North Carolina Sports Betting Bill Goes Before Committee on Tuesday

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North Carolina lawmakers will take up sports betting legislation later today in a last-minute attempt to pass a bill before the session adjourns next week. 

The House Judiciary 1 Committee announced yesterday it would take up Senate Bill 688, which aims to legalize mobile sports betting in the Tar Heel State.

The measure passed the full Senate last year but has been stuck in limbo ever since. 

Gov. Roy Cooper has indicated he supports sports betting and is likely to sign a bill. 

Different Version Than What Previously Passed

The Judiciary Committee will consider two bills.  The original sports betting bill, SB 688, and a new, previously unrelated and expected to be gutted Senate Bill 38, according to WRAL-TV in Raleigh.

Some of the differences between the two bills are significant. 

SB 688 mandates a $500,000 fee to obtain a mobile sports betting license. Under the new legislation, the fee would be $1 million and good for five years. The renewal fee would also be $1 million under the new bill as opposed to $100,000 under the original bill. 

The tax rate on gross gaming revenues also is expected to change, WRAL reported. 

The new tax rate is expected to 14%, while the tax rate in SB 688 is capped at 8%. The new bill would allow sports betting operators to deduct credits from promotions used to entice customers to register.

The original bill was expected to bring in anywhere from $8 million to $24 million. This figure is expected to increase under the new tax structure. 

When Could Sports Betting Be Legal?

If SB 688 passes the Committee and then the full House by June 30, it would go to Cooper’s desk for his signature as expected. 

If it doesn’t, but the new bill does, SB 688 would need to go back to the Senate for consideration. It would need to be passed in the next nine days. 

Sports betting backers are optimistic about their chances, despite the ticking clock.

“I feel like there is enough bipartisan support to get this bill passed,” state Sen. Paul Lowe, a co-sponsor of SB 688, told the Winston-Salem Journal.

If the bill is passed and signed, mobile sports betting could be up and running this fall, proponents said. 

“September, October, I don’t think it’s unreasonable. I think it’s probably a little later,” state Rep. Jason Saine told WRAL. “A lot of sports right at the end of the year, first of the year, so hopefully we’re there. Again, I’d hate to lose that revenue. But we’re not going to go too fast to where we can’t handle it.”

The House Judiciary Committee is slated to meet 10 minutes after the full North Carolina House adjourns for the day. The House convenes at 4 p.m. ET, so the hearing is expected to take place in the evening. 

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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