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North Carolina sports betting bill heading to House of Reps

North Carolina sports betting bill - Governor Roy Cooper expands gambling

It is anticipated that the measure to legalize sports betting in North Carolina, which was approved by the state Senate in August 2021, will at long last be taken up for debate in the House of Representatives of the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 688 received approval from the upper house with a vote of 26-19 last summer. A one-time initial license cost of $500,000 and an annual renewal fee of $100,000 are proposed to be required of qualifying providers if the act is passed into law.

The proposal includes a tax of 8% on the total gross revenue generated by online sports betting sites. Furthermore, the bill intends to make it possible for major sports stadiums and arenas as well as other professional sports facilities, such as PGA Tour golf courses, to provide retail sports betting services during live events.

After being approved by the House Commerce and Job Development Committee the previous year, Senate Bill 688 was unable to move further in the House. The bill is presently being considered by the House Judiciary 1 Standing Committee, and it is anticipated that panel members will eventually get around to discussing the legislation this week.

In order for the bill that would legalize sports betting in North Carolina to be put to a referendum in the full House of Representatives, it has to be approved by the House Judiciary 1 Standing Committee, and then it has to be authorized by both the Finance Committee and the Rules and Operations Committee of the chamber.

The prolonged parliamentary schedule is justified, according to state legislators, because Senate Bill 688 represents effectively the first prospective legalization of commercial gambling in North Carolina in any context other than the state’s lottery, which is managed by the state.

State Senator Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth), who is one of the measure’s key proponents, stated that North Carolina legislators understood for some time that the passage of this law would call for a methodical, staged procedure.

“We have known that this bill would require a deliberate step-by-step process,” he said.

The prospective sports betting market in North Carolina would mostly be conducted over the internet and on smartphones. There are no commercial casinos in the state. However, there are two tribal casinos located in the southwestern region of the state. These casinos are controlled by the Catawba Indian Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

In 2019, the tribes were given the ability to conduct sports betting in person. This is as a result of the state’s decision to legalize betting on college and professional sports after agreeing to revise Class III gaming compacts with various Indian tribes. However, the initial legally sanctioned wagering on sports in the state of North Carolina was not achieved until March of 2021, when the sportsbooks at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River opened for business.

The North Carolina House of Representatives will need to move quickly if the bill to legalize sports betting in the state gets to Governor Roy Cooper this year. 

Proponents of sports betting stress out that it currently occurs in the state illegally, unregulated, and without tax benefits. According to estimates provided by the Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division, the state might bring in an additional yearly tax income of up to $50 million if online sports betting were authorized.

“I’d hate to lose that revenue,” said Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln).

“But we’re not going to go too fast to where we can’t handle it.”

In addition, Lowe emphasized that the legalization of sports betting is not just in the economic interest of the state, but also in the greatest advantage of users since licensed sportsbooks would make sports betting more secure.

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