RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – When the national football championship game kicks off in Houston on Jan. 8, residents of North Carolina may be able to lay a legal wager on, well, anything they want.

The NC House on Tuesday concurred with the Senate’s changes to House Bill 347, which legalizes basically all forms of sports gambling in the state, but there remains one more vote to be taken on Wednesday. The bill then would go to Gov. Roy Cooper, who would be expected to sign it.

Senators last week had passed the bill with bipartisan support after they amended it to raise the rate for the tax income the state will receive, to add pari-mutuel simulcast wagering and to make a few other adjustments.

Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) presents House Bill 347 for concurrence in the House. It passed, with one more reading to go.

HB 347 had passed the House on March 29, 64-45, with 11 members not participating. There were 30 Democrats who voted for the bill, and 20 Republicans voted against it. You may recall that last summer a similar bill created in the Senate failed in a very close vote in the House. Senate Bill 38, which adapted a bill already passed narrowly by the Senate (SB 688), escaped its second reading in the House, 51-50 (with 19 members not even voting).

The NC House on Tuesday had voted 67-42 to approve the bill on second reading. There were 27 Republicans and 15 Democrats who voted against the bill, including seven from the Triad: Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), Dennis Riddell (R-Snow Camp), Brian Biggs (R-Trinity), Jeff Zenger (R-Lewisville), Julia C. Howard (R-Mocksville), Neal Jackson (R-Robbins) and Jeffrey Elmore (R-North Wilkesboro). There were 11 who were absent or didn’t vote.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), recommended the adoption of the bill and called the question without allowing for debate (that motion passed 71-40).

Harrison asked following the vote if members would be allowed to debate changes the Senate had made to the bill before the third and final reading. Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) told her that would be up to Saine and that he had understood “we would have a very short debate today.”

HB 347, which would be effective on Jan. 8, charges licensing fees of $1 million for up to 12 gaming companies and allows up to eight sports-book locations to be operated. There also would be an 18% tax on earnings, which some believe could face a court challenge because it exceeds the 7% state income tax cap.

That revenue will be directed in specific amounts to 13 colleges and universities, including all the state-operated historically Black colleges and universities, a statewide youth sports organization and the NC Department of Health & Human Services to combat gambling addiction, which critics say undoubtedly will increase. Excess revenue would be shared with those colleges and universities, too. There would be grants to help with youth sports facilities and equipment and a program to lure youth sports events to the state.

The Senate’s amendments that the House had to approve added Appalachian State, East Carolina and UNC Charlotte as universities to receive cuts of the revenue and addressed the planned change of the name of the NC Outdoors Heritage Advisory Council (which another bill would change to the NC Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission).

More from FOX8

North Carolina News

See the latest North Carolina news

Saine had said the plan could earn $60 million to $80 million annually for the state under its original 14% tax rate. Cooper included revenue from sports gambling in the budget he proposed in March.

In presenting the bill to various Senate committees, Sen. Tim Moffitt (R-Henderson) last week said he is “not conflicted” by the idea any longer because “sports wagering is occurring in our state, occurring frequently, occurring every day. Best estimates are that $1.7 billion in bets were placed last year by our citizens.”

He said he didn’t want to appear “trite” and was simply being “realistic. … We can create a public benefit to manage and influence something that is occurring.”