Before the start of the legislative session in North Carolina began, morale was high amongst supporters of Senate Bill 688. To recall, Senate Bill 688 passed through its chamber by a vote of 26-19. The initiative was sent over to the House for consideration.
Sports Betting May Turn for the Worse in North Carolina
The short legislative session is set to end on June 30th, which gives the House less than 30 days to make a decision on the matter. However, the bill has yet to be brought up or even discussed as the clock keeps ticking.
Currently, sports betting in the Tar Heel State is only allowed in the two tribal casinos in the western part of the state. Many that want to place wagers on sporting events throughout the year don’t live close to these two tribal casinos.
As of now, no date has been set for the Judiciary 1 House Committee hearing on mobile sports betting. If the bill is approved, there are additional measures that need to be taken. Extra committee votes and the full House’s support would be needed. Any amendments to the bill would need the Senate’s approval to proceed.
Any changes that the House brings up could take time for the House to approve. Lawmakers may cut it close with the deadline as it needs the House’s support to make it to Gov. Ray Cooper’s desk for consideration.
He will be given days to sign the bill into law or veto it. In the past, the governor has advocated for sports betting as it would create more jobs throughout the state.
What Are the Details in the Sports Betting Bill?
Under the bill, the North Carolina Lottery Commission would regulate the market moving forward. The bill would also allow for 10-12 mobile sports betting licenses.
The tax rate based on revenue is expected to be eight percent. However, the number could increase by a House committee vote or by additional legislation.
Lawmakers that support the sports betting bill want the operation to begin in September so bettors across the state could wager by the start of the NFL season and other sporting events like the World Series. If the Tar Heel State legalizes sports gambling, the market could greatly benefit from residents crossing state lines from jurisdictions like Georgia.
Sports betting is in the southern region, especially in the SEC states are very limited as Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee are the only states that have a legal market. South Carolina is on the radar, but even if it legalizes sports wagering, it would only be the fifth out of 11 states in the SEC to do so.
The Seminole Tribe quietly launched Hard Rock Sportsbook, but it was quickly shut down as it was considered an illegal operation.
Sports Betting Industry Looking to Expand
Teams like the Charlotte Hornets and the Carolina Panthers support the sports betting bill. North Carolina is home to approximately 10.4 million people, which is the ninth most populous state in the nation.
If Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas legalize in the next few years, legal sports betting would be available to approximately 72 million people.