Sports Wagering Bill Advances in North Carolina

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North Carolina could soon have a dozen licensed operators offering online and land-based sports wagering.

North Carolina Senate Approves Sports Betting Measure

North Carolina would authorize sports gambling with up to a dozen licensed operators offering land-based and online sports wagering, as the state Senate approved the legislation on Thursday.

The measure advances to the the House, despite the fact that many Republicans in the Senate voted against it. However, nine Republicans joined the Democrats attending Thursday’s session and approved the measure with a 26-19 vote. The legislation would see the North Carolina Education Lottery commission issuing between ten and 12sports betting licenses to operators and supplier licenses for the operators.

From January, licensees would have permission to offer to bet on college, amateur and professional sporting events, including game outcomes, as well as other activity not based on the final scores. Operators would be allowed to set up land-based betting parlors near a professional sports arena or places that hold annual pro golf events.

Wagering Could Bring Up to $24 Million in Revenue Annually

North Carolina’s government would receive 8% of each operator’s gross revenue. Half of the money would go to a special fund to support sporting events and attractions in the state and most of the other funds would go for other regular needs. When looking at one version of the bill, the legislature’s fiscal staff estimated a combined annual total revenue for the state to go between $8 million and $24 million. On a side note, months ago, Spectrum Gaming predicted billions of revenue from gambling in the state.

On Wednesday, legislators also approved an amendment to put aside $1 million for gambling addiction.

Opposers Fear Sports Wagering Would Target Young People

Social conservatives still oppose betting and it is unusual for a bill to progress to the floor without most of the GOP leaders supporting it. During the preliminary vote on Wednesday, Sen. Jim Burgin, a Harnett County Republican, voted against the bill and stated that it would target young people and produce little money.

On Thursday, North Carolina Family Policy Council Executive Director John Rustin spoke against the bill and said that it marks an expansion of state-sanctioned gambling. He said that it would lead to more problem gambling and harm families. In his opinion, the state would be flooded with promotions and advertisements pushing towards gambling.

Supporters Say People Are Already Spending Money on Betting

Bill supporters argue that gambling is already present in the state, as players use online apps offering wagering from out-of-state locations. According to them, the regulations would allow the state to profit from the revenues. The money could go for local needs and funding public education.

According to Senate leader Phil Berger of Rockingham County, a Republican and supporter of the bill, it is important to allow the chamber to work on the legislature, which has been on the table for a while.

Sen. Jim Perry, a Lenoir County Republican and bill sponsor, said, “We know they’re already spending — choosing to spend their money that way. And I believe I owe it to the people I represent to try to find alternative means to meet the needs of the community.”

Perry stated that he expects House supporters of the bill to raise the tax of 8% for more revenues and he also said he would continue to work towards the benefit of K-12 school construction.

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