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North Carolina Moves Sports Betting to Special Committee

The future of sports betting looks promising in North Carolina after a bill moved to a parallel House committee. Nevertheless, the committee will not be instant as the debates will likely run into the 2022 legislative session.

Senate Bill 688 would allow people in North Carolina to place a bet on professional and collegiate sports with multiple operators. The bill was approved by a 26-19 margin on August 19 after its third reading. There are many hurdles remaining in the process because the legislature does not heavily favor sports betting.

The committee stage of legalization

Sports betting is sweeping the nation, and the states that have not legalized gambling are losing money. Yet, many lawmakers in the United States still oppose the form of gambling.

Sports betting is advancing in North Carolina, but there are still numerous issues for SB 688 to overcome. On Wednesday, the bill made its first venture into the House Commerce Committee. It will then proceed to Judiciary 1, Finance, and Rules and Operations.

Background on SB 668

SB 688 was announced in the Senate on April 7 by Sens. Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth, and Jim Perry, R-Lenoir, as the primary sponsors.

Lowe and Perry have been sports betting proponents since the Professional, and Amateur Sports Protection Act was deemed unconstitutional in 2018. They claim that it would be great for the professional sports teams in the state and add additional revenue to the state.

There are many states surrounding North Carolina that offer mobile sports betting. Additionally, offshore betting platforms are captivating gamblers in the state. Lowe and Perry have taken the stance that North Carolina is losing tremendous money over the border.

SB 688 was introduced and then delayed for four months before it was accelerated through the Senate’s committees. It made its way through the Senate committees in one week between August 3 and 10.

The House will not be as straightforward of a process, so sports betting discussions should be extended to 2022. Mitch Kokai, a political analyst with the John Locke Foundation, has been very involved in the sports betting policy process.

He commented on the situation when the bill was pushed to the House on Wednesday.

Kokai said, “It’s uncommon for most bills to have to clear more than one substantive committee. The fact that the sports gambling bill would have to clear multiple hurdles in the House means that chamber isn’t willing simply to rubber-stamp the Senate’s plan. It’s a stronger sign that members of the House Republican caucus have lingering questions. Setting up a lengthy committee schedule will give them time to get answers.”

This analysis can be viewed from two different angles. House lawmakers are trying to deny sports betting, or they want to give the potential industry the time it deserves. The main issues which are expected to be discussed are the socioeconomic effects such as gambling addiction.

Also, there were lawmakers in the Senate opposed to betting on college sports. Nevertheless, the industry needs to become regulated, or North Carolina will continue losing tax revenue.

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