North Carolina Senate Passes Sports Betting Bill

Written By J.R. Duren on August 20, 2021

Statewide sports wagering is one step closer to being a reality in the Tarheel State. The North Carolina Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 688, a piece of legislation that would legalize sports betting throughout the state. The NC Senate sports betting bill now moves to the state house.

The bill passed by a vote of 26-19. If it passes in the House, the bill will go to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk for his signature.

Speaking with local media after the vote, bill sponsor Sen. Jim Perry said the vote moves the state one step closer to generating revenue from illegal sports betting that’s already taking place throughout the state.

“Prohibition doesn’t work. We know that activity takes place today, whether we like it or not,” Perry told Raleigh-based news station WRAL. “I look at this as more of a voluntary tax. [Illegal bettors are] already spending – choosing to spend their money that way – and I believe I owe it to the people I represent to try to find alternative means to meet the needs of the community.”

At present, the state allows sports betting only at a pair of Harrah’s properties operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Bill took the long way to the House

The NC Senate sports betting bill first appeared in April. It passed an initial reading but was referred to a Senate committee where it languished until the beginning of this month. It then moved through several committees the first half of the month before making it to the Senate floor on Thursday.

The bill’s greatest strength may be its bi-partisan support. Seventeen Democrats and nine Republicans voted for the bill.

RELATED: 2022 North Carolina Senate Odds

State gets 8% cut of revenue

Also working in the bill’s favor is a relatively favorable tax structure for the 10-12 online NC sports betting licenses the bill allows for. The state will receive 8% of each operator’s sports betting revenue.

Furthermore, the bill allows sports betting for professional, college, electronic, and amateur sports. Some states place restrictions on collegiate sports betting; this bill does not.

Licenses will cost $500,000 and will be good for five years. Licensees will have to pay a $100,000 annual renewal fee after the initial license expires.

North Carolina legalizing sports betting would also potentially give residents near the state’s northern border who have been utilizing Virginia sports betting a reason to stay in their home state to keep that tax revenue in NC instead of VA.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has written for a wide variety of publications, both online and print, including Snooth, the Villages Daily Sun, Bespoke Post, Our Amazing Norway, and Barcelona Metropolitan. He has thrice been recognized as a winner of the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest.

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