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Online sports betting legislation in North Carolina is one step closer to reality after the state’s General Assembly agreed amendments to a bill previously approved by the Senate.

In a significant legislative decision, the House voted 67-42 in favour of changes to sports betting bill HB 347 on Tuesday 6 June.

This bill had already received approval from the Senate. A third reading of the bill is scheduled for Wednesday, to be followed by another vote.

If passed, HB 347 would authorise both online and retail sports betting on various events, including professional and college sports.

The bill, which also provides for parimutuel betting on horse racing, would come into force on 8 January 2024, the same date as next year’s college football championship.

Following successful passage in the House, the bill will be presented to Gov. Roy Cooper, who is expected to sign any sports betting legislation put forward.

HB 347 would allow for up to 12 online sportsbooks in North Carolina. The tax rate would be set at 14% of sports betting revenue.

These 12 sportsbooks would be licensed by the North Carolina Education Lottery. A five-year licence would cost $1m.

Retail betting at the state’s tribal casinos is already permitted, but commercial operators would be able to partner up with professional sports teams at eight facilities if the bill is passed.

North Carolina is home to the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

Efforts last year to expand online betting were halted when the bill fell just one vote short in the House.

However, this setback resulted in renewed efforts this year to legalise online betting, with the current legislative session running until 31 August.