Lawmaker Expects North Carolina Sports Betting By Super Bowl

Written By Matthew Kredell on March 2, 2023 - Last Updated on March 13, 2023
online north carolina sports betting apps

Rep. Jason Saine believes his North Carolina sports betting bill will pass this session.

Although he changed little from the bill that shockingly failed by one vote last year, Saine told PlayUSA that education and some new faces in each chamber will make a difference.

“Taking legislators at their word, our vote count is in a good place and won’t be nearly as close as the vote count we had last year. Some new members who have come in also are encouraging. I don’t think it will be nearly as contentious.”

The North Carolina sports betting bill finally was filed March 13 as HB 347. It has 11 total sponsors.

The bill would expand sports betting in North Carolina beyond the state’s three tribal casinos. North Carolinians would be able to wager online on sports betting apps and at sports betting lounges located at professional sports facilities.

Details of North Carolina sports betting bill

The biggest change from last year is that all the North Carolina sports betting details are in a single bill. Otherwise, the licensing, fees and tax rates are the same.

Saine is changing where some of the tax revenue goes, adding funding for local athletics.

“There’s no big changes because we left with a good agreement,” Saine said. “It just, unfortunately, got slow-played by some of the opponents in getting it through the House. And we had one co-sponsor who wasn’t there because his son died and another who was on a trip. When you lose by one vote, you realize how things can go wrong.”

Here are the key details:

  • Appoints the North Carolina State Lottery Commission to oversee sports betting.
  • Allows between 10 and 12 interactive sports betting licenses.
  • Guarantees interactive sports betting licenses to federally recognized North Carolina Indian tribes. These licenses don’t count toward the up-to-12 awarded by the Commission.
  • Prohibits operators from taking online sports wagers originating from tribal lands.
  • Charges $1 million every five years for an interactive sports wagering license.
  • Service providers pay $50,000 for a five-year license and suppliers pay $30,000.
  • Sets the tax rate at 14%.
  • Establishes sports betting lounges, or “permanent places of public accommodation,” at sports facilities. Sports betting lounges may be within one-half mile of a sports facility.
  • Allows wagering on college sports.
  • Mandates operators use official league data for in-play wagers.
  • Authorizes parimutuel wagering as a form of sports wagering.

The following sports facilities may partner with an interactive sports wagering operator for one sports betting lounge:

  • North Carolina home facilities for a team from Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, National Women’s Soccer League.
  • NASCAR motor sports facility with a seating capacity of at least 17,000.
  • PGA golf tournament with 50,000 live spectators expected to attend.

A vote short in 2022

North Carolina sports betting nearly reached the finish line in 2022. But the effort always seemed a bit off.

The Senate passed sports betting legislation from Sen. Jim Perry in an unorthodox way. Usually, bills only get called for a floor vote if they have support from the majority caucus. But only 10 of 28 Republicans voted for the bill while 16 voted against it.

But Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger supported passage and called the bill for a vote. Sixteen Democrats voted yes to carry it across the finish line 26-19.

The House wanted to amend the bill. However, House and Senate leadership decided it best not to send S688 back to the Senate for another vote.

Instead, the House filled an unneeded bill, S38, with its amendments.

The House called the two sports betting bills to the floor for a vote. Very rarely does a bill fail on a floor vote. Leadership and bill authors only call bills knowing they have the votes to pass.

Saine had the votes to pass North Carolina sports betting. But he knew it was close.

First up to vote was S38. Things started going off the rails when an amendment passed to remove college sports betting. The bill passed by one vote.

But House members opposed to gambling expansion capitalized on the turmoil and companion bill S688 failed by a single vote.

North Carolina sports betting bill primed to move

Ches McDowell, a lobbyist for the Charlotte Hornets, NBA, PGA Tour, Major League Baseball and Churchill Downs, told PlayUSA that he thinks the vote count for sports betting is better in both chambers.

Not only are some new members in support but, as a result of further education, he expects a couple of people who voted no last time to vote yes.

Perry told PlayUSA that he will not introduce a bill this year. The North Carolina Senate will wait for Saine’s bill to come over. Then, as Senate majority whip, Perry will drum up support for passage.

Saine expects North Carolina sports betting legislation to pass the Senate and get the governor’s signature.

Gov. Roy Cooper is a longtime supporter of North Carolina sports betting legalization. Cooper recently told local reporters that he expects legislation to pass.

“With the addition of people and some retirements, there’s less concern in Senate this year,” Saine said. “We’re in a better place. Also, the governor has been helpful and I think more out front on this issue.”

North Carolina legislation must cross over from one chamber to the other by May 4. Saine said he hopes to get the bill through the House in the next three-to-four weeks and expects the Senate to act quickly. The legislative session adjourns Aug. 31.

“I think the Senate will take it up fairly promptly because they understand we need to get it done,” Saine said. “If we’re going to do this, hopefully we’ll get the implementation done by the next Super Bowl if not sooner.”

Photo by PlayUSA
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Matthew Kredell

Matthew's reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. After graduating from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Matt started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News. He has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and

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