Vermont, North Carolina Sports Betting Bills Signed into Law

After months of negotiations, Vermont and North Carolina have officially become the latest U.S. state to legalize sports betting—the governors for both states, Phil Scott and Roy Cooper, respectively, both put pen to paper June 14.

Vermont, North Carolina Sports Betting Bills Signed into Law

June has something to tout besides weddings and the arrival of summer. Vermont and North Carolina finally approved sports betting.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed the bill June 14.

The details:

  • The Department of Liquor and Lottery will regulate the system;
  • The state only offers mobile betting, like Tennessee;.
  • The tax would be employed to at least 20 percent of the revenue that’s left after paying winning bettors and the federal handle tax;
  • The state will license between two and six operators;
  • Each pays $500,000 which covers at least three years;
  • Bets will be ready to launch by January 2024;
  • Projected tax revenue $2 million in 2024; $10 million 2026; and
  • Bettors must be 21 and may not fund accounts with credit cards.

Bids for operators will be accepted in August and selected in September. Between then and December, contracts are executed, according to Legal Sports Report.

Vermont, the second-smallest U.S. state by population, will allow two to six online sportsbooks, though lawmakers say they would be lucky to get three. Without any major professional sports teams or casinos, in-person betting will not be a part of Vermont’s market, much like it is not a part of Tennessee.

If the process fails to turn up enough qualified candidates, the department could authorize a single operator…or potentially none at all.

The conservative goal is to accept the first wagers in January but could be earlier if regulators move with deliberate speed, according to Covers.

A recent note from the Vermont Legislative Joint Fiscal Office forecasts that legal sports betting will generate around $2 million in revenue for the state in its 2024 fiscal year, and between $4.6 million and $10.6 million the year after.

The law sends $250,000 in tax revenue to the first year to establish a problem-gambling program and $100,000 for a self-exclusion system. The other funds would flow to the state government.

“The bill establishes the Sports Wagering Enterprise Fund and the revenue generated will be collected by [the department] and deposited in the fund,” the fiscal note said. “Funds in the account will be transferred to the General Fund annual via a direct application annually, similar to the process followed for proceeds from liquor sales carried out by DLL.”

Further south in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper signed his state’s law on June 14 as well.

As they say, the devil is in the details. So here are their details:

  • The North Carolina Education Lottery Commission (NCELC) regulates the system, approves events to be bet on, issues penalties for non-compliance, and creates a voluntary exclusion list;
  • The state offers mobile betting, and in-person at eight sports venues;
  • The state will license 12 mobile operators;
  • The tax rate is 18 percent of gross gaming revenue;
  • Each licensee pays $1 million which covers five years;
  • Bets will be ready by January 2024 but can take up to six months after that; and
  • Projected tax revenue is $100 million in year five.

The House gave its second concurrence to changes made by the Senate to House Bill 347, which allows betting from mobile devices on professional, college, electronic and Olympic sports as well as pari-mutuel horse racing, which seems to be an odd addition.

“We’re going to work as fast as we can to get it up and running,” Van Denton, communications director for the NCELC, told WRAL News.

“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,” Jordan Monaghan, a Cooper spokesperson, said in a statement.

The legislation had its critics who decried the law and its purported impact on society, on addiction and on the downtrodden.

“The marginal increase in revenue the state would see from sports betting is nowhere equal to the harm online gambling will bring to low-wealth, marginalized communities,” the N.C. Justice Center said in a statement.

Supporters say defeating the bill would not stop sports betting. It would send it to other states.

GeoComply, which performs geotracking checks for mobile sports operators to make sure users are located in a legal betting state, said it tracked more than 1.5 million geolocation checks from North Carolina to mobile sports operators in the first six months of 2023. Those checks came from more than 155,000 sports wagering accounts.

“The interest is undeniable,” said John Pappas, GeoComply’s senior vice president for government and public affairs, according to Covers. “It is also undisputed that regulation will give adult bettors in North Carolina safe and accountable options.”

The designated locations that can apply for both retail sportsbooks and digital platforms:

  • Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte)
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • North Wilkesboro Speedway
  • PNC Arena in Raleigh
  • Quail Hollow Country Club
  • Sedgefield Country Club
  • Spectrum Center (Charlotte)
  • WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary)

“Let’s face it, sports wagering is already happening in our state … this legislation allows the state of North Carolina to regulate it and to put safeguards on it as well as providing funding for helping people with problem gambling,” Cooper told Sports Handle.

Once live, customers will be able to wager on professional and collegiate sports with no restrictions for in-state colleges. Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing is also allowed, and the law also authorizes the commission to set rules for live horse racing.

Supporters say the bill will not just bring in more revenue, and provide funds for a host of uses, but new jobs and stronger sport franchises.

“This is an historic moment for the state of North Carolina, and this will benefit our economy for generations to come,” Cooper said at the Spectrum Center, home to the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.

The only other legal gambling in the state is a lottery that began in 2006.

North Carolina and Vermont join Kentucky as the three states to legalize mobile sports wagering in 2023.