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North Carolina Receives Senate Support for Sports Betting

The future of North Carolina sports betting is one step closer to fruition following the gambling legislation receiving support in the Senate. North Carolina’s Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate slimly approved sports betting in the state this week.

This is significant for lawmakers in North Carolina because sports betting has received little traction in the state since the removal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Sports betting moves forward

The sports betting bill barely passed in the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate in North Carolina. The legislation, Senate Bill 688, received a 26-21 approval. SB 688 would legalize mobile sports betting and retail wagering throughout the state.

The bill’s language only designates retail sportsbooks at professional sports venues in North Carolina, like Bank of America Stadium, home of the Panthers. The North Carolina Lottery Commission will regulate sports betting.

Details of SB 688

Senate Bill 688 will make North Carolina a lucrative sports betting market in the state, but it will also be financially appealing for operators. The state will provide 12 licenses for online operators, excluding tribal gaming permits.

Sports betting in North Carolina is currently allowed in a retail format at tribal casinos. Tribes will gain access to online skins, and mobile operators will not have to be tethered to facilities. The tax rate under SB 688 is set at 8%, so it will be competitive to receive a license for operators.

Major companies like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars Sportsbook will all try to secure licensure with an 8% tax rate. North Carolina is not a large state, but this will be one of the lowest rates in the United States legal gambling industry.

The average tax rate for legal sports betting is approximately 15%, but New York, who recently accepted applications, will tax upwards of 50%. To make up for the low tax rates, there will be fees that correspond to licenses.

The initial fee, once approved, is $500,000. This will give the state $6 million if there are 12 sportsbooks when the industry launches. However, there are still many steps before this occurs and the history of betting legislation in North Carolina indicates there will be issues moving forward.

Bill sponsor Jim Perry confirmed that the money from the sports betting taxes would go towards the state’s general fund focusing on education. Following the bill’s approval in the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate, he discussed the difficulty of getting the bill passed in the committee stage.

He said, “Prohibition doesn’t work. We know that activity takes place today, whether we like it or not.”

Offshore sportsbooks have been prominent in the state, and they will continue to be until legal wagering is passed. Perry stressed this to his local lawmakers, but it did not give SB 688 a big win in the Senate’s Committee on Rules and Operations.

Co-sponsor Paul Lowe took a different approach. He said, “I see this as a revenue bill. Somebody said, ‘Well, it’s gambling.’ Well, we already have gambling. We’ve got the lottery. It’s here.”

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