WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed legislation Wednesday to allow legal online sports betting statewide.
While wagering won’t be until Jan. 8, 2024 at the earliest, state lawmakers are already excited about the amount of money the sports betting industry is bringing to the state through an 18 percent tax on operators.
“This legislation allows North Carolina to regulate [sports wagering] And provide security for it, and provide funding to help people with gambling problems,” Cooper said.
House Bill 347 Detailing where those tax revenues will go once the state issues licenses for online providers and live sports betting. Under the legislation, $2 million per year will be allocated to gambling addiction education and treatment programs. Many lawmakers who opposed the bill expressed concern that gambling leads to addiction.
“This legislation directs the department to pursue best practices in the treatment, prevention and mitigation of potential harm surrounding legal sports gambling and provides funding to expand programs and services. Now that the bill has been signed into law, the department will follow those directives,” A spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said.
The bill also includes an annual allocation of $1 million for youth sports programs across the state. It also requires at least $300,000 a year for athletic departments at 13 North Carolina universities, including UNC Wilmington.
“I want to thank our state leaders for making UNCW one of the universities eligible for the support of sports betting laws,” said UNCW athletic director Michael Oblinger. “This public funding will have a positive impact on our student-athletes, coaches, staff, facilities and the overall UNCW athletic program.”
Cooper signed the bill into law Wednesday at a ceremony at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte. Before signing the bill, he said he wanted to continue discussing where the revenue money would be distributed.
“There has been and will continue to be debate about how to invest the revenue that this legislation has generated or will generate, and there are some very good investments in this bill,” Cooper said.
Here’s where sports betting proceeds will go after the law goes into effect:
- $2,000,000 per year paid to the Department of Health and Human Services for problem gambling.
- An annual grant of $1,000,000 to the North Carolina Amateur Athletic Association to purchase youth sports equipment or provide public facility upgrades or improvements that benefit youth sports.
- $300,000 annually to support athletic departments at 13 universities, including UNC Wilmington
- Provides $1,000,000 annually to the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council for travel grants of up to $5,000 per sports team in each county and $25,000 to attract non-professional sporting events.
- Any remaining earnings will be credited annually 20% to University institutions supporting the athletic department, 30% to the North Carolina Major Events, Games and Attractions Fund, and 50% to the General Fund.
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