NC House Online Sports Betting Bill Mirrors Senate Version
The North Carolina House of Representatives introduced a sports wagering bill Wednesday that closely follows a similar piece of legislation introduced in the state Senate earlier this month.
Sponsored by State Rep. Jason Saine, a Republican, along with Democratic Rep. Zack Hawkins, Rep. John Hardister (R) and Rep. Bobby Hanig (R), the House version of sports wagering, like the Senate bill, is bipartisan legislation.
Hewing to Senate Bill 688, the House bill — H631 — provides for 10 to 12 online sports wagering operators that would offer bets on pro and college sports, eSports, other amateur sports (but not youth sports) as well as other competitions approved by the North Carolina State Lottery Commission, which would oversee sports betting. The bill could be enacted as soon as Oct. 1.
Details of the H631
Other key points that follow the Senate’s version are:
- A proposed 8% tax rate, which would be among the lowest in the country for sports wagering.
- An application fee of $500,000.
- A provision for what would amount to mobile betting lounges in the state’s sports facilities — presumably Bank of America Stadium (the NFL Panthers), the Spectrum Center (NBA Hornets) and PNC Arena (NHL Hurricanes).
- Tribal casinos would be eligible for online sports wagering licenses. Currently, two casinos operate in the western part of the state under the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Also, a Catawba Nation casino is planned about 35 miles from Charlotte. Online licenses for Native American casinos apparently would not count against the 10 to 12 licenses that would be otherwise available.
- A fund (the North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund) would be set up to help attract major sports events, such as golf tournaments.
Chances for Passage Appear Good
Given that the North Carolina House and Senate versions are just about identical and that both bills were bipartisan, the chances of passage by the full General Assembly would appear to be good.
The signature of Gov. Roy Cooper would also be needed but Cooper did sign off on retail sports betting at the Native American casinos where the Eastern Band of Cherokee properties are currently taking bets.
The North Carolina legislature is in session until July 30.
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