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On Wednesday, the North Carolina Senate Finance Committee voted favorably on SB 688, with the sports betting legislation now moving on to be reviewed and possibly enhanced by other Senate committees, including Judiciary, Commerce and Insurance, and Rules and Operations of the Senate.
Earlier in the week, the bill was given the green light by the Senate Republican caucus that was charged with determining whether this bill should even begin the legislative process required to turn it into law.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger is cautious about whether the bill can survive this next step:
It’ll go through the committee process. The bill sponsors tell me that there’s support for it. We will see.
Were it to move forward, the bill would eventually make in-person and online gambling legal in North Carolina, though it could potentially go through some serious changes by the Senate Finance Committee.
The job of the Senate Finance Committee is essentially to take a closer look at the bill and decide whether to report it favorably with a “do pass” recommendation, amend it, or reject it, though it could also choose to report the bill but with an unfavorable recommendation.
So far, this sports betting bill seems to have enough overall support in the state, with the SB 688’s lead sponsor, Senator Jim Perry, doing his best to encourage his fellow litigators to consider this version as a starting point.
Based upon the feedback I’ve gotten, we should view this bill as a placeholder bill and it will evolve in the committee process. A tightening up, watering down, whatever you want to call it.
The key motivator here, as it is for every state now considering legalizing sports betting, is the potential revenue and jobs it could generate.
Perry’s initial estimates for his bill’s potential revenue range from $40 million to $50 million dollars a year, money that right now is already being generated but going to offshore sportsbooks and the other neighboring states where gambling on sports is already legal, like Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee.
The main benefactor of this new money would be North Carolina’s school system, a public cause that, as NC Senator Paul Lowe has pointed out, is currently underfunded with limited sources of revenue right now.
We need more money for education. We’ve got to do it some kind of way, and it’s not gonna drop out of the air. Folks are already [betting on sports], so we might as well get the tax dollars from it obviously.
State leaders in the Old North State are beginning to realize that ever since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018, sports betting is here to stay in the US, so the choice becomes whether to let outsiders benefit from the revenue that North Carolinian bettors are generating or to begin redirecting that cash flow inwards.
Check back here to catch the latest updates on North Carolina’s unfolding legal sports betting journey.
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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