Between Jan. 8 and June 2024, North Carolinians are scheduled to have a legal, live esports and sports betting marketplace. That’s because Gov. Roy Cooper signed HB347 into law on June 14.
The legislation outlines a launch date for the esports and sports betting marketplace. It says esports and sports betting can launch on Jan. 8, 2024. Or it can happen within 12 months of Cooper signing the bill into law, which he did today.
Now, the regulator – the North Carolina State Lottery Commission (NCSLC) – will get to work on setting up the marketplace.
An important step will be implementing the 18% tax rate on online gambling operators. The sites that will accept bets for video gaming tournament outcomes and sports feats are expected to generate $100.6 million in tax revenue during Fiscal Year 2027. That’s according to a fiscal note attached to HB347.
However, questions remain about the new law. Before the measure headed to Cooper, state Rep. Pricey Harrison – D-Guilford – said she thought HB347 was unconstitutional. She noted that North Carolina’s constitution specifies an income tax maximum of 7%.
Legal Esports, Sports Betting
Legal esports is included in the bill, but the bill signing highlighted HB347’s sports betting aspect.
Cooper signed the measure into law during a press conference today at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte. The Charlotte Hornets play NBA games there. Concerts also take the stage, along with an upcoming monster truck event.
Today’s press conference attendees included state Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, who introduced HB347 on March 13.
— Grant Lefelar (@GrantRLefelar) June 14, 2023
Cooper also tweeted about signing the bill.
Sports wagering will help North Carolina compete while supporting our economy and schools. Today, Gov. Cooper signed House Bill 347 into law. pic.twitter.com/O42ofyI2Ln
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) June 14, 2023
Esports Betting Is Included in the New Law
Cody Luongo, a senior manager of corporate communications with Rivalry, has been watching HB347 for the esports operator. Rivalry’s been taking legal bets on esports tournaments in Ontario.
Luongo also writes the Sharpr e-newsletter, which is about “the intersection of esports and betting.”
Luongo told Bonus on June 11:
It’s great to see more states thinking about esports betting and, as is the case with North Carolina, being incredibly thoughtful with its regulation around it.
It’s still very early stages for esports wagering in the US, but creating guidelines that are conducive to operators in particular is an important piece in growing the category, even if it’s another several years before state-licensed sportsbooks decide to include it in their offering.
About half of New Jersey sportsbooks offer esports betting, said David L. Rebuck, the director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). He said so on April 20 during a panel discussion at the East Coast Gaming Congress (ECGC) in Atlantic City.
Pennsylvania Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Philadelphia, also introduced a bill on March 28 to create a legal esports betting marketplace. However, HB733 remains in committee.