North Carolina could have legal online sports betting during football season if SB688 gets approval. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Legal sports betting could be operational in North Carolina in the near future. Lawmakers will need to approve a sports betting legalization bill in the new legislative session if sports betting is to be allowed to go online during the football season. The state’s short legislative session began on Wednesday, and some lawmakers are confident they will get through it.
Last year, Senate Bill 688 (SB688) passed the Senate; those who support the bill believe it can garner enough support to gain House approval. Speaking about the prospects for legalization in the new session, Senator Paul Lowe, who sponsors SB88, said, “We just want to make sure we’ve boosted the votes, and I think we have. I feel confident about this.
if not at the start of the football season, certainly in the middle of the season”
Rep. Jason Saine is a proponent of SB688 and believes it will pass quickly. If so, Saine thinks people might be able to place legal sports bets “if not by the start of the football season, certainly by mid-season.”
Apparently sufficient support
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has said in the past that he would support legalizing online sports betting. A limited form of sports betting is already legal in the state; only a few Cherokee casinos in far western North Carolina are able to accept in-person sports betting.
To date, more than half of all US states have implemented some form of legal sports betting.
SB688 calls for up to a dozen online sports betting operators to receive licenses to accept bets; each license would be valid for five years and cost $500,000. While betting on college sports would be allowed, there would be no betting on horse racing. The Lottery Commission would be responsible for regulating the sector, while the proposed tax rate on gross earnings is currently 8%.
Local residents appear to support legalization. A recent WRAL News polling showed that 52% of respondents think online gambling should become legal in the state, with 19% unsure. While it looks like the idea of legal sports betting will receive enough support in the House, there could be increases in both licensing fees and the tax rate.
All three major professional sports teams in North Carolina support the bill. Under the current proposal, any professional sports venue that can accommodate at least 17,000 people could open a sports betting parlor near the venue.
The Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Hornets, and Carolina Panthers are the three major professional sports teams in the state. Charlotte Motor Speedway is also likely to be eligible for a sportsbook.
If North Carolina ends up legalizing sports betting, it would bring tax revenue to the state and also reduce the number of people engaging in black market gambling. Those who oppose the measure believe there will be an increase in gambling addiction and worry about the impact on college athletics and low-income households.