Gambling on horses and sports will now be legal in North Carolina.
Governor Roy Cooper today signed House Bill 347, Sports Wagering/Horse Racing Wagering, into law. The bipartisan legislation will authorize and regulate wagering on professional, college and amateur sports and on horse racing in North Carolina. Betting will become legal next year.
Cooper was joined by representatives from professional sports organizations including the Charlotte Hornets, Carolina Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Football Club, NASCAR and the PGA Tour. The Governor was also joined by Rep. Zack Hawkins, Rep. Jason Saine and Sen. Paul Lowe for the bill signing.
House Bill 347 charges the North Carolina State Lottery Commission with oversight of sports betting in the state, according to the governor’s office. Wagers would be authorized on professional sports, college sports, electronic sports, amateur sports or any other event approved by the Commission.
The commission will be responsible for regulating sports wagering, issuing licenses and collecting any license application fees. Licenses will be valid for five years and types of licenses include interactive sports wagering license, service provider license and sports wagering supplier license.
Some types of licenses will cost up to $1 million, payable to the state, according to the legislation.
The legislation creates two ways to place a sports wagers: in-person at a booking location or as a registered player via an interactive account. The interactive sports wagering operator would be responsible for ensuring the identity and age of any person trying to place a wager. To place a wager, a person must be at least 21 years of age.
This bill invests the proceeds collected in the Department of Health and Human Services for gambling addiction education and treatment programs; N.C. Amateur Sports; 13 public universities; major events fund to help bring sporting events and festivals to the state; the N. C. Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council and the state’s General Fund, among other purposes.
The bill does not specify where gambling establishments can be opened.
Shortly after the signature, the Lottery Commission issued a statement saying that regulations for sports betting will have to be built from the ground up in North Carolina.
“The new law will give the N.C. State Lottery Commission and its staff the job of licensing and regulating sports betting on professional and college sports as well as horse racing,” Spokesman Van Denton said in a press release. “Sports betting and horse racing are new to North Carolina and it will be a new responsibility for the commission.
“The law gives the commission up to a year to get the rules and regulations in place so 12 sports wagering operators as well as all their providers and suppliers can get licensed. Once the legislation becomes law, the commission will start work to meet those responsibilities so that sports betting can begin and so that it will be conducted as responsibly as possible.”
Within minutes of the bill’s signing, the N.C. Coalition to Stop Reckless Gambling sent out a mass email and text alert asking for signatures on petitions to strictly limit sports betting in the state.
The group said the bill will “
create several casinos plus tens of thousands of video lottery terminals in gas stations, convenience stores, bars and taverns across the state.
“These Las Vega style slot machines will be owned by predatory out of state operators and expose out children and families to gambling in pour neighborhoods.”