North Carolina Online Sports Betting Bill Moved to Committees

North Carolina Online Sports Betting Bill Moved to Committees
© USA Today

Sports betting in North Carolina continues to near legalization, but more hurdles still remain before residents can expect an online sports betting market to emerge in the state.

After passing through the state Senate last month, SB 688 was sent to the House, which referred the bill to four committees on Wednesday. The committee chairs will decide the next steps with the bill.

Future Of Bill Unclear

The bill was first filed on April 7 before it was passed on first reading the next day. It eventually passed the first House reading in August after seeing no action taken on the bill for months.

It remains unclear whether the bill has a positive outlook going forward.

"I don't know if it'll pass or not, but we referred it out today, and if those committee chairs want to hear it, they can," House Rules Chairman Destin Hall told local media on Wednesday. "I expect they probably will, but, in terms of timeline, I don't know."

The bill would need to pass through a series of committees. It will start in the House of Commerce before going to House Judiciary 1. If it continues to be approved, SB 688 goes to the House of Finance and then the House Rules. It’s at the House Rules where it will be decided whether the bill goes to the House floor for a full chamber vote. It remains to be seen how quickly this process will play out.

House Commerce Chairman John Sauls said during the session he believes the committee will hear the bill but there isn’t anything scheduled yet, and the House is off until next week.

If the House doesn’t get to the bill this year, it can continue to move on it in 2022.

"It may just be that we run out of time in the long session to get it done," Hall said.

North Carolina Sports Betting Details

SB 688 would authorize between 10 and 12 operators to go live with sports betting in the state. A licensing fee of $500,000 will be required for applicants looking to enter the market. Those applying for a service provider license will have to pay a licensing fee of $25,000. All licenses will be valid for five years.

Under the bill, the North Carolina Lottery Commission would hire and regulate sports wagering companies. Residents would be able to bet online on professional, college, amateur and electronic sports. Players would have to be at least 21 years old to place bets.

A recent survey by a East Carolina University indicated that state residents overall favor sports wagering by a modest margin, and that attitudes toward sports gambling fall along generational and party lines.

According to the legislature’s fiscal analysis staff, an 8% tax on operators’ adjusted gross revenue would produce between $8 and $24 million annually.

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