North Carolina is two steps away from becoming the next legal sports betting and esports state. On June 1, Senators approved HB347. While that would be the finish line for most state legislatures, North Carolina’s rules ask the House to look over the Senate’s work.
Gov. Roy Cooper will receive the bill after the House concurs with Senate changes to HB347, including upping the tax on operators from 14% to 18%. He has 10 days to sign or veto it before it automatically becomes law.
However, Cooper is on the record saying he favors legalizing sports betting. So North Carolinians probably won’t have to wait those 10 days.
Then the regulator, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission (NCSLC), will ready the marketplace for launch. HB347 says esports and sports betting can begin between Jan. 8, 2024, and 12 months after Cooper signs the bill into law.
North Carolina officials may want to launch sports betting before the Super Bowl. That’s the second-most popular day for sports bets. GeoComply tells Bonus that the FIFA World Cup outranked the Super Bowl in 2022.
The Tax Rate Question
It doesn’t look like the 18% tax rate is yet written in stone.
The final step in the North Carolina General Assembly, the House reviewing the Senate changes, may involve another look at the proposed tax rate.
That’s because one of the Senate amendments to HB347 was changing the tax rate on online gambling operators from 14% to 18%. While that would add $39 million more to state collections during Fiscal Year 2027, according to a fiscal note’s estimate of $100.6 million in tax revenue during that time, there may be questions.
Brian Murphy, a WRAL sports investigative reporter, tweeted:
Amendment to the NC sports gambling bill to get rid of severability, so if the tax rate was ruled unconstitutional the remainder of the bill would be tossed.
Some concerns about 18% tax rate which is above the 7% rate threshold set by constitution.
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s three land-based casinos have been offering sports betting since 2021.