Can North Carolina Get Sports Betting Bill Passed in 2021?
The future of North Carolina sports betting does not look promising during the 2021 legislative session. The wagering bill is still sitting on the docket for the North Carolina General Assembly, waiting to be heard.
Sports betting discussions have spanned years in some states. The North Carolina General Assembly adjourns on July 2, so it’s unlikely that a bill will get passed in 2021.
Senate Bill 668
Senate Bill 668 has been sitting on the General Assembly’s docket since April 8. The legislation is sponsored by Senator Jim Perry, who has headed the wagering effort in North Carolina. The bill would allow 12 mobile sportsbooks to launch in the state.
It would also allow a variety of establishments to open retail sportsbooks. Perry and other senators have stated that there is not enough time to pass betting in 2021.
The Current Law
North Carolina already offers a minimal sports betting market through two tribal casinos in the state. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians owns the two properties. A third owned by the Catawba Nation will open a third retail book in 2021.
North Carolina sports betting would be commercialized if a bill like SB 688 passed. Nevertheless, there is no date for the bill to be discussed. There has not been a sense of urgency throughout the legislature.
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Pros and Cons of Sports Betting For the Legislature
Some issues circulate around sports wagering in the mind of some legislators. Perry has disputed the concerns, but his comments have not caused legislators to advocate for the bill.
“I believe data shows that 1-3% of our population has addiction issues. Addiction can manifest in many different, and sometimes multiple ways. I believe it is shortsighted, even if well-intended, to believe regulation of sports betting will cause calamity for our society.”
Perry has tried to express the benefits of sports betting to his fellow legislators. According to the senator, the revenue from sports betting would be significant for the farmers of North Carolina.
“I don’t think people realize how those local property taxes impact our farmers. I put out a call for recommendations of how to grow school construction funding without having to raise taxes in any way. I can tell you how many suggestions I received from around our state. Zero. I represent a ton of farmers in rural areas. I am open to any ideas for legislation we can pass to help the situation, without putting it on the backs of those farmers who are already struggling.”
If sports betting passes in 2021, the state will generate millions in tax revenue. The limited time remaining in the legislative session makes it likely that sports betting will be pushed to 2022.
Sports betting has gained traction throughout the nation amongst states to recover financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. North Carolina will pass sports betting in the future, but the current hesitations in the legislature will delay the industry for at least another year.