The North Carolina Senate has voted to approve a bill that proposes legalizing both retail and online sports wagering in the US state, with a final vote on the legislation due later today (19 August).
Introduced in April, Senate Bill 688 (SB 688) would allow sports betting across online and retail, though online wagering would only be permitted at or close to sporting venues in North Carolina.
Senators voted through the bill at a second reading by 26-21, with only minor amendments in relation to costs and funding for problem gambling services in the state.
A final vote will be held on the bill this afternoon and, if successful, it will progress forward to the North Carolina House of Representatives for further debate.
The bill, which was granted a second reading after a favourable report from the Senate’s Committee On Rules and Operations of the Senate, states that the North Carolina Lottery Commission would act as regulator and issue licenses to operators and suppliers in the market.
Players would be able to place bets either online or in person, but only at, or within half a mile of, sports facilities or other property owned by owners of these facilities.
The bill defines such a facility as one that “hosts professional sports and has a minimum seating capacity of 17,000 people” or a location that hosts a professional golf tournament annually.
This clause would potentially open up betting at the stadiums for NFL team the Carolina Panthers, the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, as well as six different motor racing tracks across the state.
Other sections of the bill include the lottery being permitted to issue between 10 and 12 operating licenses, with an initial fee of $500,000 plus a $100,000 renewal fee.
Service provider licenses for services such as providing a platform or odds would carry a $25,000 application fee and a $10,000 renewal fee. A supplier license for providers of other services would cost $15,000, with a $5,000 fee for renewal.
Operators’ adjusted revenue, after accounting for bonuses worth up to 4% of gross revenue, would be taxed at 8%.