State legislation that would allow for online North Carolina sports betting has seen positive momentum. The measure, HB 347, managed to pass out of two House committees this week. There are still more committees that will review the measure before it reaches the House floor.
North Carolina Sports Betting Bill Details
This measure would open up the doors for mobile betting apps to go live in the Tar Heel State. HB 347 passed with a 17-10 vote on Tuesday before advancing out of the Judiciary 1 Committee on Wednesday. This shows there is strong support for the measure in the House. N.C. regulations allow for retail sports betting at tribal casinos. This measure hopes to expand the current market.
The measure would see a maximum of 12 mobile betting operator licenses in North Carolina. Operators would need to pay $1 million every five years for their licenses. Sportsbooks would be taxed at a 14% rate. The market would be regulated by the North Carolina State Lottery Commission.
HB 347 also allows local tribes to offer mobile betting without contributing to the 12 operator limit. This would see even more potential sportsbooks available should the bill pass. The measure will now head to the House of Finance Committee to be reviewed. A passing vote in all committees is required before the measure can reach the House floor.
Opposition To The Bill
There are those who oppose the measure, despite it passing in committee. During Tuesday’s hearing, some lawmakers were vocally opposed to the expansion of sports gambling in N.C. House Rep. Deb Butler vocalized her opposition, citing the potential increase in problem gambling as her main concern.
“We are knowingly sanctioning additional abusive behavior, excessive behavior, uncontrollable behavior, and heartbreaking behavior,” said Butler.
While the bill managed to pass regardless of those opposed, it is still to be noted that the measure has legislators rooting against it. N.C. saw similar measures in 2022 that failed to advance on the House floor. Both measures lost by a 51-50 vote, ending sports betting hopes for 2022.
The fact that lawmakers are that split on sports betting means that any form of detractors can come back to haunt this legislation. We will have to wait and see if this time around the votes are there.