Want to put down $20 on the UNC-Duke game? The odds of doing that legally in N.C. are improving. A new bill working its way through the state legislature could legalize sports betting in North Carolina.

The bill would allow up to 12 companies to offer legal gambling on professional, amateur and college sports in North Carolina. It cleared the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee Monday with support from both parties.

In 2018, the United States Supreme Court struck down a federal law that banned betting on sports, clearing a way for states to legalize gambling on anything from NBA games to Olympic curling – even competitive video games.

A recent poll found that a majority of people in North Carolina support making sports gambling legal in the state, according to East Carolina University’s Center for Survey Research. The survey found 54% of North Carolina voters support allowing betting on sports and 46% said they disapproved, with a margin of error of 4.1%.

At least 20 other states and the District of Columbia have some sort of legalized sports gambling since the Supreme Court ruling three years ago.

The bill still has a long way to go before North Carolina could legalize gambling on sports, but so far it’s had enough support in the Republican-led legislature to move through the committee process.

It's on to the Committee of Commerce and Insurance next and, if it passes, to the Senate Rules Committee. If it passes the Senate, the North Carolina House could take it up. A companion bill in the House has not moved since it was filed in Aprl.

Senate Bill 688 - Sports Wagering will likely change as it makes it way through the Senate, but here’s what’s in the current version:

  • Betting would only be open to people 21 and older
  • People could bet on professional sports, college sports, amateur sports (like the Olympics), and electronic sports (think video game tournaments)
  • The North Carolina Lottery Commission would be in charge of regulating sports betting
  • The commission would give between 10 and 12 licenses to companies to make sports bets
  • The bill includes a $500,000 application fee for companies that want to offer sports betting
  • People could make bets online or in-person at or near a sports facility like a football stadium that seats at least 17,000. Golf courses that host an annual professional tournament also qualify as a “sports facility.”
  • Players would have to register with the bookmaker to place bets
  • Companies making the bets would have to pay 8% tax to the state
  • The bill creates a new North Carolina Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund, which would be funded with half of the tax collected on sports betting companies
  • The new fund would promote major sports, music, entertainment and political events in North Carolina
  • Local event organizing committees could apply to the fund for money to promote events
  • If the bill passes this year, it could become law as soon as Oct. 1