That collective applause you heard today on the East Coast might have been from tons of sports fans in North Carolina. Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 347 into law on June 14, 2023, which means that North Carolina can officially go live with legal online sports betting in 2024.
This is outstanding news for sports bettors and avid fans of North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, NC State, and other high-powered collegiate programs within the state.
Folks who support the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, and Carolina Hurricanes are also probably jumping for joy at the thought of getting to put a few bucks down on their favorite teams.
As you might expect, it'll take a few months for North Carolina to hammer out the details of their official launch date for online sports betting and horse racing. Neighboring states like Tennessee and Virginia took around six months to go from signing online sports betting into law to an actual launch. The bill states that North Carolina could have online sports betting as soon as January 8, 2024, or as late as the middle of June 2024.
The North Carolina Education Lottery Commission will now hustle to come up with an application process for potential online sportsbook operators. If operators want to offer online horse racing, that will require an additional license from the Commission.
It was a long and winding road for North Carolina to get to this historic day. Online sports betting was put on hold in the state in 2022 after a similar bill failed to pass the House by one vote. Those in the know say that concerns over gambling addiction was the driving force behind that.
North Carolina is home to some of the most passionate sports fans in the world. The state is home to two of the most iconic college basketball programs in North Carolina and Duke. Fans and alumni from both of these schools will always find a way to have some action when their teams are playing.
Now, thanks to House Bill 347 being signed, these folks will no longer have to travel outside of state lines to wager on their hometown teams. This will keep millions of tax dollars in the Tar Heel State instead of it being sent to other legal states near North Carolina.
Speaking of taxes, online sportsbooks will have to pay 18% of their gross profits to the state. Savvy economists estimate that North Carolina could clear over $100 million in taxes per year from legalizing online sports betting. A lot of that tax money would go toward public education and programs to help problem gamblers.
While we can't predict exactly which online operators will be in North Carolina, we do know that the law will allow for a maximum of 12 sportsbooks. You can bet (pun intended) that the big boys like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars will throw their hats into the ring.
The law will also allow for eight of North Carolina's pro sports facilities to team up with operators for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. It's a great day to be a sports fan from North Carolina!