Sports betting set to become legal in North Carolina

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Jun. 14—CHARLOTTE — Sports gambling is set to become legal in the state of North Carolina.

On Wednesday morning, Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill allowing individuals age 21 or older to place sports bets as early as Jan. 8, 2024. Cooper traveled to Charlotte to sign House Bill 347, doing so at Spectrum Center, the home of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets.

"Legislation will help professional sports teams to grow even more and to thrive and to attract even more of them," said Governor Roy Cooper in his press conference following the ceremony.

Cooper also addressed the current state of sports betting in North Carolina and how the legalization will allow more than just betting.

"Let's face it, sports wagering is already happening in our state," Cooper told the Charlotte Observer. "The legislation will allow for regulations and safeguards on betting. It will also open channels for more funding to help people with gambling problems."

While in-person betting is legal at specific Native American casinos across the state, individuals can now bet on professional, college, and amateur sports through mobile apps and online through participating sportsbooks such as FanDuel, BetMGM, and DraftKings.

The "Sports Wagering Bill" was passed by the Senate on June 1 by a vote of 37-11 before the state House approved the policy 69-44 just last week.

The Governor's office spoke with Legal Sports Report, a premiere source for legal online sports wagering, about the decision and what the future of sports betting will look like in the state.

"The governor believes that North Carolina taxpayers should benefit from sports wagering, which is already occurring, and this legislation provides a way for that to happen within the bounds of the law," said Cooper's office. "Additional work needs to be done to make sure the NC Lottery Commission has what it needs to set up and regulate this industry."

According to Julia Coin of the Charlotte Observer, eight sportsbooks will be permitted across the state, a majority of them on-site at professional sports venues. For citizens near the Triangle, Raleigh's PNC Arena, Cary's WakeMed Soccer Park, and Greensboro's Sedgefield Country Club will house sportsbooks, allowing individuals to place in-person bets.

Spectrum Center, Bank of America Stadium, and North Wilkesboro Speedway will also be the site of in-house sportsbooks in the future.

Although the bill passed through the State Congress and received support, various legislators have voiced their concern over its ramifications.

Guilford County Democrat Pricey Harrison is an opponent of the bill and questions its purpose.

"It's going to hurt North Carolina, and it doesn't look like we're going to achieve very much in exchange," said Harrison.

With Wednesday's news, North Carolina becomes the 33rd state to legalize sports betting, joining Kentucky and Maine as states to enable it in recent months.

The NC Lottery Commission will be in charge of putting together the infrastructure and protocols for sports betting in the state. They have up to a year to do so, meaning that while it may be possible as early as Jan. 8, 2024, it could take as long as June 14, 2024 for sports betting to become active in the Tar Heel State.