Sports wagering in North Carolina is currently illegal in most areas of the state, but this changed when Gov. Roy Cooper signed into action House Bill 347 earlier today at the Spectrum Center.

The Governor was joined at the signing by representatives of many different sports organizations in the state for the signing of House Bill 347, legalizing sports wagering for professional, amateur, electronic and collegiate sports. 

The bill charges the North Carolina State Lottery Commission with regulating sports wagering and being responsible for issuing interactive sports wagering and supplier licenses, as well as service provider licenses, which will be valid for five years.

While the bill could go into effect as soon as January 2024, the commission has until June 2024 to open the betting. 

Bill Squadron, Elon professor of sport management, said the new bill will decrease the amount of illegal sports wagering that is currently going on.

“I think that this is happening because people have been betting on sports for many decades, even when it was illegal,” Squadron said.

Squadron believes the push may have come from neighboring states such as Tennessee and Virginia legalizing betting.

“There’s a great deal of evidence that people from North Carolina are driving over the border to be able to bet there, and of course, all the tax revenue that comes from that is going to our neighboring states,” Squadron said.

The inclusion of collegiate sports in the bill would make betting on future games legal, such as March Madness tournaments. Jack Cohen ‘23 said legalizing betting is long overdue in North Carolina. As an avid sports fan, Cohen has been worried for a while about the risks of underage betting and gambling addictions.

“Where’s that line drawn? Because you obviously don’t want to be promoting underage gambling. Especially when you’re younger, a lot of times kids will use their parents money and things of that sort. And that’s when that can really become problematic,” Cohen said.

Elon Junior Danny Gagne said sports betting has changed how he views sports compared to when he was younger.

“I don't really watch football just to watch football if I don’t have money on it,” Gagne said. “Sports betting allows me to get that fantasy aspect.” 

Squadron said the bill will have the potential to pave the way for other sports bills on the state level. A similar bill was introduced in North Carolina last year but didn’t pass. 

“I think that this is a very great opportunity for the sports industry and for sports fans. But it does need to be pursued thoughtfully and carefully,” Squadron said.