North Carolina Sports Betting Suddenly Looking Promising Again

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North Carolina sports betting

North Carolina lawmakers kept mobile sports betting hopes alive by pushing two bills through the House Judiciary 1 Committee on Tuesday.

One of the NC sports betting bills that advanced, SB 688, sets the base for mobile sports betting in North Carolina. The committee also passed SB 38, inserting an amendment over a non-sports-related bill that raises SB 688’s proposed tax rate and license fee.

After passing the Senate last year, NC sports betting stayed on the sidelines since the 2022 session started May 18. Now, lawmakers have until June 30 to pass the sports betting legislation, including sending SB 38 back to the Senate for approval.

New pieces to North Carolina sports betting bill

The new SB 38 raises the sports betting revenue tax rate in SB 688 from 8% to 14%. The legislation also increases the sports betting license price from $500,000 to $1 million.

The main bill, SB 688, creates 10 to 12 mobile sports betting licenses in North Carolina. The new bill also further defines the facility capacities, as the original legislation allows professional sports venues to have on-site sports betting lounges.

Sports betting was part of a larger negotiation between North Carolina chambers, Sen. Michael Garrett told Fox 8 WGHP this week. That could bode well for proponents who are bullish on the legislation’s chances now that it is moving forward again.

Path forward in North Carolina

Lobbyist Ches McDowell told LSR that once it was scheduled in its first committee this year, the bill should keep moving along. North Carolina lawmakers, meanwhile, appear confident the bill has the votes to cross the finish line.

The bills still have to see two more House committees before the chamber floor. SB 688 only needs the final House vote, but because SB 38 is amended, it will need final Senate approval.

Industry sources are a little less confident, with one giving the legislation a “60% chance this all gets done within the next 10 days.” Another industry source told LSR this week that if the bill was heard in committee, it should go all the way.

Plenty of support for NC sports betting

Should legislators send it forward to Gov. Roy Cooper, he is expected to sign the bills. The governor expressed support for the sports betting legislation.

Professional sports teams in the state also lobbied for sports betting.

Public support for sports betting is split, according to polls from WRAL and Spectrum/IPSOS. Retail sports betting in the state is already legal at two tribal casinos in the western part of North Carolina.