North Carolina sports bettors will have to keep waiting for a chance legally place a bet online in their own state. State legislators once again fell short of putting a bill on the governor’s desk for consideration.
It was a hectic last two weeks before the final legislative session of 2022 ended on June 30 — a disappointing end to what had been great expectations that state legislators would get a North Carolina online sports betting bill done this summer.
That means the only sports betting options for North Carolina residents are a small number of retail locations on the west side of the state. A third retail sportsbook is being built in Kings Mountain and is expected to be up and running in time for the start of the NFL season.
Two Bills, Countless Problems
Two bills were debated and voted on in the last legislative session in June. SB 688 was the original sports betting bill, while SB38 was an amendment to that bill.
SB 688 passed in the state Senate but failed by a single vote in the House, 51-50. The Senate did not pass SB 38, while the House passed it, 51-50.
Senate Bill 38
SB 38 had a number of changes from SB 688 that were enough to flip one voter. They included:
- New rules that placed bans on betting on college and amateur sports.
- Higher taxes and fees to sportsbooks.
- Tighter restrictions on marketing.
- Voluntary self-exclusion list to which people can add themselves.
- Several other minor details.
Bipartisan Support & Opposition
Making the bill and amendment unique, sports betting legislation saw support from both sides of the political landscape. At the same time, there was also fierce opposition from both sides of the aisle.
- The potential financial windfall that the state would receive in tax revenue.
- This is the direction the rest of the country has been moving in, with many states all around the country legalizing sports betting.
- Illegal gambling will continue to thrive in the state without any tax revenue going to the state.
- Professional teams in the state are supportive of sports gambling legislation.
- Several legislators made arguments based on sports betting scandals in the 1960s, and another dating all the way back to 1919.
- The stigma on addictive gambling, like the state lottery, was a deterrent to some legislators.
NC Sports Betting Future
Sports betting in 2022 is likely dead, as the final legislative session for the year has ended. There are still some options for it to pass this year or in the future.
- There is likely to be at least one more legislative session (a special session) this year. It has not been scheduled yet, so it is not a sure thing, but it is likely to happen.
- Wait until after the election in the fall, and with some new legislators in 2023, it could be enough to turn the table with a few more votes in favor of sports betting.
- With the House having a total of 120 members and only 101 votes being cast, it is possible some legislators may vote in future sessions.
Sports betting will likely be a reality in North Carolina over the next few years. Still, for now, there are very few options for North Carolina bettors to place legal wagers.
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson