Sports Betting a Major Focus in North Carolina
Lawmakers in the state of North Carolina are back in session, and online sports betting will once again be a major point of discussion. The legislative session is set to end on June 30, and the legislators will have to work quickly to get something done.
There is some optimism that a bill will get passed though because Senate Bill 688 has already been approved in the Senate. That bill now resides in the House of Representatives, and that group is expected to begin discussion almost immediately.
Retail sports betting is already legal in the state of North Carolina, but it is only offered by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Caesars Sportsbook is operating the retail sportsbooks at each location, but adding online sports betting would help the overall industry grow.
Online sports betting is currently legal in both Virginia and Tennessee, and that allows residents to cross over into those states to place bets online. Surveys have been conducted by several groups in the state, and it does appear that a majority of residents support online sports betting options.
The final language of the bill could change several times over the next couple of weeks, but at least online sports betting licenses are expected to become available. It’s unclear how the licensing process would work if a bill is passed, or what groups would be able to apply for a license.
The current tax rate on online sports betting is set at eight percent, and the licensing fee is set at $500,000. Both of those figures will be discussed and debated among Representatives before the bill moves forward.
Governor, Sports Teams Support Bill
Governor Roy Cooper is in favor of legalizing online sports betting, and he was actually instrumental in getting retail betting in the state. Cooper worked with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to help get a new gaming compact signed that allowed for that type of betting to take place.
Professional sports teams in North Carolina are also in support of this bill as they would have a large piece of the industry if a new bill was signed. Sports betting lounges could be set up on-site at locations such as the Charlotte Motor Speedway, PNC Arena, or Bank of America Stadium.
Strong Projections From Lawmakers
The early sports betting projections are just a rough estimate, but the state could receive between $8 and $24 million in revenue after the online industry is fully up and running. This would not put North Carolina as a major sports betting market, but it would be an excellent new revenue source for the state.
According to language in the current bill, 50% of those funds will be allocated to attempting to attract new events to take place within the state. Other funds would be used to help find problem gambling or addiction programs that could stem from the online sports betting launch.
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