How Other States Can Learn From North Carolina’s Sports Betting Efforts

North Carolina has a solid chance to legalize online sports betting this year. That’s mostly thanks to the way that lawmakers have approached the process.

This isn’t the first time a North Carolina sports betting bill has tried to navigate its way through the statehouse. However, it is the first time lawmakers have made the process this simple.

The groundwork was laid long in advance for this year’s bill, and the difference shows. It’s something other states that are considering legal sports betting could take notes on.

2022’s legalization efforts were a mess

All things considered, lawmakers weren’t exactly working with a streamlined strategy for last year’s sports betting bill.

There was much debate on the finer details of the bill, including topics such as whether to include college sports betting as part of the proposed legislation.

That eventually led to multiple sports betting bills running at the same time. Instead of amending the first bill, lawmakers introduced a second one to alter the state’s potential sports betting landscape.

Having multiple bills in the statehouse at once muddied the waters for lawmakers. The process quickly became too complicated, and legalization efforts narrowly fell short.

Things didn’t work out for sports betting in 2022, but this time around, lawmakers started filling potholes before they appeared in the first place.

North Carolina lawmakers learned from mistakes

North Carolina’s current sports betting bill is making its way through the state Senate right now. Its sponsor, Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, made sure all of his ducks were in a row before he filed the bill this year.

Saine and company attracted dozens of supporters for the bill before introducing it to the state’s House of Representatives.

Since lawmakers were already familiar with some of the finer points thanks to 2022’s legalization efforts, the process started to move quickly in 2023.

The sports betting bill cleared multiple committees in a matter of days before snagging its final approval from the House.

The bipartisan bill faced minor resistance, but since state representatives had worked out most of the details in advance, it navigated those waters quickly.

The bill sits in the Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee. Once it gets moving again, it has a solid chance of reaching Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk this year.

It just goes to show how valuable preparation can be when it comes to legalizing sports betting. Gambling expansion is often a contentious issue, so states that want to add sports betting in the future should consider following North Carolina’s model to give themselves the best possible chance right out of the gate.

Legislation Update: In June 2023, Gov. Roy Cooper officially signed online sports betting bill HB 347 into law. Legal online sportsbooks are now set to launch from Jan. 8, 2024 to June 14, 2024, bringing with them a multitude of top NC online sports betting promotions and welcome bonuses for state sports bettors to enjoy.

About the Author

Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.