North Carolina Session Begins with High Hopes for Sports Gambling

North Carolina is looking to close the legislative session with a resounding success insofar as sports gambling goes. A proposed piece of legislation may actually make it on time for Gov. Roy Cooper to sign and offer the opportunity for the state to start working on a regulator framework for sports gambling operations before the new National Football League season.

North Carolina Readies to Push Sports Gambling

There is a lot up in the air still so nobody is exactly sure if North Carolina can make it. Both the State Senate and House of Representatives will have time through June 30 to pitch, vote on, and potentially pass a bill that would make it possible to offer sports gambling products. Whether this happens is another matter altogether.

Both private companies and tribal operators will want their interests protected. Sen. Paul Lowe, one of the proponents of sports gambling legislation in the state, is arguing that there may already be enough legislative support, but whether this is the case remains to be seen. His previous effort, Senate Bill 688, came short last year. A new opportunity is now being presented.

The main rub is likely to come from how strongly tribal casinos feel about divvying up the market with private companies. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Catawba Indian Nation are not very likely to look the other way. They already have casinos in place and offer a fair bit of gaming products. Meanwhile, there have been sports betting products offered on some properties already, specifically Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River.

Tribal and Private Interests to Clash

So, the legislative push is really about making it possible for private sports gambling companies to enter the game and make it more accessible to all. So, the idea is to have a licensing fee that will cost around $500,000 and cost $100,000 to renew. At least this is what last year’s proposal pitched. The tax is fairly low, but lawmakers suggest that it’s competitive.

What the final tax rate would remain to be seen. Last year that was 8%. A strong endorsement may be mustered around the idea of offering sports facilities an opportunity to start offering sports gambling options. Some venues include golf courses, football stadiums, and others.

Lowe expects the bill to need some adjustment on the fly, but he remains confident that this time around, North Carolina is looking at fully legalizing its sports gambling industry.

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