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North Carolina sports betting bill heads to House after clearing Senate


A bill aiming to legalize online and retail sports betting in North Carolina will progress to the state’s House of Representatives after being voted through by the Senate.

Senate Bill 688 (SB 688), which was introduced in April this year, would allow sports betting across both online and retail, though online wagering would only be permitted at or close to sports venues in the state.

Having already cleared a second reading vote this week, the Senate yesterday (August 19) voted to approve the bill 26-19 with five absentees at a third reading, clearing the way for it to move forward to the state’s House for further discussion.

The bill passed with only minor amendments, one of which clarified rules surrounding online betting limitations.

Should SB 688 come into law, 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 amended 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 with more than 50,000 live spectators anticipated to attend, based on similar events.

The latest version of SB 688 also confirmed lawmakers’ plans for the bill to come into law from January 1, 2022.

Other sections of the bill that were unchanged after the amendments include the lottery being permitted to issue between 10 and 12 operating licenses. These would come 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 be priced at $25,000 application fee with a $10,000 renewal fee, and supplier licenses for providers of other services would cost $15,000, plus a $5,000 renewal fee.

Operators’ adjusted revenue, after accounting for bonuses worth up to 4% of gross revenue, would be taxed at 8%.

Should the bill secure approval in the House, it would progress forward to Governor Roy Cooper for signature into law.