North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper made sports fans across the state happier when he signed HB 347 on June 14, 2023. Even though sports betting was already legal in the state, albeit in-person at tribal casinos only, the state’s HB 347 also expanded this by allowing online sports betting.
To truly understand how momentous this occasion is for North Carolina residents who enjoy gambling, let’s look at how the state plans to handle its online sports betting market.
What will North Carolina’s online sports betting market look like?
North Carolina’s government recognizes how much its residents love sports, so the state allows up to 12 operators to enter their market. And even though the annual license fee is $1 million, North Carolina only imposes an 18 percent tax rate. Compare that to New York’s 51 percent tax rate, and you can quickly see how NC’s rate will prove attractive to operators.
Even though the law takes effect on the 8th of January 2024, this doesn’t mean that operators will be live then. Online sportsbooks in North Carolina won’t be cleared for operation until after that date, which could mean a staggered release as each operator gets the green light. The North Carolina Education Lottery, the assigned regulator for expanded sports betting, has 12 months to perform its checks on operators before letting them do their business.
The state’s HB 347 also expands the number of locations people can visit for in-person betting. Previously, residents had to go to one of three tribal casinos in-state to place a sports bet:
- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, NC
- Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel in Murphy, NC
- Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain, NC
Driving to one of these sites may not have been feasible for those who live far from the casinos. But thanks to the bill, North Carolina residents now have more in-person betting options. The bill allows retail sportsbooks to set up shop within 1.5 miles of one of the following professional sports stadiums:
- Bank of America Stadium
- Spectrum Center
- Charlotte Motor Speedway
- Quail Hollow
- PNC Arena
- WakeMed Soccer Park
- North Wilkesboro Speedway
- Sedgefield Country Club
Those who can’t make it to any of those locations will have to place their bets online or through the mobile apps of licensed operators. But those who love watching games in person will soon have the opportunity to place a bet before enjoying the game.
Who can North Carolina bettors support when the expanded market goes live?
North Carolina legislators understand how deeply its residents love sports, and they considered this when drafting the bill. Sports lovers will be happy to know that there will be no betting restrictions on professional and collegiate sports, including in-state college/university teams. They can even place bets on eSports matches and Olympic games.
But despite the vast array of betting options available, bettors must still be 21 or over to participate. This applies to in-person (casino or otherwise) and online wagering, even for fantasy sports.