Time is extremely limited for mobile North Carolina sports betting legislation to pass this year.
The North Carolina General Assembly is still in session as it works on the state budget and redistricting. Those major issues have kept the session alive past its original June 30 adjournment, but are also taking much of the time.
While supporters still hope SB 688 makes it past the House this year, the NC sports betting legislation could get pushed into next year’s session.
North Carolina sports betting basics
Sen. Jim Perry and Sen. Paul Lowe introduced SB 688 in April. The extended session allowed the Senate to pass the bill in August.
The bill creates 10 to 12 mobile sports betting licenses and an 8% tax on sports betting revenue. Professional sports venues could also set up areas to bet on kiosks, including:
- Carolina Panthers
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Charlotte Hornets
Representatives from those teams lobbied legislators earlier this year in support of the bill.
Commerce committee up first
The Senate passed SB 688 in August. The bill was assigned a House committee path earlier this month.
It will start in the House Commerce Committee, where the Chair, Rep. John Sauls, told WRAL he does intend to hear the bill. Sauls, however, is out of town this week.
That means the earliest the Commerce Committee could hear the bill is Oct. 11, according to Sauls’ office. If the bill passes the Commerce Committee, it moves on to the Judiciary Committee.
Lead sports betting representative tied up
Rep. Jason Saine sponsored a sports betting bill in the House and is pegged to shepherd the Senate bill through the chamber.
Saine, however, is also one of the lead budget writers in the House as the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
Sports betting supporters hopeful
Lobbyist Ches McDowell is optimistic SB 688 has the bipartisan support needed to pass. McDowell works with the NBA, PGA Tour and MLB.
“We’re hopeful the legislation continues to advance, hopefully this year,” McDowell said. “It’s an important measure that helps curb illegal activity by legalizing and regulating an activity that is ongoing all over the state.”
Sports betting not new in North Carolina
In 2019, legislators passed a bill authorizing sports betting at two casinos owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The sportsbooks at the Harrah’s branded casinos opened earlier this year.
Previously William Hill, they were rebranded in August as Caesars Sportsbook.