The Last-Minute Effort to Bring Mobile Sports Betting to North Carolina May be Futile as the House Rejects the Bill

Since the short legislative session began on May 18th, the sports betting bill, also known as SB 688, didn’t quite move until the start of this week. The optimism was high among the lawmakers, and everyone else involved as the push for sports betting in the Tar Heel State may have run out of steam.

What Were the Results of the Vote in North Carolina?

Sports betting was only available in two tribal casinos located in the western part of the state, which is home to Caesars Sportsbooks. Retail sportsbooks are hard to get to as many live in other parts of the state. However, just like neighboring states, Georgia and North Carolina may have to mark the next legislative session that will take place in 2023.

In just less than 24 hours, SB 688 went through three committees, and two sports betting bills were hotly contested in the North Carolina House. The vote didn’t favor the bill by a narrow margin as the House voted 52-49 against the bill that would allow bettors across the state to use mobile platforms to place wagers.

What seemed like a last-minute effort by Rep. John Bell to save the bill in the session didn’t go in his favor. It was intended to send the bill back to the committee for adjustments. However, the push for amendments was also rejected on the House floor that would have permitted professional and college sports betting on mobile apps.

Late Wednesday, SB38 was redirected back to the Rules, Calendar, and Operations Committee and was approved on a second reading vote by a real narrow margin of 51-50. The third and final reading for this bill will take place on Thursday on the House floor. The only downside to this bill is sports gambling on college sports betting will be prohibited, including in-state and out-of-state teams.

The 2022 Legislative Session is Approaching its Last Days

Gov. Roy Cooper has been an advocate for bringing mobile sports betting to the Tar Heel State as it would bring more job opportunities and revenue along with it. Rep. Larry Pittman, however, has compared sports betting to monetizing human trafficking, which continues to face heavy opposition. There were other lawmakers that expressed their displeasure with the sports betting operation.

Time is running out as the legislative session ends on June 30th as the bills didn’t move for weeks to give themselves a better chance of getting signed into law. Any bill that doesn’t get enough support will be reintroduced next year when the General Assembly meets again next year.

During Wednesday’s House Rules, Calendar, and Operations Committee meeting, mobile sports betting legislation was passed first by the Finance Committee and then by the Rules, Calendar, and Operations Committee. In the early portion of Wednesday, the Finance Committee signed off on SB 38 by a vote of 14-2, which would allow 10-12 mobile sports betting licenses.

The Sports Betting Bills Had Solid Support Backing Them

The pressure was on North Carolina as some of its neighboring states offer sports betting to its residents. In particular, Tennessee only offers mobile sports betting, which makes it easy for those crossing state lines to place bets. Professional sports teams in North Carolina also showed their support for sports betting.

SB38 would allow mobile sports betting in North Carolina no earlier than Jan. 1, 2023, which was very similar to Ohio’s approach as the Buckeye State’s market will be launching on New Year’s Day.

The bill also pushed for a tax rate from the original eight percent to 14 percent, and there were more propositions as well that would have allowed the state to generate more revenue. SB38 was amended on Wednesday to add funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

It’s looking more likely that bettors across North Carolina will have to wait until the next meeting, which will take place next year.


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