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Gamblers in North Carolina are able to make legal sports bets right now, but they have to place those wagers in person, and their state lawmakers only have a couple of weeks left to move forward with a mobile sports betting bill that needs complete congressional approval and fast.
As we have previously reported, a bill to legalize online sports betting in North Carolina – SB 688 – was approved by the state Senate late last year and it needs the approval of the House before the legislative session ends in two weeks before it can be sent to the Governor.
That means the bill must be approved first by the House Judiciary 1 Standing Committee and then the chamber’s Finance Committee and Rules and Operations Committee, a frustratingly slow process that one of the bill’s sponsors expected, with Senator Paul Lowe admitting:
We have known that this bill would require a deliberate step-by-step process.
It’s nothing the other thirty-plus states who have already been through this same tricky procedure haven’t faced and the slow pace makes sense since lawmakers only have one chance to get it right, the main issues up for debate being tax rates and licensing fees.
For a state to legalize, regulate, launch, and tax a sports betting market for its residents, its lawmakers must cut through multiple layers of legislative red tape including deciding on a fair tax rate and licensing fees, as well as what type of applicants that state wishes to approve.
The proposed mobile sports betting bill SB 688 could increase the tax rate now in place for retail gambling, a move that should exponentially increase the amount of revenue that market will generate every year, a tricky decision since that rate must be fair to sportsbooks, too.
The bill also calls for a one-time upfront licensing fee of $500,000 with an annual renewal fee of $100,000, a costly startup and yearly nut for operators to come up with if they expect to participate in the potentially lucrative North Carolinian legal mobile sports betting market.
There are millions of dollars at stake here.
As evidenced by the other state markets now operating, legal sports betting is a potentially lucrative operation capable of generating big money, with some industry insiders projecting a North Carolina mobile market to add from $8 million and $24 million to the yearly handle there.
That increase in action means more revenue for sportsbooks which in turn means more income to tax, an income stream that used to flow out of state via unregulated offshore sportsbooks and illegal bookies, not to mention to neighboring states where that activity is already legal.
With North Carolina’s legislative session ending June 30, time is running out for those compromises to take place, but as Sportradar’s Brandt Iden told the media last month:
It’s another state that’s been talking about this for a long time and they finally have legislation at a good spot, so I would place a wager that North Carolina may get it done this year.
Keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this unfolding story.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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