Sports-Betting Bills Signed In North Carolina, Vermont With Wagering Launching In 2024

June 15, 2023
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North Carolina and Vermont have become the latest states to legalize mobile sports betting.

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North Carolina and Vermont have become the latest states to legalize mobile sports betting.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 347 into law on Wednesday (June 14), allowing lottery regulators to move forward with crafting regulations and issuing licenses so wagering can begin as early as January.

The move by Cooper was followed later in the afternoon by Republican Governor Phil Scott signing House Bill 127, which allows sports betting to launch in Vermont by January 2024.

The new law permits the Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery (DLL) to license up to six mobile betting operators, along with providing for a sliding scale for licensing fees.

If the bidding process fails to result in at least two acceptable operators, DLL may opt to either decline to authorize any operators or to allow a single operator to open a sportsbook.

The DLL can enter a minimum three-year contract with an operator at a cost of $550,000 for a license, but an operator can agree to a five-year contract at a cost of $110,000 annually for each of the five years.

The department will also be required to set a final revenue-sharing rate, instead of imposing a tax. Lawmakers set a minimum revenue share of 20 percent, but regulators could increase that percentage.

“I first proposed Vermont legalize sports betting several years ago and I’m happy the legislature has come to an agreement, as well,” Scott said in a statement.

“We know many Vermonters already participate in the marketplace and bringing it above board provides important resources and consumer protections. Vermont now joins many other states who have made this move,” Scott said.

Vermont is the third state, joining Wyoming and Tennessee, to legalize mobile sports wagering only.

Scott’s decision to sign HB 127 means that all nine states — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont — in the New England and Northeast region have legalized sports betting.

North Carolina and Vermont join Kentucky as the three states to legalize mobile betting in 2023. Currently, there are 38 states and the District of Columbia where sports betting is live and regulated or has been legalized but regulations have not been adopted yet.

Cooper, a Democrat, signed the bill during a ceremony at the Spectrum Center, which is home to the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Charlotte Hornets.

“We now have [mobile] sports wagering,” Cooper told a supportive crowd after signing the bill.

Currently, the state only offers land-based sports wagering at three tribal casinos.

The new law calls for sports betting to be available in North Carolina between January 8 and June 14, 2024. Cooper assured the crowd that the North Carolina Lottery Commission, which will regulate sports betting, was “hard at work beginning the process of implementation of this legislation.”

“It’s a mammoth job, but they are working very hard,” the governor said.

Once wagering goes live, consumers will be able to bet on professional and college sports, including placing bets on in-state colleges. The bill also authorizes pari-mutuel wagering on horseracing.

The new law allows for up to 12 mobile operators, with each license costing $1m. Adjusted gross revenue will be taxed at 18 percent, and operators will not be allowed to deduct promotional play from their taxable revenue.

North Carolina will also join Wyoming in allowing for “digital, crypto and virtual currency” to be used to fund an account if the asset is converted to cash before a wager is placed.

Beginning next year, retail sports betting will expand beyond the state's three tribal casinos to include the Spectrum Center, PNC Arena, home to the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as several other professional stadiums and golf courses that host PGA tournaments.

“It’s exciting what has happened here in North Carolina,” Cooper said. “This legislation will help professional teams to grow even more and to thrive and [to attract] even more of them. We still got some holes we need to fill on the professional sporting arena.”

Cooper also said he believes that legalizing sports betting will attract capital to the state, help with economic growth, and benefit taxpayers by giving the state a portion of the earnings.

Under the law, the first $4m tax revenue will be distributed among the Department of Health and Human Services for problem gambling treatment and prevention, North Carolina Amateur Sports, and the North Carolina Heritage Advisory Council.

Of the remaining proceeds, 20 percent will be distributed among 13 colleges, 30 percent to the North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund, and 50 percent to the state’s General Fund.

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