12 months on from potentially being one of the first states to legalize land-based and online sports betting in the United States, North Carolina’s legislators are back on course to giving the Tar Heels State’s bettors the opportunity to wager on sports legally. North Carolina hasn’t garnered many headlines in the race to legalize sports betting of late following the derailed first attempt to get legal sports wagering over the line, however, several state leaders hope to change that as soon as possible.
North Carolina Sports Betting only on Tribal Land?
Lawmakers in the State of North Carolina have suddenly advanced a bill that would allow sports betting on tribal land, but not throughout the rest of North Carolina.
Senate Bill 154 will potentially be heard on the floor of the North Carolina House shortly after passing a final committee hearing last week. After being stalled in the legislative process since April 2019, the North Carolina State House Commerce Committee finally gave its final approval to the contentious bill, which if passed, will also potentially allow horse wagering on tribal land.
State Representative Kevin Corbin, R-Macon, is on the record that the bill would limit sports betting and horse wagering to the Eastern Band of Cherokee casinos in Cherokee and Murphy. It’s not expected that betting on sports or horses will be permitted outside of those areas, and its worthwhile to note that there is no scope to expand upon these Tribal areas. Representative Corbin explained that it is more of a gambling expansion bill rather than a wholesale sports betting legalization document;
“We’re not asking you this morning to legalize sports betting and gambling in North Carolina, we’re simply asking you to add this to the list of the games that are allowed” at the (Tribal) casinos, Corbin said.
Meanwhile, State Senator Jim Davis, R-Macon, said that the Eastern Band of the Cherokee have long decided to expand upon their options of gaming varieties ever since the U.S. Supreme Court put sports betting back in hands of the states for self-determination back in May of 2018. Davis applauded the Tribes’ history of economic responsibility and outlined the Tribes’ revenue raising potential for the Tar Heel State;
“The Eastern Band have been extremely good stewards of the revenue generated from their gaming operations,” Davis said.
Industry experts have estimated that the State Government revenue from adding sports and horse betting could possibly generate as much as $1.5 million per annum for North Carolina.
Extended Legislative Season gives NC lawmakers the chance to okay sports betting
North Carolina’s legislative session was expected to come to an end in the first week of July upon approval of the State Budget. However, given Governor Roy Cooper veto of the annual budget, the session has been gone through an unexpected extension.
Given the budget delay, it has provided the opportunity for the Tar Heel State legislators to fully reconsider the sports betting proposal. It appears that there may be enough time to see the bill approved and have sports betting and horse wagering fully legalized in North Carolina.
If the bill does pass the House, it will then go to the office of Governor Roy Cooper for him to either sign it into law, veto it, or simply permit it to become law without his signature.
This reality of online sports betting in North Carolina is less promising. However, with high-profile supporters, as well as the tantalizing potential for a new state government revenue stream, North Carolina has at least opened its eyes to legal sports betting, and online wagering may follow shortly thereafter.