North Carolina General Assembly

  • Senate Bill 688 that would expand the sports betting market in North Carolina is getting another shot with lawmakers.
  • The legislation will need to pass through four House committees and a House floor vote before being sent to Governor Roy Cooper for approval.
  • Ten to twelve mobile sports betting operations would be seen with the passing of Senate Bill 688.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The North Carolina General Assembly is trying its hand at passing a sports betting bill in the 2021 session, again. On Wednesday, Senate Bill 688 was referred to four separate committees in the House to be heard as it had already passed in the Senate last month.

Sports Betting Bill Awaits Fate In NC House

Senate Bill 688 would expand the sports wagering industry in North Carolina. As it stands, NC has only two tribally-owned retail sportsbooks in the state, both Harrah’s locations. These sportsbooks are run by Caesars.

However, NC SB 688 would open up the regulated sports gaming industry to include more venues and mobile sportsbook platforms for residents. Currently, there are no mobile sports betting options in the state.

Should the bill find approvals during the special hearings being held by lawmakers, it would open up 10-12 mobile sportsbook licenses that would also open the door for more land-based sports wagering as well. A $500,000 licensing fee has been set and revenue projections with passage see the industry bringing in up to $24 million yearly.

“I don’t know if it’ll pass or not, but we referred it out today, and if those committee chairs want to hear it, they can,” said Destin Hall, House Rules Chairman. “I expect they probably will, but, in terms of timeline, I don’t know.”

How Much Time Is There?

Originally, the North Carolina General Assembly adjourned in July but the Senate decided to vote on this bill in a special session in August where it passed on August 19. On Wednesday, the bill was both withdrawn from the House and then re-referred for consideration.

North Carolina sports betting is something that lawmakers want to see happen this year, especially with the number of NFL bets that could occur should the government act quickly on this and pass legislation within the coming weeks.

The House of Commerce would be the first to hear Senate Bill 688 and it would then go to the House Judiciary 1, the House of Finance, and the House of Rules, in that order. All require approvals for progression to the House Floor where a favorable vote can be made. No hearings have been scheduled for any of this to occur but it all could be done very fast if needed. Lawmakers will need to decide on the fate of Senate Bill 688 before the end of October but as of right now, this legislation just received its second wind after many thought it was out of gas.

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