Momentum slowed recently for mobile NC sports betting, but proponents are still bullish on its chances this year.
An industry source said the pause in action is because the bill, HB 347, crossed from the House to the Senate in March before a required deadline, and lawmakers had to move other legislation.
This week, multiple sources tell LSR that the online North Carolina sports betting legislation should start moving within the next 10 days. The North Carolina legislature adjourns in late June.
Slow stream for NC sports betting
Last year, the Senate approved essentially the same bill it received this session from the House, which previously failed to pass it by one vote. This year, the House advanced it, 65-45.
The Senate’s prior approval of the proposal left many industry proponents ready for a quick path through the chamber. One source, however, is not as confident.
“We’ll see movement in the Senate in the next couple weeks, but I don’t think it will be as fast as some operators are hoping for,” the source said. “[My] best guess is it gets out of the Senate in late June, but will likely have to go back to the House for concurrence because there will be amendments.”
Changing mobile bill in NC
While the bill awaiting action in the Senate is essentially the same proposal the chamber voted in favor of last year, there are several minor changes to be made, according to Ches McDowell, a lobbyist for the professional sports teams in North Carolina.
McDowell said the changes did not make it in time before the House crossover deadline. He does not expect the amendments to be a hurdle to final passage.
McDowell also said legislative proponents are also not too concerned about talk of casino expansion in North Carolina, calling them “just rumors right now.” One industry source said local media is more pessimistic about the bill’s chances than the general industry.
NC sports betting basics
There already are in-person sportsbooks at three tribal casinos in the state. The legislative proposal would legalize online sports betting in North Carolina.
The legislation would allow 10-12 online sportsbooks to launch for NC sports betting. It would tax sports betting revenue at 14%.
Professional sports teams including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers support the sports betting legislation.