North Carolina’s somewhat controversial sports betting bill, Senate Bill 668 (SB668), had a huge week, finally passing through the state Senate on Thursday by a vote of 26-19 after multiple readings and weeks of debates by various Senate committees.
Now SB668 makes its way to the NC House of Representatives for what is expected to be a series of heated debates to decide whether the Tar Heel State will allow legal sports betting to take place within its borders.
The main friction this bill is expected to create in the House stems from the anti-gambling stance that many members hold, including Rep. Pricey Harrison, who told the press:
There is a healthy bipartisan group of House members who are opposed to gambling, including me. I don’t see how the bill moves through the House this year. It’s a big change for North Carolina, and it needs thorough vetting and deliberation.
The reality is that sports gambling already exists and thrives in North Carolina, it’s just completely unregulated.
Those in favor of legal sports betting in NC argue that, due to offshore sportsbooks and neighboring states like Virginia and Tennessee having fully implemented it, Carolinian bettors are already spending millions of dollars gambling on sports, the money’s just not benefitting the state.
For others, the NC lottery and a potential Indian casino that could allow in-person and online casino gambling is enough.
It’s a tricky issue given the conservative stance some legislators have taken on gambling in general, a factor that Senator Jim Perry, a primary sponsor of the bill, is quick to consider.
We have sports betting today for those who want to bet. It’s just not something regulated and taxed by the state. I don’t want to put my head in the sand over that issue, but I also don’t want to belittle anyone who’s uncomfortable with it.
Perry estimates the industry could generate between $48 million and $50 million in annual tax revenue, a yearly money stream that would be used to fund schools as well as attract sporting events and attractions to the state, with the rest heading to the NC treasury.
When it comes to launching a statewide sports betting operation, there are plenty of financial and logistical details to iron out, which makes SB668 easy to debate from either side.
Right now, the bill expands the authority of the NC Education Lottery Commission to oversee sports betting in the state, allowing for 10 to 12 operators who would pay an 8% tax on their monthly adjusted gross revenue.
That’s on top of the half-million-dollar licensing fee and $100,000 yearly renewal fee plus ten grand for a service provider license and five grand for a supplier license, money that could bring in up to $25 million to $50 million in additional funds for important projects like school construction.
As Senator Paul Lowe, another primary sponsor of the bill has said:
If we can get more resources for our state, then maybe there is the possibility that more towns can do better by education.
It’s an exciting debate that we will keep you updated on – check back here for all the latest news and updates.
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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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