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Late last week, a North Carolina House Committee gave the thumbs up to a bipartisan sports betting bill (Senate Bill 688) with a 12-4 vote, this is yet another step with more to come towards bringing a regulated sports gambling market to the Tarheel State.
The truth that North Carolinian lawmakers are gradually coming to terms with is that resident gamblers are already placing millions of dollars worth of wagers on professional and college sporting events annually, but they are spending that money elsewhere.
Illicit bets are made using offshore sportsbooks or illegal bookies or neighboring states where that activity has already been legalized, but either way, North Carolina gets none of that revenue, which, says Rep. Jon Hardister, is why SB 688 is such a critical piece of legislation.
[Sports betting] is something that we can’t ignore. It’s already here. We need to establish the framework; we need to derive the revenue.
But that’s easier said than done in a state that tends to lean more conservatively on controversial social issues like legalized gambling.
Right now in North Carolina there are two Indian casinos and an Indian bingo hall, with all three owned and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina, plus there is a new Indian casino resort at King’s Mountain being built by the Catawba Indian Nation.
The idea of adding to that legalized, regulated, and taxed sports betting in the Old North State brings up all sorts of social issues that are being discussed at length, including the various levels of addiction, neglect, and poverty often associated with out of control gambling.
According to Rep. Jason Saine, adding this new legal sports betting operation in the state is not about creating a brand new market, it’s merely a matter of redirecting money, a LOT of money, that is already being unlawfully wagered out of North Carolina.
We would go from getting no revenue from an illegal activity in this state to generating (up to $50 million) in annual revenue.
Still, plenty of red tape and lots of speed bumps remain until that new revenue stream is realized.
Senate Bill 688 was initially approved by the state Senate back in August 19 by a 26-19 margin, but it took until September 15 for it to get to the first of four potential House committees, that being the House Commerce committee that just voted to advance the bill last Thursday.
Now SB 688 must face the Judiciary I, Finance, and Rules and Operations committees before it gets to go to the House floor where it will be discussed even further before votes are cast, a process that most likely won’t start, let alone wrap up, by the time the current legislation session ends, which should be soon.
So it looks like it won’t be earlier than 2022 when these next litigious steps will get handled, which means that residents will have to wait a bit longer before seeing that potential $25 million to $50 million in sports betting revenue earmarked for North Carolina school construction.
Check back for the latest news and updates on this ongoing 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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