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March Madness, via gambling, delivering for most UNC System schools

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(The Center Square) – Twelve-leg parlay not work on Friday? Couldn’t stay up to watch N.C. State make it six straight on Thursday?

March Madness is captivating the sports soul of America as it usually does, and Tobacco Road is no different. For the first time, North Carolinians can legally gamble on the games and help the state’s UNC System schools at the same time.

Just not the Wolfpack. Or Carolina.

They’ve each got annual athletics department budgets exceeding $100 million, and lawmakers last summer crafted the legislation to share the tax proceeds, but not with them. Carolna’s is more than $122 million, and N.C. State more than $102 million, each in the top 50 of publicly known institutions across the country.

Athletics directors Boo Corrigan at N.C. State and Bubba Cunningham at UNC Chapel Hill respectively declined comment to The Center Square for this story.

A legislative fiscal analysis estimated the state’s 18% betting tax will generate $64.4 million next fiscal year, with other estimates ranging from $47 million after three years to $126 million in year one.

Per Session Law 2023-42 for House Bill 347, there are 13 UNC System schools getting part of the government’s share of tax revenues from legal sports gambling. The language of the bill says $300,000 “to support collegiate athletic departments.” One thing it can’t be used for is name, image and likeness money to athletes.

The recipients are Appalachian State, East Carolina, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, N.C. A&T, N.C. Central, UNC Asheville, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Pembroke, UNC Wilmington, Western Carolina and Winston-Salem State. The other two institutions in the UNC System are the UNC School of the Arts, which doesn’t play intercollegiate athletics, and a high school, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

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