North Carolina Could Be Next To Approve Mobile Sports Betting

North Carolina Could Be Next To Approve Mobile Sports Betting
© USA Today

The fate of a North Carolina online sports betting bill could be decided during the legislative session that begins in Raleigh on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 688, co-sponsored by Sen. Paul A. Lowe Jr., D-Winston-Salem, was passed by the Senate last August on a 26-19 vote. 

With the short spring session underway, the House of Representatives is expected to take up the sports wagering bill. The session ends June 30.

Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Gulliford, said SB688 has enough support to win approval during the short session, according to the Carolina Journal. Hardister is the House majority whip.

Any legislation, including the mobile sports betting bill, requires passage in the House and Senate before going to the governor for his consideration.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, pictured, has indicated he supports sports betting, pointing to the jobs it would create.

Mobile Legal In Bordering States

Sports betting already is allowed inside two North Carolina casinos operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Caesars Sportsbook is currently taking bets at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River.

Lawmakers who support SB688 have noted that North Carolina residents now are using illegal mobile apps to bet on sports or are crossing into neighboring Virginia and Tennessee, where mobile wagering is legal.

Recent polling indicates that 52% of North Carolina respondents support legalizing retail and online sports betting, according to WRAL-TV.

If approved, SB688 would allow up to 10 to 12 online sports betting operators in North Carolina. The bill has the backing of professional sports teams in the state. 

Sports betting lounges would be permitted at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte Motor Speedway, PNC Arena, Quail Hollow Club and the Spectrum Center. 

The bill would tax sports betting revenue at 8%. An online sports betting license would cost $500,000.

Money Slated For Addiction Programs

The North Carolina General Assembly has posted a financial impact statement, showing mobile sports betting is estimated to generate $8 million to $24 million in tax revenue for the state during a year of full operation. 

Revenue from mobile sports betting would be allocated with 50% going to a new fund intended to attract major events to the state. The fund would be administered by the Department of Commerce.

In addition, $1 million would be set aside for gambling addiction education and treatment programs, while the rest would go to the general fund for state expenses.

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