• Senate Bill 154 was approved in the Senate by a vote of 43-7 in April.
  • It is up to the House to approve sports betting, as they also are discussion a fantasy sports betting bill.
  • Horse racing betting would also be approved should NC SB 154 pass in both chambers.

RALEIGH, N.C. – Sports betting in North Carolina doesn’t seem to be happening for 2019. Instead, legislators have put off efforts to approve a measure that would have had tribal casinos accepting wagers by the start of football season.

Introduced by Senator Jim Davis (R- Franklin), NC SB 154 made strong moves at the beginning of the session. After being introduced in the Senate at the end of February, the bill advanced by a 43-7 vote in early April but has been stagnant in the House since.

The House did originally act on the measure, having the bill read on the floor and sent to the committee on rules, calendar, and operations; however, it is here the bill will likely die as well.

No action had been taken on the bill from that committee between April 11 and June 26. In June, the bill was withdrawn from that committee and re-referred to the Committee on Commerce. But, if the bill is favorable it would simply go right back to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations.

At this time, it seems that members of the House are more concerned with drafting a state budget that NC Governor Roy Cooper will approve. Their previous effort was vetoed by Governor Cooper, but there has been no indication that sports betting tax revenue will be added in a second attempt.

While bettors in North Carolina may be upset at the fact that the bill is likely to die in committee, they should still feel happy that the state even submitted (and acted upon) a bill.

North Carolina is known for its anti-gambling measures, including the state lottery, which wasn’t approved until 2005.

If and when sports betting in North Carolina is legalized in the near future, this measure indicated what the outlook of the industry will be.

This proposal ensured the Native American tribal compact would be the regulatory structure in place. As it stands, bettors must be 21 and older to participate, wagers must be paid with cash, and a sliding scale is set to determine the tax revenue created from gambling.

SB 154 also would have allowed for pari-mutuel wagering, which is still against the law in NC. Both on track and simulcast options would be present; however, like sports betting, betting could only occur on the tribal lands.

As nearly a dozen-and-a-half states have legalized sports betting after the repeal of PASPA, many others like North Carolina have introduced bills to attempt the process. With the session potentially ending in the coming weeks, legislators will need to act fast for any opportunity to become one the states that has officially legalized sports betting.

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