North Carolina Senator Jim Perry

  • Senator Jim Perry is sponsoring Senate Bill 688 to regulate mobile and retail sportsbooks in North Carolina.
  • A regulated sportsbook market in the state for commercial operators could bring in $50 million annually in revenue for NC.
  • The North Carolina General Assembly adjourns on July 2.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The North Carolina General Assembly has the chance to expand their sports betting market in 2021 through new legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Perry. Senate Bill 688 was filed on Wednesday and passed in its first reading in the Senate on Thursday where it was referred to the Committee On Rules and Operations of the Senate for further hearings.

Senator Perry spoke with LegalSportsBetting on Friday and discussed the new sports wagering proposal and why it would be beneficial if it were to receive passage for North Carolina’s economy.

Speaking With Senator Perry

North Carolina currently has two retail tribal sportsbook locations in the state. Senate Bill 688 would change that to add commercial land-based sports wagering venues and mobile sportsbooks. Senator Perry believes that this proposal holds a good chance to spark conversation on regulated sports gaming for North Carolina within the General Assembly.

“I think the reality that all we must accept is that if you don’t have legal sports betting, it just means that you have illegal sports betting, it doesn’t mean that sports betting is not taking place in your state,” said Perry. “When I speak to people that have different views on the subject, I try to encourage them and remind them to embrace the reality of the situation. Leaving sports wagering in the shadows does not stop it from happening. Sports betting is something that is taking place every day and I think we have to be openminded and realize that fact.”

There is an 8% rate on all gross gaming revenue from the industry under NC SB 688 for retail and mobile sportsbooks. In a fully developed market, that could bring in around $50 million a year for the people of North Carolina which is something that the state is in dire need of, especially after the outbreak of COVID-19.

“Based upon the difficulty we have with funding options in many areas like the one I represent (District 7), I don’t think we should ignore the fact that sports betting already goes on. Instead, I believe we could develop a state regulated market and push it into the sunshine. In doing so, it would not only provide the funding options needed for schools but also provide help for individuals that are not getting it today because residents are being made to place bets within the shadows of their homes,” said Perry.

Proponents also argue that a state-regulated market could help with getting gambling addiction and other mental health programs that are needed by the people of the state today up and running. Wagering on sports in the shadows does not help with consumer protections of any kind and providing safety to the people of North Carolina who already bet on sports daily is something that the passage of Senate Bill 688 could do.

What Could The Outcome Be?

While other states have seen opposition by the tribes when it’s come to their sports betting industries, Perry does not believe this will be an issue. The state constitution of North Carolina holds language within it concerning the monopoly of any particular market. And although it’s an attractive feature to have a competitive reign over sports betting, it is not something that NC is worried about when it comes time to hear more on Senate Bill 688.

“I’ve had conversations with Cherokee representatives and folks representing their interests and they’ve been very reasonable with me to date on issues such as this,” said Perry.

Should the General Assembly pass the proposal, the state lottery commission would hold the power to implement safeguards and other details in accordance to the best possible practices of the market. At this point, there are ten to twelve gaming licenses up for grabs should this bill receive the greenlight as is. Having neighboring states to base their foundation for the industry has been very helpful for NC.

“Any time we see things in other areas of the country going well in regards to sports betting we can then use their experiences as blueprints for our own market which is always helpful,” said Perry.

The North Carolina General Assembly adjourns for 2021 on July 2 for the year. If Senate Bill 688 is passed, the law would go live for regulated sports betting in the state in October.

However, because of such a slim timeframe, Perry thinks that early 2022 would be the safer bet to see operations go live in the state. Now is the time to spark up some conversation to pass his measure before the future of a launch can be discussed but it looks like North Carolina is open to the topic which is already a great start.

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