North Carolina mulls pari-mutuel horse racing wagering bill

4 March 2019

The North Carolina Senate is considering a new bill that would permit the state to legalise off-track pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing.

Sponsored by Senators Milton Fitch and Paul Lowe, Senate Bill 165 defines pari-mutuel wagering as betting on the outcome of races in which bets are purchased on a horse or horses, with all bets for the race pooled and held by the licensed organisation for distribution.

The bill calls for North Carolina to establish a Lottery Commission to oversee regulation of the market, as well as handle the accompanying licencing process.

Organisations and venues that want to offer pari-mutuel wagering would have to pay a fee of $1,000 (£756/€882) to secure a licence. Licence-holders would need to renew their licences on an annual basis.

The bill also sets out how 20% of all money wagered at each location would be remitted to the Commission by the licensed organisation. All winnings would be subject to standard state income tax rates.

Consumers over the age of 18 would be able to take part in pari-mutuel wagering under the regulations, but anyone associated with the new Commission would not be permitted to place bets.

Should the bill progress into law, it would come into effect from January 1, 2020.

Senate Bill 165 is currently with the Senate Committee on Rules and Operations for further discussion.

Last week, Senator Jim Davies also introduced a new bill that would allow tribal gambling facilities to offer sports wagering, in addition to gaming machines, live table games, raffles and video games that are currently permitted

Consumers in North Carolina would be able to place legal bets on professional and collegiate sports events. However, punters would seemingly be limited to gambling on-site at the tribal facilities, as the bill does not make reference to mobile or online wagering.