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How Sports Betting Became Legal in North Carolina

Sports betting is one of the newest and fastest-growing industries in the United States. While not all of the country’s territories have legalized wagering on sports yet, more and more are joining the bandwagon. With the states that have already tendered sports betting into their legal activities raking in millions and millions of dollars every year, it’s no surprise that more states are bringing in the new lucrative market within their borders as time goes on.

Early efforts to legalize sports betting in North Carolina

North Carolina began its journey to becoming a legalized sports betting state back in 2019, when SB 154 passed its way first through the state Senate, then the House, before finally landing on Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. While that was a significant step forward, it only allowed citizens to cast in-person bets at tribal casinos like Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.

In 2021, the state Senate tried to further the progress of sports betting in North Carolina by introducing another bill: SB 688. While it passed the Senate and preliminary evaluations in front of the House vote, the state’s representatives ultimately shot down the measure by a slim margin on June 22, 2022. According to Betting NC, this means that North Carolina would have to wait at least another year before their citizens would get another shot at bringing legalized sports betting to their state.

HB 347 brings legalized sports betting to North Carolina

On March 13, 2023, House Rep. Jason Saine introduced a new bill that would allow legal online sports wagers, as well as in-person bets at some of the professional sports venues in North Carolina. At the end of the month, the House voted on Saine’s proposed bill. It passed with flying colors in a 64-45 vote. After reviews from several of the state’s committees, the Senate Finance Committee finally agreed to let the bill advance to a Senate vote on May 30, 2023. It would pass in a landslide, with a 37-11 result, just two days later.

For residents of North Carolina, sports betting became a reality in their homes on June 14,
2023, when Gov. Roy Cooper put his signature on HB 347, officially legalizing the activity in
the state. This was a monumental deal to North Carolinians, as several lawmakers were invited
to the Spectrum Center—home of the Charlotte Hornets—to watch the governor put pen to
paper. While the ink is probably dry by now, citizens of North Carolina will have to wait a bit
before they’re able to cast their first bets, as the newly signed bill won’t take effect until after the
New Year on January 8, 2024.

How and when to bet on sports in North Carolina

HB 347 brings legal sports betting to North Carolina but not without its specifications. The bill allows up to 12 online betting sites and apps to operate within the jurisdiction of the state. It also frees citizens to cast wagers in person within 1.5 miles of any of the state’s eight professional sports facilities such as the Spectrum Center, Bank of America Stadium and even smaller venues such as Sedgefield Country Club.

HB 347 won’t just benefit fans of sports and gambling within North Carolina, but it should also
generate plenty of taxable revenue as a new means for the state to pull in income. The North
Carolina General Assembly estimates that the state will draw over $74 million in taxes and fees
in the 2024-2025 fiscal year—the first full fiscal calendar for legalized sports betting.

While there’s not a set date yet for when North Carolinians will be able to cast their first online
sports wager, it could be as early as January 24, 2024. With citizens having to wait since 2019
to bet online in North Carolina, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the state surpass the General
Assembly’s projections.

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