Inactive sports betting laws in North Carolina reappear
RALEIGH, NC (AP) – Senate legislation to allow and regulate sports betting in North Carolina reappeared in the House on Thursday, as a committee voted to move the measure forward with support that does not fully align with party lines.
The legislation attempts to take bets that supporters of the bill say already occur within North Carolina’s borders through offshore online websites or local bookies and control them through licensing. , state regulations and taxes.
“This is something we cannot ignore. It’s already there, ”said Rep. Jon Hardister, a Guilford County Republican who helped lead the Senate measure through the House Commerce Committee in a 12-4 vote. “We have to establish the framework, we have to generate income. ”
The measure, which the Senate already approved in August with bipartisan support, still has to go through three more House committees before it can reach the House floor.
“There is a long way to go,” said Rep. Jason Saine, a Lincoln County Republican and fellow bill manager, adding that there was no strategy to rush the measure in the latter. days of this year’s legislative session. If it stalls, the bill would still be eligible for consideration when the legislature meets again next year.
The legislation would order the North Carolina Education Lottery commission to issue between 10 and 12 interactive sports betting operator licenses, as well as supplier licenses for those operators. College, professional and some amateur sports can be wagered. Licensees could set up online applications, as well as an in-person betting spot in or near a professional sports arena or professional golf event.
The state would receive 8% of an operator’s adjusted gross income. Half of the tax revenue would go to a special fund to attract sporting events and attractions to the state. A legislative analysis of a previous version of the bill estimated that the combined annual revenue collected could reach $ 24 million. Supporters of the bill said the 8% tax could be higher.
At least 20 states – including Tennessee and Virginia – and the District of Columbia offer sports betting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Interest took off after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2018. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opened on-site betting operations this year at its two casinos in far western North Carolina thanks to the 2019 legislation.
A group of Christian conservatives and at least one Progressive Democrat opposed the measure on Thursday, saying it would create more gambling addicts, disproportionately harm the poor and lead to more social harm.
“Whichever way you characterize it, this is a wild expansion of gambling in North Carolina,” said Rep. Deb Butler, a Democrat from New Hanover County who also downplayed the prevalence of gambling. chance in the state. “I think it’s clear to me that this will affect those who can possibly the least afford it the most.”
Ches McDowell, a lobbyist representing Major League Baseball, NBA, PGA Tour and Charlotte Hornets, pointed out that the bill would set aside more money to fight problem gambling. The regulation of gambling will also help preserve the integrity of sports results which could be called into question when big offshore betting raises questions, he said.
McDowell warned that North Carolina is falling behind other states in competing for new franchises and events because it does not have licensed wagers in the state that can benefit the leagues. “They have a better market for sports because sports betting is another source of income,” he said.
GOP representative Frank Iler of Brunswick County, a committee member, said he was ready to let the measure progress, but did not commit to backing it in a floor vote.
“When I get home, I’m going to start surveying people and seeing where the churches (are) and the elderly if they are participating or if they think it’s a good idea or not, and see what comes out the other side, ”Iler said.