Online Gambling Expected To Launch In 2024


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on June 14 signed House Bill 347 into law, legalizing new forms of gambling in the state.

The bipartisan legislation will authorize and regulate online wagering on professional, college and amateur sports and horse racing in North Carolina. The state’s first online sportsbooks are expected to launch in the first half of 2024.

“This legislation will help North Carolina compete, make sure taxpayers receive a share, create many good-paying jobs and foster strong economic opportunity,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “As we move forward, we should work to ensure more of the revenue is used to invest in our public schools, teachers and students.”

Currently, North Carolina only has retail sports betting at tribal casinos. The new law makes the state the 28th in the nation with online sports betting, with eight other states only having retail betting.

The North Carolina bill comes at a time when sports betting has never been more popular in the U.S. Nationwide, Americans wagered a record $31.11 billion on sports in Q1 2023, generating an all-time high of $2.79 billion in quarterly revenue (+70.1% year-over-year), according to figures from the American Gaming Association. Compared to Q1 2022, the growth was largely driven by new market launches in Kansas, Massachusetts and Ohio. North Carolina will help continue the momentum.

According to a state analysis, North Carolina could be a relatively large market for the sports betting industry. The state analyzed information about sports betting performance in other states to estimate potential gross wagering revenue (GWR) from online betting, adjusting for differences in disposable personal income and adult population in each state.

The bill also authorizes sports facilities and certain associated and proximate properties to accept sports bets. Fiscal research used information about the estimated number of such facilities, which increased potential GWR by a small amount. States with both online and retail sports betting have seen more than 90% of the handle come via the internet.

Fiscal research assumed that total wagers from online and in-person betting would grow from approximately $3.9 billion in the first full year of operation to $6.6 billion in the third year of operation. This value was adjusted in subsequent years to account for projected income and population growth.

On average, sports betting operators are expected to pay out about 91% of the total amount received as wagers as winnings.

North Carolina will tax online sportsbooks at 18%.

Governor Cooper was joined by representatives from professional sports organizations, including the Charlotte Hornets, Carolina Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Football Club, NASCAR and the PGA Tour. Several state lawmakers who helped push the legislation also were present when Cooper signed the bill.

House Bill 347 charges the North Carolina State Lottery Commission with regulating sports wagering and will be responsible for issuing licenses and collecting any license application fees. Licenses will be valid for five years, and types of licenses include interactive sports wagering licenses, service provider licenses and sports wagering supplier licenses.

The legislation will create two ways to place a sports wager – in-person at a “place of public accommodation” or as a registered player via an interactive account.

The interactive sports wagering operator would be responsible for ensuring the identity and age of any person trying to place a wager. To place a wager, a person must be at least 21 years of age.

Up to 12 online sports betting licensees would be authorized to accept wagers on professional sports, college sports, electronic sports, amateur sports or any other event approved by the Commission.

The new law will send state tax revenue from online sports betting to the Department of Health and Human Services for gambling addiction education and treatment programs. In addition, tax revenue will go towards boosting North Carolina amateur sports, 13 public universities in the state, to “major events” fund to help bring sporting events and festivals to the state, the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council, and the state’s General Fund.