North Carolina sports betting proponents moved the ball one step closer to the goal line this week, even if they admit nothing is likely to change this year.
Senate Bill 688 was approved by the House Commerce Committee, 12-4.
The measure, which previously passed the state Senate 26-19, still needs to go before several other committees before reaching the House floor.
But state Rep. Jason Saine, a leading advocate of the legislation, told WNCT Channel 9 that he does not expect the legislation to pass this year.
Saine said he wants lawmakers to begin talking, with the goal of passing a sports betting law next year, during a new legislative session.
North Carolina Sports Betting Already Happening
While mobile betting has not been legalized, North Carolinians who want to place bets can do so at two casinos in the western part of the state.
Mobile sports betting is legal in Tennessee and Virginia, so those along the border can cross state lines to place wagers.
SB 688 would allow for mobile betting in the state, with up to 12 licenses available. While it does not allow for retail establishments, the legislation would sanction professional teams such as the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, and Carolina Hurricanes to have designated betting facilities within their stadiums.
Ahead of the committee vote Thursday, proponents of the legislation discussed some of the complexities of sports betting.
“There are actual data and statistics and analysis that go into sports wagering, rather than it just being a roll of the dice or a spin of the wheel,” state Rep. Jon Hardister said, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
“You can look at who is playing well, who has momentum, that you can take into account.”
Next Steps For Sports Betting In North Carolina
Time is winding down for the North Carolina General Assembly to enact legislation this year.
With most of the lawmakers’ energy directed toward redistricting, it is unlikely the bill will pass in 2021.
Proponents have consistently said they expect legislative action on sports betting to take place in 2022.