The sports betting bill faces better odds this year at NC House

Sports betting is back on the table for North Carolina lawmakers, and this time with better odds.

Retail sports betting is currently available at two North Carolina tribal casinos operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians at Harrah’s Cherokee casinos in Cherokee and Murphy.

The bipartisan House of Representatives’ bill would allow online sports betting on professional and collegiate sports teams nationwide. At the previous session, efforts to pass the online sports betting legislation in the State House failed by one vote.

For sports fans and supporters of the bill like Jacob Diehl, last year’s failed sports betting bill was a disappointment.

“I had a little hope last year that the law would pass,” Diehl said.

One of the main sponsors of the bill, Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), is hoping for a better result in this year’s session.

“Many members have taken the time to do more research,” said Saine. “We had a pretty good vote count. I think we are about 54-55 sponsors of the bill. With 160 people, that’s quite a lot. I think we’re making progress. I think it’s a very different atmosphere than last time.”

Last year, Gov. Roy Cooper supported the legalization of sports betting in North Carolina.

WRAL Sports Investigative Reporter Brian Murphy said all indications are that the governor would sign the law under consideration.

“His two-year budget was about $85 million in sports betting tax revenue,” Murphy said.

Murphy explained why North Carolina is lagging behind some other states in legalizing sports betting.

“North Carolina is just a more conservative state than some of the states that have legalized mobile sports betting,” Murphy said.

“Last year was a very chaotic session. This bill was amended and amended by the committee and changed in the House Plenary,” Murphy said.

He added: “One thing to consider is that many of the House lawmakers have changed – about a quarter of them differ after the election from last year. And then, in the meantime, the pro sports teams and others who are really pushing this have lobbied very hard to explain the issue better than they did last year and to show lawmakers more data.”

Despite objecting to the bill, Saine said North Carolinians are already betting on sports and changing the law would better ensure customer safety.

“Honestly, I think the bill really puts the spotlight on the scene and allows for some real transparency to better understand what sports betting is like in our state,” he said.

Deihl believes that passing the Sports Betting Act will change the fan experience.

“Something like F1 that’s growing, I don’t watch it, but if it came to betting I might watch it,” he said. “It will be fun and give me a reason to watch it.”

The Sports Betting Act is on the agenda of the House Commerce Committee this Tuesday. Online sports betting would start in January 2024 if the law were passed.


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