North Carolina sports wagering bill wins crucial House vote after revisions

March 29, 2023
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The House recently voted for legislation to permit, regulate and tax wagering activities, less than a year after similar legislation was proposed.

A vote to permit, regulate and tax wagering activities, potentially including sports betting, has passed 66-45 in the North Carolina House of Representatives. One more House vote is needed before legislation can move to the Senate, which voted in favor of sports betting in 2021.

In June 2022, an earlier version of a wagering proposal was amended by a different House committee and narrowly defeated a Senate bill. The opposition to passing such legislation came from Christian conservatives and liberal democrats who cited that people must be protected from compulsive gambling.

However, Democratic Governor, Roy Cooper, supports sports wagering legislation, as does Republican Senate Leader, Phil Berger. Some previous opponents to gambling are no longer part of the legislature, while sports leagues and franchise executives have been lobbying in favor.

Supporters of the House bill have amassed over 55 sponsors within the 120-member chamber. They claim that Tar Heel Staters are either already gambling or traveling to Tennessee or Virginia to place their bets.

Republican Representative Jason Saine said, “Sports betting is a form of entertainment, something that consenting adults with their own money should have the right to do. It is already happening and ignoring the issue only makes it worse. The immoral thing is to let the illegal market continue.”

Tar Heel State casinos are run by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in western North Carolina and the Catawba Indian Nation west of Charlotte, but sports betting operators see a potentially untapped market outside Tribal control.

The measure would issue 10-12 interactive sports wagering licenses via the North Carolina Lottery Commission, and starting January 8, 2024, people 21 or over could cast bets.

The state would collect a 14% privilege tax on operator gross revenue, minus winnings and other expenses.

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