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North Carolina House sends sports betting bill back to committee

North Carolina sports betting bill

A bill that seeks to legalize sports betting in North Carolina has finally made a step forward after stalling in the House for three weeks.

Last Wednesday, the NC House sent SB 688 to the Committee on Commerce for review, which is the first of four committees required to examine the legislation before it moves to the floor of the Lower Chamber for a full vote.

The bill, which is sponsored by Senators Paul Lowe and Jim Perry, has already cleared a major hurdle after passing the first reading in the House on August 24.

The House referred the measure to the Rules Committee after the first reading, but it was withdrawn on Wednesday and re-referred to the Committee on Commerce. If it receives a favorable vote from the committee, SB 688 will move to the Judiciary 1 Committee, Finance, and back to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations before returning to the House for a second reading.

The NC Senate passed the legislation with a vote of 26-19 on August 19, but no one can tell whether the Republican-controlled House will endorse the measure at this point.

House Rules Committee cannot guarantee passage

When asked to give his opinion on whether the proposed sports betting legislation would make it through the four committees, House Rules Committee Chairman Destin Hall said: “I don’t know if it will pass or not, but we referred it out today, and if those committee chairs want to hear it, they can. I expect they probably will, but, in terms of timeline, I don’t know.”

Rep. John Sauls, who chairs the House Committee on Commerce, has said that he expects his committee to meet and hear the bill, but he did not give a specific date or timeline for when it would happen.

The state General Assembly is working to a tight schedule, having reconvened this month to discuss critical bills that it did not manage to pass during the regular session that was set to end on July 31.

What is in the NC sports betting bill?

Senate Bill 688 aims to expand gambling in the Old North State by allowing regulated sports betting outside of tribal casinos.

The measure authorizes the North Carolina Education Lottery to approve 10 to 12 commercial operators to offer online sports betting in the state, and it also allows retail wagering at golf courses that host annual professional tournaments and major sporting venues with a capacity of 17,000 or more.

Should the bill become law, the initial license fee for operators will be $500,000, renewable after every five years for $100,000. North Carolina sports betting service providers, on the other hand, would pay $25,000 to acquire an initial permit, while suppliers would part with $15,000 to enter the state’s regulated market.

The tax rate proposed in the measure is 8% of the operators’ adjusted gross gaming receipts, which is one of the friendliest in the country.

Half of the tax revenue generated by the industry would go to the Major Events, Games, and Attractions Fund, while the remaining half would go to education.

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