'Other states are doing it.' Bipartisan bill would legalize sports betting in North Carolina

Joel Brown Image
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Bipartisan bill would legalize sports betting in North Carolina
Could betting on college and professional sports become legal in NC?

A bipartisan House bill was filed Monday in North Carolina to legalize sports betting in the Tar Heel state.

"Other states are doing it. So I don't see what would be the big thing," said Raleigh sports fan Terence Sapp as he enjoyed lunch at Woody's Tavern, a downtown sports bar. "As far betting being wide throughout the state, I don't see a big problem with that."

The 24-page bill lays out the law would work.

The bill states that any person or persons looking to cash in on setting up shop in the state or elsewhere will need an interactive sports wagering license and approval by a commission.

Sports Wagering House Bill 347 would allow for betting on college and professional games.

This is how that's defined in the bill: "It shall be unlawful for any person to offer or accept sports wagers in this State without a valid interactive sports wagering license. Except as provided in G.S. 18C-928, the Commission shall authorize at least 10, but not more than interactive sports wagering operators to offer and accept sports wagers to and from registered players on sporting events. These include:

  • Professional sports
  • College sports
  • Electronic sports
  • Amateur sports
  • Any other event approved by the Commission

Please check back for updates. ABC11's Joel Brown is looking into the Sports Wagering bill and will have more details and answers from lawmakers.

See full text of HB347 here

The bill also comes the day after Selection Sunday when college teams near their place on the bracket of 68 teams to play in the NCAA tournament also known as March Madness.

Ricky Gold, CEO and founder of Juice Reel, spoke to ABC 11 about the bill. Juice Reels is not a gambling company like Draft Kings or Fan Duel -- it's an app allowing users to sync up their gaming accounts to get real-time data on where people are winning and losing and how to bet smarter.

"Outside of the tier of Texas, California and Florida, North Carolina is kind of that next tier that everybody has their eye on," Gold says. "Ten plus million people in North Carolina. That's a big market."

Gold said he's a fan of a measure in the bill addressing gambling addiction: a $2 million annual payout to NC DHHS to fund education and treatment programs for gambling addiction.

"I think you can't really you overlook the importance of responsible betting," he said. "That's why I'm really proud about what we do at Juice Reel as it relates to responsible betting."

If you feel like you've heard this before, you're right. A similar bill was filed in 2021 and got the backing of a Senate panel, but never made it far enough to become law.

"I think we're gonna have success this year," said Durham County State Rep. Zack Hawkins, one of the four House members in a bipartisan group that sponsored the measure.

"This is the time (the bill will pass)," Hawkins said. "We have worked through every single member of the General Assembly on the House side. And we want to make sure that they have an approach that everybody is very familiar with the content; everyone has had a chance to have their voice; and if you see things that need to be changed, let us know," he said.

Hawkins predicts the sports betting bill could pass both chambers of the General Assembly and be ready for Governor Roy Cooper's signature in a month's time. He expects annual gaming tax revenues of up to $50 million within five years.

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