North Carolina’s push for mobile sports betting has had a whirlwind of emotions during the short session that is set to end on June 30th.
There was high optimism one week, and the following week lawmakers were incredibly pessimistic that mobile sports betting would not be possible until the following year.
There Were a Few Amendments that Were Brought to the Bill
It’s been a year since the Senate approved SB 688, and was placed in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill stayed stagnant for quite some time and finally flew through three committees in less than 24 hours.
The original sports betting bill called for a tax rate of eight percent, but some changes could bring the tax rate up, which would help the state generate more funds to go to programs like education, HBCU athletics, and youth sports.
There is more to this bill as the five-year licensing fee would also be increased from $500,000 to $1 million. The legislature is also pushing for an initiative that would raise the renewal license fee from $100,000 to $1 million.
Among the changes was the idea that the tax rate would be based on an excise tax instead of adjusted gross income, which would result in service provider fees going from $25,000 to $50,000, along with renewal fees going from $10,000 to $50,000. It doesn’t stop there, as the supplier license fees would also increase.
The supplier license fees would have gone from $15,000 to $30,000 and renewals from $5,000 to $30,000. However, SB 688 has run out of steam as representatives have moved on.
Sports Betting is Technically Still Alive for 2022 in North Carolina
According to the chamber’s speaker, the North Carolina House of Representatives won’t vote on any sports betting bills until Monday night as the deadline approaches.
There was plenty of optimism at the beginning of the week, but the optimism is slowly dying down as the votes didn’t go in favor of those supporting mobile sports betting. On Wednesday, the House voted 51-50 in favor of SB 38 on the second reading of the measure.
The third reading and final vote was originally set for Thursday. The Rules, Calendar, and Operations Committee referred the bill back to the House on Wednesday night. However, there is still a chance that the sports betting bill gets passed during the session, according to Rep. Jason Saine.
Gov. Roy Cooper has been an advocate for bringing mobile sports betting as it would create more jobs in the Tar Heel State. SB 38 would hand out 10-12 mobile licenses, but there is one major difference as the launch would begin on January 1st, 2023.
College sports betting would be prohibited under the bill as the House approved the initiative on a vote of 61-40. This would mean bettors across the state wouldn’t be able to place wagers on college sports. Not too long ago, the North Carolina Tar Heels were the runners-up to the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA Tournament.
Supporters of mobile sports betting have already cited that people across the state are placing wagers illegally through offshore sportsbooks. Those who have the opportunity to travel out of the state could go to places like Tennessee and Virginia, where mobile sports gambling is legal.
Will North Carolina Have to Wait for Next Year’s Session
Professional sports franchises like the Carolina Panthers and the Charlotte Hornets supported the mobile sports betting bill SB 688. If mobile sports betting doesn’t get legalized during this session, then it will join states like neighboring Georgia, which couldn’t get the job done during its session.
There is still no question that mobile sports betting would thrive in the Tar Heel State as it’s the ninth-most populous state in the country. Currently, retail sports betting is legal in the state since it is located in the western part of the state and is owned by tribal casinos. Both locations have a Caesars Sportsbook.