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North Carolina Senate committee passes sports venue betting bill


North Carolina’s Committee On Rules and Operations of the Senate has favorably reported a bill to allow both retail and online commercial sports betting – but with online betting only permitted at or near sports venues.

Under the bill – Senate Bill 688 – the North Carolina Lottery Commission would act as the regulator and issue licences 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 sports facilities.

A sports facility is defined as “a facility that hosts professional sports and has a minimum seating capacity of 17,000 people or a facility that hosts a professional golf tournament annually.” This would include the stadiums for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, plus six different motor racing tracks including the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The lottery may issue between 10 and 12 operating licenses, which would have an initial fee of $500,000 plus a $100,000 renewal fee.

A service provider license – 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 – costs $15,000, with a $5,000 fee for renewal.

All licenses last five years.

Operators’ adjusted revenue, after accounting for bonuses worth up to 4% of gross revenue, would be taxed at 8%. Half of this tax revenue will go to the North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund. This fund would “promote the attraction of major events to the State which stimulate economic activity and create jobs”.

 After spending whatever is necessary of the remaining funds to cover its own administrative costs, the Lottery will pass any other remaining money to the state General Fund.

The bill was introduced in April and passed its first Senate reading that month, but made little progress thereafter until this month, when it was reported favorably from the Finance and Judiciary Committees, before the same result from the Rules Committee.

Currently, sports betting is permitted at North Carolina’s tribal casinos, launching in March of this year after the passage of a tribal betting bill in 2019.